AXELSON, Charles Frederic Jr.
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Charles "Charlie" Frederic Axelson, Jr., a retired financial executive, accounting educator and active volunteer for many charitable organizations, passed away peacefully in his beloved home on June 3, 2014 in Pasadena, CA. Charlie will be remembered as a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and respected businessman in Chicago, IL and Pasadena, CA, where he lived for the past 36 years. Three adult children, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a brother survive him.
Born in Hyde Park, Chicago, on April 24, 1917, his childhood was notable for the remarkable education his parents provided for him and his brother, Kenneth, prior to and during the Great Depression. Charlie attended The Laboratory Schools of the University of Chicago from third grade through to his graduation in 1937 with an MBA in accounting.
On July 23, 1940, Charlie married Dorothy L. Jepson (deceased '94), and started his family with the birth of Linda Axelson Masters ('43), Fred ('46) and Lorraine (Lori) Axelson Gresty ('54). His second marriage to Marion I. Murray in 1995 ended with her passing in 2008.
Charlie began his career as an accountant with Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery (later Coopers & Lybrand) in Chicago from 1938 to 1941. He then secured long-time employment with the U.S. Gypsum Corporation in Chicago from 1941 to 1970, and advanced to Corporate Controller and Assistant Treasurer. In 1970 he joined Libby, McNeil & Libby (Libby's canned goods) as Vice-President and Controller. In 1978 he moved to Los Angeles to accept the position of Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer for Lawry's Foods.
Teaching was Charlie's lifelong second career. He served as a professor of accounting at Central YMCA College, DePaul University, Northwestern University, USC, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education in Queensland, Australia, and Cal Poly-Pomona, where he was inducted into the Cal Poly Accounting Hall of Fame in 1996. He was a trustee emeritus of National-Louis University, Chicago, and held numerous board member positions, including ACCO Air Conditioning Co., Goodwill Industries Southern California, and AbilityFirst Charities (formerly Crippled Children's Society Southern California). He was a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Financial Executives International (FEI) where he was past Director Los Angeles chapter, past President Chicago chapter, past National Director, past Vice-President Midwestern area. He was also a member of Phi Delta Theta and the Town Hall Club.
Charlie was a gifted amateur performer and had a lifelong zeal for the entertainment business and performing arts. As a student, he performed with the Blackfriars at the University of Chicago, and later with the Shore Club Follies in Northbrook, IL, where he and Dorothy raised their children and were actively involved with the community for over 30 years. He loved movies, music and dancing, and actively attended concerts and performances regularly. He was an enthusiastic traveler who organized worldwide group tours for his social network in Northbrook, as well as his family's personal adventures. In his lifetime he visited every continent, 42 foreign countries, with the exception of India, and every state in the United States.
In his later years Charlie was very involved as a volunteer for Goodwill and AbilityFirst Charities. When he was asked what has kept him involved throughout the years, he replied, "It's given me a chance to stay in touch with people in the business community. And I was sympathetic to the cause-I found the experience emotionally rewarding. In a sense, this may date back to my experience as a teenager at Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park, CO., and the values instilled in me there that have stayed with me ever since. We were taught, 'there's no right way to do a wrong thing' and, 'the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement."
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 10th at 12 noon in the chapel at Cabot & Sons Funeral home, 27 Chestnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91103.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Goodwill So Cal, 342 San Fernando Road, LA, CA 90031, attn.: Peggy Smith or Ability First, 1300 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91106, attn.: Lori Gangemi
Cabot & Sons Funeral Directors
27 Chestnut St Pasadena, CA 91103
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Aug. 2, 2014