Cover photo for William  Maixner 's Obituary
William  Maixner  Profile Photo
1952 William 2020

William Maixner

May 17, 1952 — November 2, 2020

William “Bill” Maixner, DDS, PhD, 68, of Chapel Hill, NC passed away Monday, November 2, 2020 with his family by his side. He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa and received his BS, PhD, and DDS from the University of Iowa. He was a true Hawkeye. He will be remembered as one of the leading world experts in chronic pain as a leader, educator, innovator, scientist, and mentor in his mission to improve the lives of those suffering with chronic pain, the “hidden epidemic” as he would call it. After his research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, he spent 30 dedicated years at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill rising from Assistant Professor to the Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham Distinguished University Professor. In his tenure at UNC, he served as co-director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Pain Program, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Dentistry, and Director of the Center for Pain Research and Innovation. He joined Duke University in 2016 and was the Joannes H. Karis, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Director for the Center for Translational Pain Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and Vice Chair for Research at Duke Anesthesiology. Among many career acknowledgments, he received the New York College of Dentistry Distinguished Scientist Award and the Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award from the American Pain Society. In 2020, he was selected as a life-time Honorary Member from the International Association for the Study of Pain, the highest honor the organization can bestow on a member.

Most importantly, he loved his family and was a good friend and colleague to many. He enjoyed swimming, fishing, golf, and watching football with his family and friends. His favorite hobby was listening to music from his 50-year record collection which included his favorite artists, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, The Doors, The Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Rival, and Roy Orbison.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Viravan Maixner; his oldest son, spouse and granddaughter, William David Maixner, Natalie Maixner, and Maren Violet Elizabeth Maixner; his youngest son, spouse, and granddaughter, Dylan Maixner, Lauren Maixner, and Anne Carlisle Maixner. He was the oldest of seven survived by his siblings, Ann Fisher, John Maixner, Jim Maixner, Paul Maixner, and Jean Maixner. He will be joining his youngest brother, Mark Maixner, and his parents, Dr. William “Bill” and Mrs. Elizabeth “Bette” Maixner, and his family dog, Bailey.

In support of his life-long mission, his family has asked donations to be made to the DREAM Campaign through the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University in support of research through innovation grants. Memorial gifts can be made by calling 919-684-8524 or visiting and selecting the “Duke DREAM Campaign”.
He would want all of us to know, “The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."

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