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Obituaries: Wendy Cricket Nelson Axhelm


August 7, 2020

Wendy Cricket Nelson Axhelm, 74, lost her battle with Stage 4 ovarian cancer and passed away July 26, 2020, with her family by her side.

Wendy was a gal with much strength and determination with high goals to make a difference in this world. She followed her dream of education all her life, as you can see from her credentials: 1964 graduate of Cloquet High School, Cloquet; 1964-1965 University of Minnesota Duluth; 1965-1966 Beirut College for Women, Beirut; 1990 Solano Community College, Fairfield, California, graduate of library science; 1992 Saint Mary's College, Moraga, California, bachelor of arts in management; 2001 California State University, Sacramento, California, library science; and Chapman University, now Brandman University, Fairfield, 2001 multiple subject teaching credential and 2002 master of arts in education.

Wendy was an artist, and she loved painting.

Her first job in Cloquet, when she was a high school student, was at Bridgman's ice cream store, following in the footsteps of four of her siblings. It was owned by Robert Minogue, who was a mentor to many young people in Cloquet.

Because her husband was in the military, much of her education came as a later date, as you can see. She never stopped reading books that would educate her in some way.

Her full-time occupation was librarian-teacher in and near Vacaville, California.

Wendy's most famous saying to anyone who would listen was, "Children need to hold a book." In her honor, more than 700 books collected from family and friends will be given to school libraries in her area, each book bearing "In Memory of Wendy Axhelm."

Wendy was preceded in death by her parents, Elfe Houglid and Kenneth Nelson; sister Cherita (Cherry) Grimes; sister Darlene Matheson; and brother Cyril Nelson.

She is survived by her son, David, Vacaville; daughter, Lisa Leonard (Joe), Twentynine Palms, California; and grandson, Matthew Leonard, Vacaville; sisters Gypsy Senee, Brownsville, California, Karola Bushman-Austin, Greenville, South Carolina, Sonja DeRusha, Cloquet, Estralita (Rita) Baresh, Moose Lake, and Cyrilla (Cindy) McDowell, Eagle River, Alaska; and many nieces and nephews, and their families.

In accordance with Wendy's wishes, there will be no service. She will be brought home to Minnesota to rest in peace. The world has lost a gem.

If you would like to share a memory of Wendy with Dave and Lisa, please send cards and letters to Rita Baresh, 33697 Chestnut Circle, Moose Lake MN 55767.

Pine Knot News, Aug. 7, 2020


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