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Robert J. Maxwell

Robert Maxwell, 56, always arranged his slippers in the same spot next to the bed, always hung his robe on the bathroom door hook and, before hitting the sack, always left his coffee cup on top of the microwave – with a spoon on top. 

Maxwell was not a military man. But he served as a civilian budget analyst for the Army, working at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon last week. 

“And here he was married to this flaky psychologist – it used to drive him crazy,” joked his wife, Karen Greenberg, 46, of Manassas. “But he did have his wild side.” 

It was indeed Maxwell’s lighter and quirkier side that made his marriage to Greenberg work. She was impressed by his sarcastic jabs at some of the absurd shows on television and how he would give her two cards for romantic occasions – “One ridiculous, one sincere,” Greenberg said. 

Three years ago, at the beginning of their relationship, Greenberg invited him to dinner at her Alexandria home so he could meet her father. He didn’t bring flowers. He didn’t bring candy. His genius idea? Stuffed Asian duck feet. 

“We never ate them. I threw them away because they were disgusting to look at. Obviously he was confident, and it took some thought,” she said. “Anybody can bring you flowers.” 

After they married in June 1998, they eased into the predictable rhythms of marriage, and Greenberg easily befriended Tanner, 19, Maxwell’s son from his first marriage. 

Greenberg and Maxwell had their usual disagreements over what to cook and which music to play. He liked shrimp creole and cranking up Janis Joplin. She liked Middle Eastern food and Billy Joel. 

“We were very much the odd couple. I hated that music, but I’ll miss it now.
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