Elizabeth Jean Axford: April 28, 1953 – July 30, 2019



Elizabeth Jean Axford, beloved wife of Patrick Arthur Johnson, died at home July 30, 2019, after a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

Her artistic inclinations led her to pursue architecture for 15 years, but then she found her true passion for creating textile art, especially art quilts. Her last and foremost exhibition, Overlay, a solo show at the International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska, began May 17 and continues through Sept. 22, 2019.

In explaining her turn from architecture to quilting, Liz was fond of saying that life is what happens when you are planning other things.

Born April 28, 1953, in Vancouver, Canada, to Joan and Barry Axford, Liz grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She loved to draw and attended children’s classes at the Winnipeg School of Art.

In 1963, the family immigrated to Dallas, Texas. By the age of 10, Liz had decided she would become an architect. Three years later, they relocated to Maryland, where she learned to sew in home economics classes and won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow Scholarship for Maryland. She sewed some of her own clothes throughout high school and college.

With the determination and purpose that she showed throughout her life, Liz moved to Houston, Texas, in 1971 to attend Rice University where she earned a B.A. in Architecture/Fine Arts (1976) as well as a Bachelor of Architecture (1978).

She began her first quilt top in the summer after her freshman year. She attempted to integrate a traditional pattern with design principles she had learned. She never finished constructing the quilt but remained interested in quilt designs.

Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com

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