William J. Axt, of Brooksby Village in Peabody, formerly of Needham and Newton Centre, died peacefully at Brooksby Village on November 1, 2020 with his family by his side at the age of 107. Bill was born on August 15, 1913 in Newark, NJ and graduated from St. Benedict’s Prep and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, class of 1936 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Bill spent most of his adult life living in Newton Centre, Needham and Peabody, MA. A quiet man and always a gentleman, he had a relaxed manner and a smile for all.
His career as a licensed engineer found him working for the most of the large engineering firms in the Boston area; Charles Main, Stone & Webster, and Jackson & Moreland in the Cincinnati consulting on jet engines as well as consulting on systems and equipment for these large firms. He also worked on the submarine Nautilus, and on the air conditioning system at Symphony Hall in Boston, sitting with Arthur Fieldler backstage. He loved classical music.
Retiring in the early 80’s he started a second career volunteering at Needham Glover Hospital (now BID-Needham). Bill spent 25 plus years there. When he moved to Peabody to be closer to his daughter and her family, he had over 10,000 hours.
In 2009, the Richard Melick Foundation honored him for his special contributions to benefit others. This service continued at BV where he always said the secret to longevity is to keep busy.
His hobbies included woodworking and carving, and a love of trains. He built doll houses that benefitted St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Charles River Center in Needham that he and his wife supported for over 50 years. When asked where his love of trains came from he said “as a young boy, as soon as my father set the train under the Christmas tree, I guess I never stopped being fascinated by them.” He had a fabulous model train layout in his basement and when he travelled, it was almost always by train.
Bill was the husband of the late A. Emily (Heenan) Axt, son of the late W. J. Axt and Inez (Carley) Axt and brother of the late Robert Carley Axt. He is survived by his two daughters, Barbara (Axt) McTighe and her late husband Dennis of Ipswich, MA and Caroline R. Axt of Needham, grandson John and his wife Kimberly, and his great-grandsons Andrew and Christopher all of Ipswich. He also leaves 10 nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Service will be held in the Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Ave, Needham, on Friday, November 20th at 11am. Visitation will be held from 10 – 11am prior to the service. All Attendees must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, including proper social distancing and all attendees must wear a mask. Interment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Watertown. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s name may be made to Care Dimensions Hospice, 75 Sylvan St, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923 of Danvers, MA or The Charles River Center, 59 East Militia Heights, Needham MA 02492.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William J. Axt, please visit our floral store.