Axel von Melville

Axel James Walter von Melville

Saturday, January 18th, 1930 - Saturday, January 25th, 2020
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It is with great sadness and a deep sense of loss that we announce the passing of Axel von Melville on January 25 2020, 7 days after his 90th birthday.

Axel was born in Riga, Latvia in 1930. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Hannelore (Hanni) and three children Monika (Doug), Armin (Mary) and Marion (Andy) as well as 9 grandchildren, Matthew, Megan, Tyler, Bradley, Hannah, Jacob, Jamie, Madeline, and Sarah. Axel is survived by his two younger brothers, Ralph and Percy, and predeceased by his older brothers, Hans and Robert.

Axel was a Baltic German and although his early childhood years were happy, at the age of 15 he was forced to flee his home as the Russians advanced, alone and on a bicycle, to find his family and safety, many hundred kilometers from home. Those years left a mark on him.

Axel immigrated to Canada in 1951 as part of a group of Baltic Germans who were sponsored by the Lutheran Church. They were initially indentured to farmers in the Okanagan to work as fruit pickers. Axel completed his term and then worked in various industries throughout BC including mining and forestry.

After a 4-year long distance courtship, conducted entirely by mail, Axel married Hanni who joined him in 1955. They married in Victoria later that year and moved to North Vancouver where they made their home in several locations but always on the North Shore and always within sight of the ocean.

In 1972 Axel become a partner in a small food importing business, Dovre Import and Export. He eventually took over the business and after many years of hard work he and Hanni turned it into a huge success, supplying mainly European and Scandinavian foods to the many delicatessen’s that supplied the huge influx of European immigrants with their traditional foods. Since 1995 the company has been run by Axel’s son who has overseen the expansion of the business to levels that Axel could not have originally imagined.

Axel was proud of his Baltic heritage and was a member of the local Canadian Baltic Immigrant Aid Society. He was a believer in their motto “In Treuen Fest” which translates into "steadfast in loyalty; firm in fidelity". Adjectives that described Axel perfectly.

Axel’s passion was photography, shared with his brother Ralph. Together they produced many memorable pictures of nature, family, travel, and togetherness. Axel was determined to keep in touch with friends and family members from all over the world and excelled at keeping everyone aware of events, initially via letters and FAX and even shortwave and CB radio. His CB radio activities engaged him for many years and his home became a landmark in Deep Cove as a result of a huge antenna in his yard, which he built and perfected. He also became an expert email user when that became the way to communicate. His other interests and hobbies included playing a keyboard and the harmonica. He also enjoyed sailing and camping and was good at anything practical.

The Melville motto “Denique coleum”, “Heaven at Last” is particularly relevant and poignantly appropriate at this time.

Axel's final days were made peaceful and comfortable by the exceptionally kind and thoughtful staff at the North Shore Hospice for which we thank them.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 | 12:00pm
    Saturday, March 7th, 2020 12:00pm
    Eagle Harbour Yacht Club
    5750 Eagle Harbour Rd
    West Vancouver, BC V7W 1P5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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In memory of "Axel von Melville"
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