Axel Nast-Kolb

February 14, 1939 – November 27, 2019


It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Axel, on November 27, 2019 at his home in Winnipeg, surrounded by family.

He will be greatly missed by Karen, his loving wife of 49 years; as well as his children, Tania (Achim), Wendy (Matthew), Jennifer (Marcus), Sarah (David); grandchildren Reilly (Ashly), Quinn, spencer, Tate, Kristjanna, Johanna, Sophia, Nicola and great-grandbaby Delilah.

A memorial service was held at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, 2019  at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church located at 160 Ethelbert Street.


A Rock in our Lives

-Eulogy by Jennifer Nast-Kolb

Remembering our Papa, Axel Nast-Kolb

A couple of years ago, when Papa’s memory started to become less reliable, we wrote down memories we had of him that he could read over as a reminder of his significance to us.

As I read over these words from the children and grandchildren, the themes that came out were of his generous heart, his welcoming spirit, his solidness of character and his availability to play games or partake in conversation.

Papa was a guy who was generous with his time, knowledge and resources. Many friends, family members, neighbours and organizations benefited from his lending of tools, or just coming over to help out or full on doing the job himself. He was a carpenter, plumber, electrician and master insulator.

Papa was also a photographer and loved taking pictures of interesting and beautiful things. When he was no longer able to steady his hands to take photos, he would say, “Johanna, take a photo of this.” 

His love of beautiful things and light led him to stained glass work. One year for Christmas, he made each of us four girls a window for our homes, to grace the light that shines into our homes and the light that shines out.

Papa was a lover of the ancient. He was an archeology assistant  in Germany in his young adult years. Later, he took his love for the ancient right back to the foundations of the earth, studying physical geography and geology at university in his 50’s. He loved rocks. He loved the stories they told, the mysteries they held and the beauty that could be uncovered as they bumped and rolled under glaciers, oceans, rivers, or in a table top tumbler. With his knowledge, he took elementary school kids on field trips to quarries to hunt for fossils.

His love of stone extended to a love of stoneware when Papa took up pottery as a hobby, shaping and molding the earth’s finest sediments into practical vessels for everyday use.

As Dad was coming to the end of his life, we held his hands a lot. Mom would take his hand and tell him he had beautiful hands. They were beautiful and they created many practical and beautiful things that we will look on for many years to come.


Dad was a rock in our lives. He was dependable. He was quiet. He grounded us when we were upset. Dad was available to pick us up or take us to events without complaint. A couple of us kids didn’t get our licenses until we were twenty, and we all participated in basketball, so that was a lot of driving.


Dad never had a need to fill air space with his voice and you never needed to fill it either. You could do a whole trip in silence and that was okay, and never awkward.


Both Mom and Dad attended many, many basketball games in support of their kids and grandkids. At some point it became a tradition that Papa would bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for Spencer and Tate’s entire basketball team for every game. The team’s faces would all light up when Papa and Grandma would walk into the gym with this gift of encouragement.


Dad was a man of subtle humour. It could take a while to catch onto, if you ever did. Often you would be left wondering, is he joking? You might catch on if you saw his belly rise and fall as he laughed at his own joke or if you saw him press his lips together, raise an eyebrow and look at you out of the corner of his eye.


Papa loved playing with words. We never ate turkey at Thanksgiving; it was always “dead bird.” Occasionally, if he really liked food a lot, he would say, “This is so good, I could sit in it.” We howled the first time we heard him say that.


Some words that he messed with include “butterflies,” which became “flutter-by’s” or “the United States of America” which became “The Untied States of America.” And then there was this one that happened in Ikea with Sarah this summer: He said, “I don’t like it when my brain does this. Instead of seeing Fitted Sheets, it says Shitted Feets.” That’s how muxt ip, I mean mixed up it sometimes got, all to our delight.


Dad was not a centre of attention guy. He would rather be on the edge of the scene looking in, or not be there at all. If Papa were here right now, he would be sitting with Mom, and probably five minutes into the service he would have been making his “walking man” signs down her arm, signalling that it was time to go. But at the end of each visit, he would get up, give you a hug and say, “Thanks for coming, this was wonderful, so good to see you again.”


So on behalf of Axel Nast-Kolb, a quiet rock in our lives, “Thanks for coming, this was wonderful, so good to see you again.”

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