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1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
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November 16, 2018

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Preview Entry
November 16, 2018

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. Legacy.com reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
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March 1, 2018
Many of us who were faculty or trainees at Riverview, the Outpatient Psychiatry Department of the University of Michigan, will remember Helga Ashley. Most of the process notes summarizing our daily therapy labor ended up on her desk to be typed. Facing the entrance of the typing office, Helga's desk was positioned so that nothing escaped her observant eyes. Always dressed with a European flair she never seemed tongue-tied with a quick-witted remark for each person who entered her domain.
She had a rare combination of a creative spirit, a generous heart and a relentless discipline for hard work. Beyond work, her creative talents found marvelous expression on oil canvases and on the piano. Her summer trips to new European sites were preceded by intensive language study as she readied herself for her next adventure.
Helga's generosity extended to feeding all of us hungry clinicians at Riverview with a steady supply of cookies, cakes and an always-full coffee pot. My American cookbook has many recipes for party treats in Helga's handwriting, given to me when my own repertoire as a host was lacking. After hours, Helga typed the notes for the psychoanalysts in training and the dissertations of some of the clinical psychologists. One could always rely on her precision, and on receiving inquisitive questions about the content of our work. Her many years of experience had made insightful about normal and aberrant human behavior, a depth of understanding which she brought to her work.
As a naive immigrant on my arrival to study in Ann Arbor, Helga walked the first steps with me as I acclimated to my new world. Helping me adjust to a new tongue while offering me the familiarity of communicating in my native language and culture, created a safe haven during my first years at the University of Michigan.
As a fiercely private person, she never spoke about her own life or talents. On the surface, Helga's immigration history resembles that of many other war brides who came to this country, worked hard and raised children. Those who knew and loved her wondered what choices Helga would have made if she could have pursued her abilities and talents with more education and opportunity.
She lived a beautiful life, making it the life she wanted. She gave generously to others, immigrant and native-born alike, and worked with endlessly positive and open spirit in our community.
The loss of Helga is deeply felt.
February 14, 2018
I have many warm memories of Helga, as well as her daughter, Norah, (and Helgas white cat). Helga always made me so welcome in her home, where she played the piano to my flute and we had a dinner made by Helga. Helga was a warm, wonderfully good-humored and intelligent woman with many talents of which she did not boast. She loved Norah deeply. I first thought her daughters name was Minori because she always referred to her, warmly, in that way.
February 4, 2018
I was so sorry to learn of Ms. Ashley's passing and I am so sorry for your loss. Our paths crossed many years ago, when I was a psychology intern at Riverview, Outpatient Psychiatry, where she worked editing and transcribing, including the notes for the therapies I was conducting. When I turned in a written transcript for the first time, she peered at me over her reading glasses with those piercing eyes and informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I would be dictating my notes for her transcription, henceforth. She was always a kind and supportive afterwards, but our first contact was a valuable lesson in professionalism and being part of a team. In reviewing her amazing life, I wish I could have gotten to know her better. My condolences.
January 23, 2018
I am sorry for your loss. May prayer comfort you.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray constantly."