Obituary: Susan H. Axelrod

September 23, 1947 ~ December 17, 2020

Madison and Egg Harbor – Susan H. Axelrod, age 73, died peacefully on Thursday, December 17, 2020, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, with her husband and children by her side.  Susan was born on September 23, 1947 in Somerville, New Jersey to Frank and Johanna Hirschman. On August 18, 1973, Susan married Jon Axelrod in Washington, D.C., and later that year they moved to Madison, Wisconsin.

Susan graduated from college in Philadelphia, and later received her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from George Washington University. After moving to Madison,  Susan returned to school (while at the same time raising two small children) to obtain her MBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Susan worked as an investment advisor for more than three decades, retiring from Johnson Bank in 2013.  

Susan was a devoted wife and mother who, with Jon, raised a son and a daughter.  In her free time, Susan enjoyed traveling with Jon and spending time at their vacation home in Door County. Susan loved exploring on long bike rides all over the world, including in Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Spain, Italy and France.  Susan also traveled to India in connection with her volunteer work for Combat Blindness International, an organization dedicated to eliminating preventable blindness, where she served as Treasurer and was on the Board of Directors.  She was an avid gardener and also liked experimenting with new recipes and cooking techniques.  In retirement, Susan became a dedicated grandmother to her four grandchildren in Philadelphia and Saint Paul, MN. 

Susan was a mother, grandmother, confidant, and best friend. Susan’s spirit, strength, intellect, work ethic, integrity, patience, kindness, and compassion touched so many lives, and she loved — and was loved by — so many.   

Susan is survived by her husband Jon of Madison, her son David (and Marla) Axelrod of Philadelphia, her daughter Lauren (and Matthew) Callahan of Saint Paul, MN, and her four grandchildren Ryan, Norah, Nina, and Owen.

Because of COVID safety restrictions, a private service was held on December 20, 2020. The family plans to have a larger ceremony this summer to celebrate Susan’s life.

Donations may be made in Susan’s memory to Combat Blindness International (, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (, or UW Carbone Cancer Center (

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(608) 238-3434

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