Gwendolyn Marie Brooks

Beloved mother, sister, friend, and teacher Gwendolyn Marie Brooks died in her home in Hillsborough on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 of natural causes, at the age of 65. Gwen devoted her life to nurturing and educating children, culminating with the creation of her own pre-school, Nature’s Way Nursery. Though her students have all grown to adulthood, “Miss Gwen’s” teachings of patience, respect, and the beauty of nature have left indelible marks on their lives and character.

Gwen was constantly creating beauty, cultivating gorgeous flower gardens, stitching intricate handmade quilts, knitting luxuriously soft scarves and hats, and sewing friendly, personality-filled dolls and toy animals that you couldn’t help but hug. She was most comfortable showing her love in acts of gentle service: cooking wholesome food, spending time on hand-written notes and cards, repairing clothes, and making costumes. Gwen delighted in celebrations and holiday traditions, and she planned for them months in advance. 

Gwen is survived by her children, Kate Joellen Axelrod and her partner Paul Joseph Coleman; Jared “Jadzia” Axelrod and her wife Mae Catherine Axelrod; Joel Robert Axelrod and his wife Megan Hyatt Lewicki; and a large extended family. Her granddaughter, Ada Annabelle Axelrod, was a constant source of joy in Gwen’s life. Gwen shared an affectionate 30-plus years with her husband, James Richard Axelrod, before he passed away in 2005.

Gwen’s life was spent trying to make the world a little more colorful, a little more comfortable, and a little more kind. Those who miss her will continue this legacy. Condolences and memories of Gwen are welcomed at