Theodore Gordon Axford of Evanston, born in 1945, died peacefully at home on Sept. 3 of mesothelioma. Ted was born in Callaway, Neb., to Margaret Rosene Axford and Gordon Axford. He grew up in California, including in Strathmore and San Andreas. As a young adult, he served honorably in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Navy diver and boiler man and fought forest fires with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Ted met the love of his life – his wife of 46 years, Mary Claire Dowdy Axford – in Maine. They began their adventures together as homesteaders, and Ted built their first homes himself, including a geodesic dome and a yurt far from the electric grid. They raised two happy children and made lifelong friends in Milbridge, Me. Later they moved to Nags Head and Edenton, N.C., and then to Illinois.
Ted had a brilliant scientific mind, and was known for devising equipment that transformed many New England and Canadian lobster pounds and kept lobsters healthier. His ingenious inventions were granted patents, yet Ted’s proudest achievement was his family. He worked tirelessly to support his wife and children, and taught his kids to build things, be kind and seek truth. His family, friends and coworkers remember Ted as smart, gentle, hard-working and always busy building or fixing something.
Ted was predeceased by his parents, sisters Jean Morris and Betsy Axford Thompson, and his wife, who passed away in July. He is survived and deeply missed by his children Mason Axford and Yarrow Axford; sister Rita Axford and brother-in-law Gary Grunwald; son-in-law Chris Kuzawa; and two much-loved grandchildren, Kinley Axford and Leo Kuzawa. A family service will be planned at a later date.