Gary W. Axtell passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s on January 17, 2024, surrounded by his loving family. He was 80 years old.
Gary was born and raised in Seattle. As a child he kept busy with Little League, Boy Scouts, and spent summers on his cousin's wheat ranch in Eastern Washington.
He attended Lincoln High School in Seattle, where he was active in baseball, football, and student government.
While at Western Washington University, Gary played both baseball (catcher, third base) and football (defensive end, halfback). As an outstanding athlete, he participated twice in the college world series and received numerous athletic awards.
It was in his senior year that he met the love of his life, Jeannette. They were married the following summer. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Education, he began his life-long career as an educator. His teaching career started at R. H. Thomson Junior High, and then he moved to Edmonds High School, where he taught biology and physics and coached girls softball and boys basketball and football.
During the summers he spent his time commercial fishing on his troller the “Eagle.” He later worked at Stanwood High School as assistant principal. In 1982 he moved to Cascade High School, where he was initially vice principal of student activities and later became principal.
Gary went on to earn his Master’s from Seattle Pacific University and his Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University. As a beloved teacher and administrator, Gary was honored as Teacher of the Year, WJEA Administrator of the Year, and was a Golden Acorn Award recipient.
In 1999 Gary retired from the Everett School District as Assistant Superintendent.
Gary enjoyed fishing, boating, cross country skiing, bee keeping, 4th of July celebrations, camping, building/construction, yard work, and spending time with family and friends.
During the summers you would find him water skiing, swimming, and diving for golf balls with his grandkids at Lake Shoecraft. Gary and Jeannette also enjoyed traveling with friends and family to places throughout the US and abroad.
He attended Warm Beach Free Methodist Church and was active in serving Wednesday night dinners and helping at the Lights of Christmas. He will always be remembered for his helping hands, strength of character, sense of humor, friendliness, love of family, and warm smile.
Gary is survived by his loving wife, Jeannette (Patrizzi) Axtell of Stanwood; his daughters Shelli Morris and Gina Engle; sons-in-law Steven Morris and Aaron Engle; grandchildren Abigail Morris, Emmett and Aidric Engle; and sister Barbara (Axtell) Herrly. He was preceded in death by his parents, Warren and Beryl Axtell.
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