Jon Kevin “Smiley” Axelson, 51, of Russell, Kansas, died on Monday, March 11, 2013, at the University Of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Kevin was born on December 04, 1961, in Hays, Kansas, the son of John W. and Wendella F. (Matheson) Axelson.  He grew up in the Natoma, Kansas, area and graduated from Natoma High School in 1980.  He met, fell in love and was united in marriage to Maureen Meyers on June 6, 1981 in Plainville, Kansas.  From this union Kevin and Maureen were blessed with two sons Morgan and Zach.  At age 3 Kevin started working with his father for Axelson Tank Service and learned quickly what it was to put in a hard day at work.  Working with his father also taught him the importance of having a strong work ethic and doing whatever it takes to get the job done and done well.  After several years working with his father, in 1987 he went to work for Murfin Drilling.  They lived in Plainville at the time but was transferred to Oberlin, Kansas, until his promotion to Production Foreman in 1992 and was transferred to Colby, Garden City and eventually moved to Russell in 2000.  He worked 26 years for Murfin Drilling..  He was very proud of the dedicated service he had with Murfin Oil and how well they took care of him and his family.  Anyone who knew Kevin could tell you he was a hard worker.  He was a good guy who enjoyed being a joker with his family and friends.  He was a member of St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Russell, 3rd Degree Knights of Columbus, church building committee, and on the parish council.  He also enjoyed fishing with his boys, working with his dad, woodworking, making small oil rigs and pumps, listening to country music and was a patriotic American.  Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family and many friends.

Kevin is survived by  Kansas, wife Maureen of the home, his sons Morgan Axelson and Zach Axelson; “daughter” Sarah Walter Lister; his mother Wendella F. Axelson of Plainville, Kansas; sisters Pam Launchbaugh and husband Jon of Pratt, Kansas and Kathy Raney of Rose Hill, Kansas;  one grandson Spencer Axelson and “special” grandchild Reeyce Lister.

He was preceded in death by his father in 2000.

A celebration of the funeral mass will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, March 15, 2013, at the St. Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Russell with Father Charles Steier Officiating.  Burial will follow at the Natoma City Cemetery.  Visitation will be from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Thursday, March 14, 2013, at the mortuary.   A vigil will be held at 7 P.M., March 14th, Thursday evening at the church.  Memorials may be given to the St. Mary’s Church Building Fund and sent in care of the mortuary.  Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary of Russell is in charge of the funeral service arrangements.


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