Kathy Axelrod

by | Dec 5, 2014 | Obituaries

Norfolk — Kathy Axelrod, 67, longtime Norfolk, Va. resident, died Nov. 10, 2014 of complications from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Daughter of the late Joseph H. and Selma Weinstein Axelrod of Newton, Mass., she graduated from Chamberlayne College in Boston where she met a group of lifetime friends, the ‘Pearl Street Gang.’

After working at Sheraton Hotels and in St. Thomas, Kathy cared for ‘Mum,’ who was dying of breast cancer. She then returned to the Carribbean and sailing life. Kathy moved to Portsmouth, Va., with her love, Eugene ‘Buz’ Barclay with whom she had an enduring friendship. Later, the big city and Bill Dye called. After several years in New York, Kathy returned to Virginia where, for more than 20 years she lived with dear friends Theodore Bonk and Richard Rivin.

Determined to do something to honor the qualities she most admired in her gracious, elegant and artistic mother, and with encouragement of friends and family, Kathy created ‘Simply Selma’s’ a furniture and gift store for beautiful and unique items, first on Colley Ave. in Norfolk and later in Virginia Beach. Gifts were wrapped so distinctively that many customers came to buy because they knew the packaging would be as special as the contents. Kathy, who loved all things beautiful, had an amazing eye; for many years the store was selected ‘Best of The Beach.’ Hand selected store products were creatively displayed, always touches of purple; picture frames filled with snapshots of friends and family. There was something fun to make you smile, or something outrageous that would astonish. Sales associates whom she mentored became ‘her girls;’ she created a sense of family and camaraderie that carried over to her customers.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Kathy decided to have the three of ‘her girls’ she knew would be capable of carrying on her vision and who would continue to make the store a great success, take over the business. In 2011 Meg Leeman, April Stutz and Marianne Winesett became the owners of Simply Selma’s. Kathy was very proud of these women and was comforted that the traditions she started were being carried on.

Kathy’s loss has left a huge hole in the hearts of her dear friends, ‘Les Girls’ a group of women, who shared nearly 50 years together. Traveling the world in airplanes, cars and cruise ships, they shared countless adventures and many glorious experiences. Kathy made everyone smile with her enthusiasm for life. Her stories were animated and full of laughter (even snorting!) and joy. The bond of shared friendship was strong. Friends’ hearts are broken; she will live forever in their hearts and souls. Family and ‘Les Girls’ thank Ted and Rick for their devoted care of Kathy especially during her illness in a home full of friends, parties, many excursions and most of all loving care.

Kathy is survived by her sister Dr. Penny Axelrod and brother-in-law Dr. Jerome Haller of Plymouth, Mass., brother Jeffrey Axelrod of Las Vegas, nieces Jill and Jamie Axelrod of Boston and many cousins and dear family friends.

A memorial service was held at Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk. Donations to Norfolk Botanical Gardens, 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518, for a bench in Kathy’s name, the Alzheimer’s Association or Cranberry Hospice, Plymouth, Mass.