Henry W. Axford, Jr.

Henry Wood Axford Jr, 84, passed away Wednesday night at his home, surrounded by his family.

Henry was born on September 18, 1933, in Rochester, Michigan to Henry Wood Axford, Sr. and Helen (McDonald) Axford. He was a 1952 graduate of Rochester High School. A lifelong farmer, Henry graduated with a degree in Agricultural Science from Michigan State University. He was married to Beatrice Hoffman August 17, 1957 and in 1972 the couple moved from their home in Rochester to a farm outside Gaylord, which has been their home since. Henry was actively involved in the local school board, Intermediate School District board, and farm bureau throughout his career and retirement. In his spare time, he enjoyed traveling, camping, and being outdoors.

Henry is survived by his wife of 61 years, Beatrice; his four children Jeff (Diann), Jennifer (Ken) Otmanowski, Bill (Shari), and Amy (Paul) Kelso; his sister Helen (Gordon) Oswalt; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother William.

A service will be held Sunday, August 12 at 1 pm at the Charlton Township Hall in Johannesburg with a visitation and lunch to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Otsego County Historical Society, P.O. Box 1223, Gaylord, MI 49734 and Johannesburg Christian Church, 10722 E M-32, Johannesburg, MI 49751.

Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.


  1. arobertson0519@yahoo.com August 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Prayers for all of Henry’s family. He was loved and he will be missed. Annette and Scott Robertson

  2. Michell Dubrul-Chisham August 9, 2018 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he lived a full and wonderful life. May he Rest In Peace.

  3. Deb House August 10, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

    So sorry for your loss. Henry was a wonderful person

  4. Stacy Carroll August 10, 2018 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Love and prayers to the Axford family, so sorry for your loss. He was a good man and will be missed!

  5. Darlene Ellison Wandrie August 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Prayers for all the family. Many great memories of being on the ranch with everyone. Especially the softball games..
    Peace be with you.

  6. Autumn Allen August 10, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    So sorry for your loss he will be missed prayers to the family

  7. Diana (Ellison) Dunshee August 10, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Many wonderful memories of time spent with Henry and the Axford family. Prayers and love to the family.

  8. Dawn Estelle August 11, 2018 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Your family is amazing and they will miss you dearly! Thanks for all your hard work and contributions to this farming community!

  9. Sharol A. Sullivan and Family August 11, 2018 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Deepest sympathies to the Axford Family. You are in my thoughts and prayers…

  10. Carol Newton Joyce August 11, 2018 at 6:48 am - Reply

    So sorry for your family’s loss. Love and prayers for all.

  11. Bonnie Dipzinski August 11, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss dear Bea and your family. I will be praying for you. Guy’s Bless You!!

  12. Sherry Huff August 11, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Henry was my mentor and model for public service with the children in our area. We have served on local and COP/ESD school boards for 27 years together. Watching and working with Henry, has taught me about leading with humbleness and dedication to the students, schools and staff we represent. Forever in your debt, Henry. You will be missed!!!

  13. Mike Carroll August 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    So sorry for the loss! What a great great great man! Thoughts and prayers to the entire Axford family!

  14. Len & Marcie Latuszek August 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Henry was a good and caring person. He will be missed!

  15. Karen Blakely August 14, 2018 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I would like to express my deepest sympathies on the loss of your husband, father, brother and grandfather. May you find encouraging the words found in the Bible at Revelation 21:4, where God tells us that very soon he will do away with death and sickness from the Earth forever, and then he will resurrect Henry to perfect life here on Earth, surrounded by family and friends, which has always been God’s purpose for mankind and for the Earth.

  16. Tom & Gloria Dyba August 15, 2018 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Our sincerest condolences to Jennifer and all who feel the loss.

  17. Elaine Summerland Webber August 15, 2018 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Deepest Sympathy to the entire Axford family at this very difficult time! Henry has always been a HUGE part of our community and school and always seemed larger than life! Our prayers for all of you during this time and the months and years to come!

  18. J. Randy Becker August 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Henry and our dad (Jim) were lifelong friends beginning with their childhood in Rochester and at MSU/MSC. They were trout fishing buddies, and Best Men at each other’s weddings. Thanks to Henry and Bea and their family, our family has great memories including horseback rides at the ranch and swimming at the cottage on the Batchawana.
    In his later years, our dad told us about how he had been so quiet and shy that he might have become a lost soul if not for childhood friends that had taken him “under their wings”. It is clear that Henry was a major part of that time in our dad’s life. I don’t think that it is possible to thank him enough for that. I am sure that there are many, many more “souls” that agree.
    Dad also shared several stories of childhood mischief. From this picture of Henry and that facial expression, it’s clear who the instigator would have been. I am sure that that was true well beyond Henry’s childhood and that the torch has been passed. A life well lived.
    I recently discovered that Dad had saved news clippings from several life events during that time – the best ones were of his great friend Henry.
    Prayers from all the Beckers to Bea and the Axford family.

  19. Susan saddler September 4, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply


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