In Memoriam: Yvette Alexander-Maxie

The staff and volunteers of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois are deeply saddened to share the loss of a dear friend and valued colleague. Yvette Alexander-Maxie, Regional External Relations Manager for Chicago & Northern Illinois, passed away this morning following a prolonged illness. She leaves behind an incredible legacy. Yvette joined the American Red Cross as a volunteer in 1992 and as an employee in 1999. For the next 20 years, she provided leadership throughout the Red Cross which included roles in Disaster Cycle Services, International Services, Services to Armed Forces, Youth Services, and Volunteer Services. 

Since 2013, Yvette directed our work with external partners and led many aspects of disaster relief including numerous large-scale operations and multi-agency resource centers. Yvette was widely recognized for her leadership in mobilizing partners to support our clients and was also the current Chair of the Northeast Illinois COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster). Yvette was proud to be a member of the Red Cross family. Her work in the disaster community was much more than a job to her. It was where her purpose and passion collided into action. Today is a sad day, not just for the Red Cross, but for the entire disaster community. Yvette was an icon who advocated passionately for our clients and volunteers. In the emergency management and non-profit community, Yvette was a respected leader due to her expertise, strength of character, and ability to unify others. Numerous leaders followed her because they believed in her. Her integrity, vision, and compassion were extraordinary and inspire all who knew her.

To know Yvette was an honor, and to work with her a privilege. Her presence would light up a room. Her glow, smile and charisma were special. When she spoke, people listened. Yvette had a wonderfully mischievous sense of humor that brought levity to even the most challenging moments. Yvette was also incredibly generous with her time and philanthropy. In addition to her work with the Red Cross, she was a frequent donor to Save the Children, UNICEF, the United Way, ASPCA, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, veteran groups, and many local charities. Take a step inside her home and you would be surrounded by pictures of children she sponsored and letters from organizations thanking her for her generosity.

Yvette’s unwillingness to compromise our standards and refusal to be mediocre, drove us to excellence. Even in her final months, she gave her all to the mission of the Red Cross. Yvette’s time with us was cut tragically short.  Yet, Yvette would want all to carry on the noble mission that she dedicated her life to. 

Yvette was a mentor, an advocate, and a source of strength to so many of us when we needed it most. Her sharp wit and pearls of wisdom have made us all laugh and gave us many insights for both our professional and personal lives. Yvette’s spirit is intertwined in all we do, and when we install a smoke alarm, respond to a fire, or support a major disaster, we will continue to honor her legacy and she’ll be there – celebrating our work and reminding us to do our very best for our clients, partners, and each other. If we listen closely, we may even hear her say ‘I’m with you on that.’

Thank you for the many years of service. We will miss you, Yvette!

Memorial Service:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 1460 W 78th St, Chicago


Internment immediately following Services

Mt Olive Cemetery 

115th St & Fairfield Ave, Chicago


A. A. Raynor Funeral Home 

318 E 71st St, Chicago, IL 60619

Celebration of Life Information

Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019

Location: Rauner Center; 2200 W Harrison, Chicago

Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Written by Chicago & Northern Illinois Regional Disaster Officer Adam Runkle

8 responses

  1. I had the true pleasure working with Yvette during the Fairdale and Rochelle Tornadoes! Yvette was a very caring leader! She loved to have lunch with me at the Fairdale restaurant! I will truely miss my friend!

  2. It was an honor for me to meet and work with Ivette as a “newbie” Red Cross volunteer. She embraced me as Momma Roldan and trained me with the same patience and compassion she showed those she served. She also had a smile that brightened the darkest moments.
    Ivette, I am proud to have known you even if our time together was too brief.
    Love, Momma Roldan

  3. I am saddened beyond belief that this great lady is gone. Maxine was a great servant leader who always put the community ahead of all else. My sincerest condolences to her family, her Red Cross family, and all those friends knew her. We will miss you deeply.

  4. Yvette was one of a kind. She will be missed by many and her service over self speaks volumes regarding the kind of person she was. I am sorry for everyone’s loss.

  5. I had the pleasure of working with Yvette during the response to 9/11 in New York. She was an amazing person and I will hold on tight to many great memories of working with her.
    I offer my most sincere condolences to her family and friends for their loss.
    May she rest in peace.

  6. I worked for this wonderful lady ,She was very friendly and each time I came to her home to do her weekly lawn care she would come out on porch and sit and watch . She was in love with caring for the local neighborhood cats and made sure she or I fed them daily. I will miss her and I know she is keeping the Angels in line ❤️

  7. Yvette was a great colleague. She was tireless in leading community organizations to be involved and help spearhead new initiatives, partnerships and ideas. Her presence will be felt across the region and is a true loss.

  8. My niece was one of the most talented and giving person I know. She was smart and energetic. Today is Christmas 2019. The routine at my house would be dinner, Yvette bringing rolls and pecan pie. Then the heavy discussion of the world problems. I’m in tears as I recall those good times, with Vet, Bud and Margret dominating the talks. Vet’s critiques on her Mother Mary Louise who knew exactly how to put her in check, then Vet and Lois doing the dishes. I’m Aintee Ella and she was Vet.

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