Axel passed away peacefully at Ivy Park Memory Care in Simi Valley Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Axel was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on Aug. 9, 1934 to parents Henning Lund Christiansen and Elly Hensen and raised by Efra Vilna Dyveke and Svend Aage Kjorge.
When WWII broke out he was age 5-6 and his neighborhood became an unsafe place to live in. As a young teenager, his stepfather gave him a choice: Either go to school or learn a trade. He chose to become a plumber’s apprentice, which later became a wise decision that led him to a successful career.
Axel immigrated to the United States in 1954 at age 20 and was sponsored by a family in Illinois. In 1955, Axel applied for the draft but was denied because he could not read or write English. Later that year, he learned to speak English and became a U.S. citizen. He enlisted in the Army after passing a two-hour test he could barely read.
In 1958, he was stationed in Germany where he played on a soccer team in a professional international league. At this time, he started writing his soon to be wife Karen Cooper from Alton, Illinois. Axel and Karen married in 1959 and moved to California. Axel became a pipe fitter for Anheuser Busch in Van Nuys and worked there for 20-plus years. Axel also had his own plumbing company, Chris Plumbing, which he worked part-time and later worked full-time after retiring from Anheuser Busch.
Axel and his wife Karen raised their three children and retired and moved from the San Fernando Valley to Idyllwild in the early 1990s and resided in Fern Valley for about 10-plus years. Axel was an active member in his church, Idyllwild Bible Church, and in Rotary, where he would often be found dressing up as Uncle Sam in the annual Fourth of July parade. Axel often did plumbing work for the local realtors and residents.
Axel had to move off the Hill in the early 2000s to Hemet due to lung issues caused by asbestosis. He was active in his local church and senior community. Axel and Karen spent their remaining days together at Ivy Park Memory Care in Simi Valley where they had resided since July 2022.
Axel was known for his kind demeanor and giving heart. He loved people and would often strike up conversations with his customers who often became dear friends. He was a great soccer player and enjoyed playing tennis, which he played well into his 80s. He loved playing the drums and chess.
Anyone who knew Axel would say he was a kind man with a sparkle in his eyes and a kick in his step. Axel was a devoted man of God, devoted husband, father, grandpa, uncle and friend to many and will be dearly missed.
Axel is survived by his wife Karen of 64 years; son Jeff (Mary) Christiansen; daughter Michelle (Darren) McKay; and three grandchildren Kevin Orth, Benjamin Cruz and Sidney Cruz.
A celebration of life will be held in his honor in early 2024. For information about the service, email Michelle at [email protected].