Theodore (“Ted”) J. Axelsen, Jr., 73, of Kennebunk, died Friday, November 8, 2019 at home after a 3-year courageous battle with brain cancer.
Born May 3, 1946, in Portland, ME, the son of the late Theodore J. Axelsen, Sr. and Juanita Axelsen, he was a 1964 graduate of Deering High School (Portland, ME). After high school, he served four years in the United States Air Force where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and received the Outstanding Airman of the Quarter Award. Upon leaving the service, he attended the University of Maine Portland-Gorham (now University of Southern Maine), where he graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Following graduation, Mr. Axelsen began his 30-year tenure as a History Teacher at the Middle School of the Kennebunks.
Fondly known as “Mr. A” by his beloved students, Mr. Axelsen enthusiastically engaged with and mentored his students. He was well-known for creating memorable interactive learning opportunities, such as the annual “50’s Day,” an interdisciplinary unit featuring a sock hop where he taught over 200 eighth graders each year to dance the jitterbug. His gregarious personality, tremendous sense of humor, and eclectic collection of ties, landed him the role of official Master of Ceremonies for many school events.
Mr. Axelsen combined his love of students and sports by serving as Middle School Athletic Director and coached several sports throughout his teaching career. During summers, he ran a basketball camp for middle school students. Even after he officially retired from teaching, he continued to support student athletes by serving as a timer for basketball games and ticket collector for high school football games.
For over forty years, Mr. Axelsen continued an annual tradition started by his father of donning his tailor-made Santa Claus suit to share the spirit of Christmas throughout the greater Kennebunk area. Each year, he purchased and wrapped unique Hallmark ornaments, delivering them with a jolly “Ho Ho Ho” to the young children of his coworkers, friends, and family. Christmas was truly his favorite time of year.
Ted was an avid New England Sports fan and enjoyed baking, photography, and spending time with his grandchildren. He was affectionately known as the “Mayor of Garrison Oaks” and was often seen “holding court” with several of his neighbors on any given day. And who could forget his trademark introduction so often heard from Ted, “Greetings and Salutations!”
Predeceased by his parents, he is survived by his life partner, Gail Norton of Kennebunk; his son Theodore Axelsen, III and wife Rebecca of Kennebunk, ME; his son Kristopher Axelsen and wife Brittany of South Portland, ME; his brother, Douglas Axelsen and wife Elizabeth of Old Orchard Beach, ME; his sister Karen Pacillo and husband George of Scarborough, ME; grandchildren Nicole, Kelly, and Braelyn Axelsen of Kennebunk, ME and several nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St. Kennebunk, Maine, Wednesday, November 13 from 2-5pm. A memorial service to celebrate the life of Theodore J. Axelsen, Jr. will be held Thursday, November 14 at 2pm at Bibber Memorial Chapel. Burial will immediately follow the service at Hope Cemetery, Kennebunk, Maine.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN. 38105