Glea Charlene (Blackwell) Ashley graced this earth with her beauty and kindness from May 21, 1950 to July 23, 2018. She will be cherished, loved and missed forever. She was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and accomplished business woman. In her own words, her proudest accomplishment was the raising of her children which she did with much love, kindness, and generosity.
Our Mother is the thread which holds our family together. She is the fabric of our beginning, weaving threads of kindness, stitching us together with laughter and understanding. She binds our hearts with fond memories and blankets us with love.
Glea was born the ninth of eleven children to William and Alberta Blackwell. Glea was preceded in death by her brothers: Billie, Bobbie, Terry, and Danny Blackwell; and her sister Cindy Hope. She is survived by her brothers: Ronnie (Cathy) and Ricky Blackwell; and sisters: Darlene (John) Gartner, Connie Burke, and Glenda (Kenny) Hase.
Glea began her working career at Collins Drive-Inn in North Topeka as a car hop. Sparks flew unbeknownst to her for her future husband, Louis Ashley. Glea played hard to get, thwarting all his advances until she eventually tired out and married him on November 14, 1969. She went to work at Walt McFarland’s restaurant. She made many wonderful friends and memories during the several years she worked there. At nights, Glea would work beside her husband flipping houses. Her husband would say the she was a better taper and painter than he was. No matter what the weather conditions she was right beside Louis.
As her children became more involved in school, she sought out different ways to be challenged. As everyone knows Glea was a go-getter. She saw a typewriter at a garage sale, picked it up and so began her amazing business career. Glea worked at Security Benefit Group Life Insurance as a staff accountant. While she worked full-time, and cared for her family, she went to school at night at Washburn University. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Office Administration. But she didn’t stop there…..she went on to earn a Bachelors Administration degree with emphasis in Accounting, Masters in Business Administration from Washburn University, and CPA designation. She also received the following certifications:
CFM (Certified Financial Manager)
CMA (Certified Management Accountant)
CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
FLMI (Fellow Life Management Institute)
Glea began working at Valeo Behavioral Health Care as a Fiscal Reporting Manager, then became Director of Finance/IT, onto Chief of Operations, Interim Chief Executive Officer, to Chief Executive Officer. She loved her Valeo family and always said she was part of the best team.
Although Glea had an impressive career this was only a small part of her big life. She put so much love and time in her children and their families; Kimberly Dian (Matthew) Garber and Louis Delaine (Julie). Her grandchildren were a source of love and pride; Taylor Renee, Ashlyn Glea, Tyler Michael, Matthew John, Brooklyn Rae, and Daniel Louis. She loved watching her grandkids in all their activities and made every single activity that she was able to. She also loved taking her family on trips with Louis. They traveled to Chicago, DisneyWorld, Clearwater Beach, Washington DC, Branson, Arizona (Surprise), Miami, New York, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach.
She loved her dogs Mickey and Bailey Ashley. They gave Louis and Glea so much comfort as only they could do.
Glea was always an avid crafter and quilter. After Glea was sick she had things she wanted to do like finish up quilts for her kids. Her sister Darlene and her spent several months finishing quilts and afghans for Glea’s children and grandchildren.
Glea was an active member in her community at every level. She helped as many organizations in the community that she could reach. She was involved with various community projects with Stormont Vail Hospital, Topeka Police Department, Shawnee County Sheriff Department, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army and The Rescue Mission to name a few.
For two years Stormont Vail Cancer Center Dr. Camile Ademy was instrumental in giving the very best care of Glea. He had a positive attitude, good sense of humor, and made a great difference in Glea and Louis’ lives. They became very attached to him. Glea and Louis feel like he was the greatest doctor they have ever known and will be forever grateful. He prolonged Glea’s life so she could finish the things she wanted to get done.
Glea and Louis developed a loving friendship with John and Elaine Garber. They traveled 120 miles every week when Glea’s illness began to visit with them. They were a great source of encouragement and hope.
Glea and Louis feel like the following organizations were instrumental in bringing joy to a very difficult time. They were all positive, caring, and formed a strong bond that made a difference in their lives.
Cotton O’Neil Palliative Care Dr. Ficek, Jen, and Lindsey; and Dani from Midland Hospice.
Glea and Louis will be indebted to all of them forever.
In accordance with Glea’s wishes memorial contributions may be made to Valeo Behavioral Health Care, 5401 SW 7th ST, Topeka, Kansas 66603.
A celebration of her life will be held at 10AM on August 6, 2018 at Dove Cremations & Funerals, 3700 SW Wanamaker, Topeka, Kansas.
Psalm 23:6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I am back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.