Axel "Ax" Reinhard Metscher passed away doing what he loved best, fishing and hanging out with his friends.
Axel was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1948 at his family home. He enjoyed returning to that home years later, during one of his many trips to Germany, to see where it all started. When Axel was just 4 years old, he, his parents and his older brother emigrated to Canada. They remained in Canada for several years until eventually settling in Southern California.
Rather than leave his fate to the draft, Axel joined the Navy in 1968. While in the Navy, he was able to fine-tune his diesel and mechanical skills as an aviation machinist mate. He loved his time in the Navy and received an honorable discharge.
After the Navy, Axel found work in the California oil fields where money was plentiful and where he could work hard and play harder, which he did — a lot! Eventually, when the oil fields slowed, Axel turned to real estate sales, where he did quite well.
Axel often traveled to the Pacific Northwest to camp, fish and see friends. When the opportunity presented itself to move there, he took it. In 1988, his California home sold in less than 24 hours and off he went to the great camping and fishing oasis of Washington. He bought 5 acres, four cows, three goats and several chickens, and brought along his dogs, cats, wife and kids.
Axel loved every minute of farm life. He made many new friends and had some crazy adventures. Along with the cows came the need to operate and maintain the various pieces of equipment needed for making hay. Ah yes, make hay while the sun is shining. True story!
Axel always enjoyed the water, whether to swim, fish, boat or play water polo. He got a river boat, and due to an early medical retirement, nothing stood in his way of fishing, playing in the rivers and crabbing in Astoria. So much fun and good eats! He could not believe his good fortune when he learned of a program that actually paid him money to fish. He studied the best strategies for catching these particular fish and did quite well at that, too.
Another discovery Axel made upon settling in the Northwest was his all-time favorite basketball team, Gonzaga. He spent many hours scheming on ways to obtain tickets to games whenever Gonzaga was in town.
In April 2020, Axel was suddenly struck down with HSV-1 Encephalitis, a little-known inflammation of the brain. He was blessed with an emergency room doctor who diagnosed him quickly and got him right into treatment, thus saving his life and limiting the damage to his brain. He was in serious condition and required infusions of strong medications, which almost destroyed his kidneys. He had nurses at the house most days because this was during COVID-19. We praised God that he was able to be treated at home. It was rough for quite a while, but recently the right combination of medications was allowing him to really enjoy life again.
Axel took great joy in helping others. He had a soft heart under his gruff exterior and was well loved. He had solid friendships and would give the shirt off his back (and literally did) when called for. A sample of this will be on the slide show at his memorial.
Axel will be greatly missed, and many hearts and lives now have voids that can never be replaced.
Axel is survived by his wife of 45 years, Lesley McDaniel Metscher; oldest son, locomotive engineer Jeffrey Scott Metscher; daughter-in-law, Caralynn Metscher; younger son, Randy Reinhard Metscher; daughter-in-law, Amy Metscher; grandchildren, Kaitlyn Metscher, Kylie Metscher, Kyle Metscher, Jared Metscher, Ethan Metscher, Alyssa Metscher and our caboose, Koen Metscher; along with extended family members in Germany and Canada.
A Celebration of Axel’s Life will take place on Sept. 30, 2023 at the Historic Venersborg Schoolhouse, 24309 NE 209th St., Battle Ground, WA at 11:00 a.m. LEAVE EARLY, DETOUR ON RISTO ROAD.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Encephalitis Society, the brain inflammation charity, can be sent. https://www.encephalitis.info