Sunday, June 14, 2020

Maxwell Will Be Missed

Sally Maxwell

The Mix 105.1 lost a beloved family member on Sunday with the passing of Sally Maxwell of Sallisaw. Sally was a well-known face in the news world of Sequoyah County and her death left a hole in many hearts which will be impossible to fill.

Sally was born in Ohio and raised in Indiana where she attended the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism at Indiana University in Bloomington. She and her family, including three children Mark, Tonya and Jimmy, moved to Sallisaw in 1979 and she took a job as the Sequoyah County Times Society Editor and remained there as a news reporter and eventually managing editor for over 25 years. She joined the KXMX family as Senior News Director in 2014.

Sally wrote thousands of stories covering every aspect of Sequoyah County. She wrote with integrity letting the reader know the facts. She was a well known face to law enforcement, city and county officials and area leaders. 

She never lost sight that her writing was about the county and the people in it, from the news stories, feature stories about everyday people, and of course her popular columns in the times including Your TIMEScope and Sally’s Alley. When Sally joined KXMX in 2014 she continued her witty column writing with Sally in The Mix featuring the antics and amusing life events of her friends and family.

Co-worker and long-time friend Delanna Nutter-Jones said, “I started working at the newspaper in 1991 and worked as a receptionist. Sally worked as the news editor through a set of double doors just beyond my desk. I wanted to do a good job for her. I asked her the procedures she would like me to follow when people came into the office to see her or when she received phones calls. She offered this advice, 'Be kind and do your best. My doors are always open.' ”

Sally influenced the career path of many and was always willing to give writing and news coverage tips to others. Linda Copeland was one of the many individuals whose life Sally touched and whose career in news she helped shape. “I got to know Sally when she came across the street from the newspaper to the movie theater for fresh popcorn. I would call her and hold the phone so that she could hear the popcorn popping and she would come running. She would pick up a copy of a newsletter I put together for the Sallisaw High School Black Diamond Marching Band and get her popcorn. It was a win-win," Copeland said. 

In October 2000, Sally had a reporter quit, and asked Copeland if she would be interested in coming to work for the paper. "She said don’t worry I will teach you how to write. That was typical of Sally, she never let anything slow her down when she wanted something," Copeland said. "She handed me a notebook and wrote down: Who, what, when, where, and how and then sent me out to take a photo of a guy and his potatoes. She said, 'Write down that information, come back and write a cutline.' And then she shooed me out to the door. Another piece of advice was you should always tell the truth."

There was never a dull moment with Sally. She inspired the people around her to do their best, to be happy and enjoy life no matter where it took them. She shared her compassionate heart with everyone around her.

Sally's love for Disney World and child-like joy when discussing all things Disney were well known to her friends. It's estimated that Sally visited Disney World in Florida 10-15 times. Sally seemed to have ridden every ride and eaten every snack in Disney's theme parks. She loved to share tips and recount fun experiences she had with her friends and granddaughter at the parks.

Sally, Nutter-Jones, Nancy Fuller, Monica Keen and Copeland (also known as the Lunch Bunch) shared many adventures over the years and, of course, the events usually showed up in Sally’s columns.

Sally was also an award winning journalist. Her contributions as Managing Editor at the Sequoyah County Times led to many awards including the Oklahoma Press Association’s “Better Newspaper Contest” the Sequoyah Award which is the highest honor for the newspaper’s division in 1992, 2002, 2008 and 2012. 

Sally was an avid bird watcher and race horse lover. She was also the recipient of the Sprint Award in 1991, 1992 and 1993 for her coverage of  horse racing at Blue Ribbon Downs.

Sally was inducted into the Oklahoma Press Association's Quarter Century Club in 2006. Sally once said, "The award I am most proud of is the Mary Goddard Award for most promising journalist, which allowed me to attend an American Press Institute workshop in Los Angeles."  

She also received numerous awards for her journalistic pieces from many organizations within Sequoyah County.

Sally continued her career in journalism working for KXMX until her battle with cancer forced her to retire. 

Sally leaves behind a legacy of news stories, contacts and countless friends.

Special by Linda Copeland, Delanna Nutter-Jones and Kim Girdner

For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit


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