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Ethel Rita Aspell

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Ethel Rita Aspell Obituary
VENTURA, Calif. -- Ethel Rita Aspell passed away December 14, 2011, of sudden heart failure.

The daughter of Thomas A. and Margaret Ferns, she was born May 29, 1923, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ethel was a graduate of St. Vincent High School in Akron and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Akron. During college she performed in theater and was a member of the Lambda Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Ethel married John F. Aspell in 1946, and they enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage before his passing in February 2005. Her love of live theater, film, classical, and popular music strengthened through the years. The TV was always set on classic movies - Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart were her favorites. The day Frank Sinatra died, John bought her a dozen roses. They loved to dance to that big band swing sound. Their family, which grew to five children, relocated frequently due to John's U.S. Navy Officer and engineering duties, finally settling in Ventura County, Calif. in 1968.

Ethel wrote for the Akron Beacon Journal and later worked at the Ventura Star Free Press as an Editor and Copy Writer. In the late 1970s she excelled as Public Relations Manager for St. John's Hospital in Oxnard, Calif., and, in the1980s, as Business Manager and Publicist for the Ventura County Symphony. Her love of Native-American culture was evident in vacation adventures to Taos, New Mexico; Mesa Verde, and her favorite place on earth - next to New York City - Monument Valley. Ethel possessed a keen wit, dramatic, infectious laugh, and a razor-sharp sense of social injustice. She will always be remembered by her family and friends for spiritual devotion and unsurpassed sweetness of character.

She is survived by her beloved children: sons, Thomas and his wife, Barbara Lebeau, of Pittsburgh, Pa., John Kevin of Hayward, Calif., Dennis Michael of Ventura, Calif.; daughters, Julie Ellen Cariani and husband Peter, of Boston, Mass., Anne Aspell Stevens and husband James of Ventura, Calif.; grandchildren, Arthur John and Elise Aspell, Brady and Devin Stevens; sister-in-law, Mary Aspell; and her dearest cousins, Helen Shields and Dorothy Miller of Pittsburgh, Pa.; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 27, at Sacred Heart Church in Ventura, Calif., where Ethel was a parishioner for nearly 40 years.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to Sacred Heart Church, Ventura, Calif.; or to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal World.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura, Calif.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Dec. 22, 2011
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