Charlene F. Askew
1938 - 2021
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Charlene F. Askew

Raleigh - Charlene F. Askew passed away on 30 March 2021, after an extended battle with Alzheimer's Disease. She was born in Asheville, NC on 18 June 1938 to Henry Coleman Fisher and Eula Mae Reed Fisher and welcomed by her older sister Mary Jean Fisher and brother Henry C. Fisher Jr.

Growing up in Asheville, she graduated from Lee Edwards High School in June 1956, and entered the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing that Fall. A Dean's List student throughout, she graduated with Honors in May 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began her career as a Registered Public Health Nurse. She went on to work for Memorial Mission Hospital, the Buncombe County Health Department, NC State Student Health Services, and the Vance County Health Department. Throughout her life she was a dedicated care giver on many levels, always opening her heart to anyone in need.

In July 1960, she married Robert R. "Randy" Williams III, later giving birth to their two sons, Robert R. Williams IV and Charles C. Williams. They lived in Henderson, NC before the family moved to Atlanta in 1969, where Randy began his career in commercial real estate with Cousins Properties.

In the summer of 1971, Charlene and the boys moved back to Asheville following the untimely death of her husband in a plane crash. Surrounded by family and her beloved NC Mountains, she displayed amazing resilience, launching a business venture in Biltmore Village, The Yellow Umbrella Craftique.

While on a trip to Switzerland, she met Garland L. Askew a real estate attorney practicing in Raleigh, NC. They were married in September 1973, and moved to Raleigh where they shared 47 wonderful years together. Once in the Capital City, Charlene established herself as a barrel of fun and ball of energy. A fabulous mother, cook, and adventurer, she could make the smallest event an occasion. An avid volunteer, she became a member of the Raleigh Junior League, staying active for over 25 years. She joined Capital Area Preservation in 1974, eventually serving as President of the Mordecai Square Historical Society from 1984 to 1985. She worked as the Membership and Volunteer Coordinator for Historic Preservation of North Carolina from 1986 until retiring in 1998.

Her passions outside of work included her many dear friends, 1789 Questers, sunsets at Lake Gaston, Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer, White Memorial Presbyterian Church, and of course her beloved North Carolina Tar Heels. She overcame many of life's curve balls with unique elegance and grace, including going to clown school while undergoing chemotherapy. Charlene always had a mischievous twinkle in her eye and lived life with the wind in her hair and a smile on her face, sharing unconditionally her zest for life and great style with any and all that crossed her path.

In addition to her parents, brother, and sister, and first husband, she is preceded in death by her niece Janice Fowler and nephew Henry C. Fisher, Jr.

She is survived by her husband, Garland L. Askew, son Robert R. Williams IV, son Charles C. Williams (Shannon), and stepdaughter Mary Alice Askew. She dearly loved her grandchildren Matthew R. Williams (Colleen) of Charlotte, Gordon L. "Grey" Williams (Beth) of Atlanta, and Margaret R. (Molly) Williams of St Andrews, Scotland...they were her treasures! Many family members blessed her life: in-laws Lee Fisher, Jim and Connie Williams, Mike and Jill Williams, Lynn and Dinah Askew, and Leah Newsome; nieces Linda Poss Sharpe, Carmen Fisher Murray, Cheryl Milner, Bradly Kitchens, Amy Verhaeghe, Katie Jewel, Allison DePuy, Lauren McDaniel, Dena Daniels, Nikki James, and Emily Askew; and nephews Earl Fowler, Mark Fowler, Jay Martin, Brandon Askew, Madison Askew, and twins Don and Deke Daniels.

Her family is grateful for the many caregivers who blessed Charlene in the last years of her life.

A private service will be held at White Memorial Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to the UNC-School of Nursing Scholarship Fund at

Condolences can be shared through Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, St. Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC;

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Asheville Citizen-Times from Apr. 1 to Apr. 2, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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