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12534Vegetarian candidate given proper send-off 50 years later

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  • Maynard S. Clark
    Nov 17, 2013
      Dr. John Maxwell was 100 when he died, so clearly his meatless lifestyle agreed with him. Hauser hopes to later add a brass plaque indicating that Maxwell ran for president in 1948.

      Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/historian-votes-for-proper-send-off-b99143430z1-232212791.html#ixzz2kutt7856 


      To: JStingl@...

      GREAT!  Maybe a BOOK is due!
      I'd like to hear MUCH more about America's Vegetarian Party.

       

      Milwaukee County

      Jim Stingl | In My Opinion


      Historian votes for proper send-off

      History buff Stephen Hauser raised money for a gravestone and funeral for John A. Maxwell, who ran for president in 1948 on the American Vegetarian Party ticket. Maxwell died in 1963 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Milwaukee.

      Gary Porter

      History buff Stephen Hauser raised money for a gravestone and funeral for John A. Maxwell, who ran for president in 1948 on the American Vegetarian Party ticket. Maxwell died in 1963 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Milwaukee.

      Vegetarian candidate given proper send-off 50 years later

      Nov. 16, 2013

      John A. Maxwell died the same year as another, much more celebrated politician, John F. Kennedy.

      Kennedy got an eternal flame on his grave. Maxwell got a hole in the ground and nothing more.

      It's a reach to call Maxwell famous, but he is one of only two candidates for United States president to be buried in Milwaukee. (The other is Frank Zeidler, our former Socialist mayor, who ran in 1976. He knew Maxwell.)

      History buff Stephen Hauser of Elm Grove can talk your ear off about Maxwell, who ran on the American Vegetarian Party ticket, and what a shame it is that he's been forgotten. Now Hauser has walked the walk and provided a marker for Maxwell's grave.

      It's one of those times in life when you do something because you're certain no one else will.

      "I feel like he's an uncle of mine at this point," said Hauser, 61, who teaches history at Marquette University and Milwaukee Area Technical College. "We wanted to do it this year. This is the 50th anniversary of his death."

      I wrote a column three years ago about Hauser's fascination with Maxwell and his campaign to give him a proper send-off. "If it was me, I'd want somebody to do that," he said at the time.

      On Saturday, Hauser led a small entourage to Lincoln Memorial Cemetery on Milwaukee's northwest side.

      A downpour forced them to use the cemetery's chapel for the 30-minute memorial service. Hauser recited Psalm 104, which celebrates the natural world, and he read an account of Maxwell's life.

      Then, when the rain let up a bit, the 16 people present processed to the grave site. Joseph Sommers, a bagpiper, stood at the new tombstone and played "Highland Cathedral."

      For now, at least, the marker simply gives Maxwell's name and dates of his birth and death. He was 100 when he died, so clearly his meatless lifestyle agreed with him. Hauser hopes to later add a brass plaque indicating that Maxwell ran for president in 1948.

      The gathering included two of Zeidler's grown children, Anita and Michael; 98-year-old Charlotte Bleistein, whose grandfather, Milwaukee Judge Richard Elsner, was a fan of Maxwell's column on natural foods in The Milwaukee Leader newspaper; Peter Melms, a descendant of an early Milwaukee brewer and Socialist president of the Common Council; Joe Brown, a political memorabilia collector who found Maxwell campaign buttons; and Mark Krause, from Krause Funeral Homes, which handled the arrangements in 1963.

      Some of those folks and others helped Hauser cover the cost of the marker, which was nearly $1,400. It was provided by Milwaukee Memorials. A worker there, David Moore, had come out to the cemetery to get a rubbing from the stone of Maxwell's wife, Hannah, so that the new stone would match. Moore himself might have attended Saturday's ceremony, but he died Monday of leukemia at age 79.

      Maxwell was best known for a vegetarian restaurant he ran in Chicago from 1918 to 1950. But in the 1930s and 1940s, he had an office in downtown Milwaukee, where he saw patients as a naturopathic physician, and a health food store near 20th and Wells. His home was in Zion, Ill.

      The American Vegetarian Party formed in 1947 and picked Maxwell as its first presidential candidate. As Hauser puts it, the party ran only a token campaign designed to promote its message. It did not qualify for the ballot in any state and received just a smattering of write-in votes, including Maxwell's.

      Maxwell could not have served even if he won. He was born in England. He argued this didn't prevent him from at least running. His novel candidacy got coverage in Life, Time, Newsweek and The New York Times.

      When his wife died in 1943, Maxwell bought side-by-side graves at what was then called Wanderer's Rest Cemetery. He provided a stone for her, but by the time he died in California 20 years later, there was no one left to arrange his funeral, marker or obituary. The couple had no children.

      So the body was transported back to Milwaukee and given a no-frills burial. The years went by, Stephen Hauser came along, and the rest is history.

      Call Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or email at JStingl@...



      Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/historian-votes-for-proper-send-off-b99143430z1-232212791.html#ixzz2kuow2zxB 
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      Maynard         
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Maynard S. Clark, MS (Management: Research Administration)
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