Beloved social justice matriarch Maxine McNair passes away

Her daughter gives us an inside glimpse at what made her so special
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 8:27 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The family of Maxine McNair announced Sunday her passing at the age 93. McNair was known by many as the mother of Denise McNair who died in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, but her story is much larger than that. The 93 year old was a life long educator. Even in retirement, she was volunteering and reading to children.

She shaped the minds of young boys and girls in the community for over three decades. Teaching them right from wrong and placing her trust in her lord. She was a huge fan of the phrase: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” and often used it in her teachings.

“We are going to miss her and I hope the people that loved her will continue to think about the great stories and how she impacted their life. I hope they keep her memory alive. I am glad she got to be my mom,” said her daughter, Lisa McNair.

Her family stresses she was beautiful inside and out, with an incredible amount of talent. She could sing and cook, and did it all with an uplifting smile. While many will always connect her with 1963 bombing that resulted in the death of four little girls - one of them her own daughter, they hope others remember the spirit that allowed her to overcome that tragedy and affect change.

“That thrust her in a spot of history where she would have much rather never been a part of, but she rallied back, figured out how to raise two more girls and live her life and keep on fighting and plugging away even though her heart broke,” said Lisa McNair.

Visitation for McNair will be held Friday, January 7 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Davenport and Harris Funeral Home.

McNair’s funeral will be held Saturday, January 8 at 11 a.m. at New Hope Baptist Church. The service will also be streamed for those unable to attend or for those who just wish to pay their respects.


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