Obituary – Axel Schonfeld


Axel Schonfeld

March 25, 1945 – May 30, 2021

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our Dad, Axel Schonfeld.

Axel was very recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. At his request, on May 30, 2021, at close to 12 p.m., he left us, peacefully, in our backyard and enveloped in deep and profound love from his family. He was 76.

Axel was a design genius. He wasn’t just creative; it was part of who he was. He was a photographer and graphic designer and had a love affair with aluminum, wood and steel. His home, and many homes of his family and friends, contain his creations; minimalist industrial clocks and light fixtures, aluminum tables, shelves and engineered staircases.

Born in Tramnitz, Germany, Axel came to Canada when he was 10 years old. Throughout his life, he lived and worked in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Long Beach, California and Michigan. Almost by accident he ended up “retiring” in Point Roberts, where he continued to design and build. It was in Point Roberts where he found a simpler life; a love of hummingbirds and deer, wild blackberries, chopping wood, his dog Leo, and cats Gus and Millie. It was here where he found wonderful and meaningful friendships ... and peace.

Axel loved to read, to write, to drink coffee, to converse and debate about politics, music, cinema, sports, art, architecture and society. Those who knew him would have enjoyed spirited and intelligent conversations about any and all; the merits of Arthur Erikson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Georgia O’Keeffe, Rothko & Calder, to name a few. He would regularly get up at 5 a.m. to watch English football (he was partial to Arsenal). If you spent a morning, afternoon or evening visiting Dad, you would have enjoyed a nice fire, eaten a perfect snack, and listened for hours to Dylan, Keith Jarret, Miles Davis & Pat Metheny. He loved scotch, Aquavit, ice cream, sautéed mushrooms, a good pen, a good font, sharp tools, bread with his butter, Scrabble, Solitaire, Birkenstocks ... and bacon.

He was grateful and thankful and never one to impose. He liked irony. He made people laugh. He left a small footprint in terms of how he lived his life yet exuded a profound energy that many were drawn to. He was interested and interesting and he had a unique ability to engage and inspire others to be curious.

Axel lived thoughtfully, patiently, with purpose and without frivolity. He helped people because they needed help, not because he wanted something in return. He saw where he could be of service, and, in this way, he formed lasting relationships. He loved his family and they loved him back unconditionally.

The void he leaves is immeasurable. Pre-deceased by his mother Helen Zoellmer, his second wife and love Kate Austin, brother-in-law Allan Griffin (Christine McClymont) and nephew Matthew Griffin (Dana), Axel is survived by his son Sean Schonfeld (Tracy Rapanos), his daughter Noelle Mori (Dave), John Austin (Trish), his grandchildren Althea Kettlewell (Carson), Gabe (Alana), Nevaeh & Avery Mori, his first wife and lifelong friend Margaret, his dear friend Jann, his brother Klaus (Joy), nephews Kevin (Nicole), Blair, Darren (Crystal), Nick, brother-in-law Ray Griffin (Marion), Matt & Maggie, and the close friends he made in Point Roberts who meant the world to him.

The family would like to acknowledge and thank with special appreciation Dr. Sean Bozorgzad at the Point Roberts Medical Clinic, and Point Roberts fire chief Chris Carleton, who both ensured Dad knew someone was looking out for him in the last few months of his life.

“We mortals don’t do well when faced with death. We tend to forget that life is but a journey towards an inevitable end. All we should really hope for is that we have a reasonably good time traveling, and that we don’t upset too much of the scenery along the way.”

Until we meet again, Dad.


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