Joseph J. Maksin, 82, of Turnersville, former chief executive officer of Maksin Management Corp. and founder of the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Football League, died of complications from pancreatitis on Monday, Dec. 13, at home.
As part of a Philadelphia exodus to the South Jersey suburbs in the late 1950s, Mr. Maksin wanted to help make Bellmawr a friendly and fun community for his family.
Because there weren't many local programs in which his three sons could develop their athletic skills, he started the football league in the early 1960s.
Mr. Maksin, who had been working in the insurance industry, noticed that a lot of the children were getting injured while playing and that parents were getting stuck with injury-related bills.
So he started writing and selling sports-accident insurance to many of the South Jersey sports programs. In 1965, he founded Maksin Management Corp. in Pennsauken.
His business quickly grew in popularity, and Mr. Maksin began selling insurance plans to high schools and even some colleges, said his son Joseph Jr.
"He was a great salesperson," his son said. "He was persistent, determined. He stayed on you."
Maksin Management Corp. grew to have more than 60 employees, and within a few years it was doing business across the country.
By the time Mr. Maksin sold his business in 2000, it was writing team and school sports-accident insurance in all 50 states. The corporation, which kept his name, is now based in Camden.
Mr. Maksin was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Roman Catholic High School in the mid-1940s and enlisted in the Coast Guard, where he served for close to two years.
When he returned to Philadelphia, he took various sales jobs: selling vacuum cleaners door to door, working at a ladies' shoe store, and ultimately selling debit life insurance policies, in which policyholders paid weekly premiums.
Mr. Maksin met Eleanor Reice at a dance, and the couple married in 1950. They moved to Bellmawr in 1956.
Mr. Maksin continued selling debit life insurance door to door each week. After being robbed a few times, he was getting ready to switch jobs when he saw the opportunity in sports-accident insurance.
In addition to his son and wife, Mr. Maksin is survived by sons Steven and Bruce; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; a brother; and a sister.
Visitation will be from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17, at the Church of the Holy Family, 226 Huffville Rd., Sewell. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11:30 a.m. at the church. Interment will be in New St. Mary's Cemetery, Bellmawr.