Official Obituary of

Audrey Waite Ashley

April 16, 1925 ~ March 28, 2024 (age 98) 98 Years Old

Audrey Ashley Obituary

Audrey Waite Ashley, age 98, of Kendal at Ithaca, died on March 28, 2024. Mrs. Ashley was  born in Yonkers, NY, on April 16, 1925, the only child of Helen Guest and Stanley Byron Waite.  She grew up in Bronxville, NY, spending her summers at a family home in Hyannis Port on  Cape Cod.  

Audrey was proud of her ancestors and the role they played in the history of our country. They  included three Mayflower passengers, as well as Thomas Hinckley, the last Governor of  Plymouth Colony, and Benjamin Wait whose wife and three daughters were captured by Native  Americans in western Massachusetts in 1677, taken in winter to Canada, and subsequently  rescued.  

Audrey Waite graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA, a member of the Class of  1946. She majored in Spanish and minored in French. She was elected to membership in Phi  Beta Kappa. In order to help with the war effort, Audrey participated in an accelerated program  that allowed her to graduate from Smith in 3 years. After the war ended in the fall of 1945,  Audrey went to work in New York City. She used her language skills while employed, first at  an import-export firm and then as an Executive Assistant to the VP of RCA who was also the  Managing Director of RCA International. 

In 1948 Audrey Waite married Dr. Charles Allen Ashley, a friend from Bronxville. Dr. Ashley was  a graduate of Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences and the Cornell University  Medical School. Dr. Ashley completed his military service as Asst. Chief of Pathology at Walter  Reed Army Hospital. His work then took them to Cooperstown, NY, where he was employed as  an attending Pathologist at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. In 1967, Dr. Ashley was  appointed Director and CEO of the Bassett Hospital. The couple were active members in all  aspects of the Cooperstown community. Audrey was most proud of their work to provide a  warm welcome to incoming hospital staff. They entertained regularly in their home on the  hospital’s behalf. Audrey was an enthusiastic and gracious hostess, as well as an excellent  cook.  

The Ashleys raised their 5 children in Cooperstown. Audrey was a devoted mother. She and  her husband surrounded their children with love and support. Audrey loved her life in  Cooperstown. She was a tireless volunteer who was especially devoted to Christ Church  (Episcopal), the Lake and Valley Garden Club, and the Garden Club of America, She was a  leader for her daughters’ Girl Scout troops and for her son’s Cub Scouts. She also served 8  years on the President’s Advisory Council of the State University College of Oneonta.  

Audrey and Charles Ashley were avid hikers before it was common; they were early members  of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers (with all their children), and of the Northeastern 111 Club.  Audrey was the 16th woman on record to have climbed all 111 peaks over 4000 feet in the  Northeast. They also hiked together extensively in Europe and America’s west. They enjoyed  traveling throughout the world.  

After celebrating their 50th wedding Anniversary with friends and family at their home in  Cooperstown, the Ashleys moved in 1999 to Kendal, a continuing care community In Ithaca,  NY. Audrey’s beloved husband of 53 years died in 2001. She was to forever miss him. Audrey  was active in many aspects of life at Kendal and in Ithaca, particularly enjoying bridge groups  at all levels. She continued to travel with friends and family members and visited her children  and grandchildren frequently, spending holidays and vacations with them. Audrey spent 6  weeks every winter on Gasparilla Island (Boca Grande), Florida, a place that had been special  to her and her husband. She always invited her family to join her - and they loved to do so. 

Audrey’s large family were her greatest joy and pride. Through her kindness and generosity, she  brought immeasurable happiness and comfort to all who knew her. She will long be remembered for her gracious wit, her unwavering optimism and her open-mindedness and  sincere warmth in this often divided world. 

She is survived by her five children and their spouses: Dr. Stanley W. Ashley of Cambridge, MA  and his partner, Dr. Esther Rhei; Charlotte Chandler and Dr. James L. Clarke of Bangor, ME;  Deborah C.A. Doro, RN of Rochester, NY; Barbara A. and Harry A. Griffith, III of Wexford, PA;  and Drs. Lucy and Philip Sheils of Rochester, NY. 

Also surviving are 21 grandchildren and their spouses/partners, 9 great grandsons and 6 great  granddaughters. She was predeceased by her husband, Charles Allen Ashley, M.D., her  grandson, MSG (Ret.) Harry Augustus Griffith, IV, and by her infant daughter, Audrey Pennock  Ashley.  

Those wishing to honor her memory may contribute to the Friends of Bassett Healthcare, 1  Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326; Cornell University Office of Donor Relations, 130 East  Seneca St., Suite 400, Ithaca, NY 14850; Weill Cornell Medical College, Office of External  Affairs, 1300 York Avenue, Box 314, New York, NY 10065; or, Smith College, Development  Office, 33 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01063.

The family is in the process of arranging services and will announce details soon.


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