Harriet Levene Axelrad, poet, writer and family historian, died peacefully at home on December 21. She was 87. Born on January 27, 1916 in Kansas City, Missouri, Harriet graduated from the University of Kansas City at age 19 and did graduate work in English at the University of Chicago. In 1938 she married Irving Axelrad, moved to Washington, D.C., and worked at the Library of Congress. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1952 and built a house in Pacific Palisades the following year. A mother of five, Harriet was president of the PTA at Paul Revere Junior High (1963-64) and Palisades High School (1966-67). She was also active in the larger community, serving as chairman of the Pacific Palisades United Crusades, board member of the Pacific Palisades Human Relations Council (1972-82) and president of the Palisades Historical Society. In 1984, she joined the PLATO Society of UCLA, and coordinated nine study groups. She was foreign press representative of Physicians for Social Responsibility in Oslo, Norway, when the group received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She joined OPICA in 1991 and helped provide day care for the elderly. A founding docent at Will Rogers State Historic Park, Harriet wrote a book in 1990 called “Who Was Will Rogers?” She also served as a docent at LACMA, was president of the Organization of Art Sponsors, and worked on the Venice Art Tour Planning Committee (1982-92). She took creative writing classes at Santa Monica Emeritus College for many years and also belonged to a private writing group for over 20 years. She published poetry, haiku and several books, including “Harriet’s Harvest” (1995), “In My Time” (1997) and “Telling Tales” (2001). She excelled in ikebana flower arrangements and ceramics. Harriet is survived by her five children, Allan (wife Jill Rosenbaum), Stephen (Sylvia Impert), Karen (husband Manfred Schiedhelm), Eve and Joel; eight grandchildren, Joseph Zimring, Wendy Axelrad Kelly, Joshua Axelrad, Dov Zimring, Emily Axelrad Stuart, Florian Schiedhelm, Dion Schiedhelm and Alison Axelrad; and great-grandchild Emma Kelly. Services will be held at Hillside Memorial Park on Friday, December 26 at 11 a.m. Please visit www.axelradfamily.com for Harriet’s poetry, writing and family history-an ongoing memorial Web site. The January issue of Haiku Headlines, a monthly newsletter of haiku and senryu, will be in memory of Harriet. Contributions can be made to OPICA (Older People In a Caring Atmosphere), diabetes or cancer research.
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