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1928 - 2018 Obituary
January 25, 1928 -
June 3, 2018

Born Dorothy Jo West in Lubbock, Texas, on January 25th, 1928, Jo's family moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where she lived until she was 15.

Her father was an office manager for Swift and Company and after World War II began, he was transferred to various cities when managers of other offices were drafted. The first relocation was to Tulsa, where Jo spent one school semester, and then to Conway, Arkansas.

Upon arrival in Conway, she decided to pursue the beginning of a college education at the University of Arkansas, Conway, instead of going to high school to finish the twelfth grade. So, at age 16, she sought to enter the University and was accepted.

Upon completing two years, her father was again transferred to Oklahoma City, where she worked in a jewelry store and continued her college education at Oklahoma City University at night.

After one year at the university, at age 19, she married Alfred B. Ashley. Six months later the Civil Aeronautics Authority (later the FAA) sent her husband, an electrical engineer, to the Panama Canal Zone. Though they were advised that the wife should stay in the USA until quarters became available in the Canal Zone, they decided that both would go there together. So, after one year living in Panama City, the Canal quarters became available, and they stayed another year.

Upon returning to the USA and, after a brief assignment in Oklahoma City, Al decided to work and live in Sacramento, CA, where he worked for Aerojet General Corporation, and Jo completed her Bachelor's Degree. She taught school during the day and went to the university at night to earn her Master's degree in Education from California State University, Sacramento. She graduated in 1968.

If you asked Jo, she would have told you that the two bright lights shining in her life were the adoption of Stephen Elliott Ashley (born in 1950) and James Austin Ashley (born in 1957). Steve came to live with Jo and Al when he was ten days old and Jim when he was four days old. At age 38, after thirty-three years of an undiagnosed disease which left him both physically and mentally challenged, Steve went to live with the Lord in 1989. Jim joined the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman at the age of 18. In 2006, he moved to Anacortes and became a caregiver.

After some nine years of teaching, Jo became the first woman assigned as a principal in the eighty-five school San Juan Unified School District, in a suburb of Sacramento. Then, after sixteen years as a principal, in 1985 she took a position as Professor of Education at National University where she taught future teachers for four-and-a-half years.

She also enjoyed working on her pilot's license at the encouragement of her husband Bill Fuqua, whom she married in 1973, and who had been a pilot in World War II.

Jo and Bill travelled to many places together: Europe, Tahiti, Mexico, Jamaica, Alaska (on cruise ships) and through the Panama Canal, as well as around the United States. In 1989, after Steve's passing, Jo and Bill moved to Anacortes, where Jo was a substitute teacher for six years. They enjoyed their retirement in Anacortes. Bill passed away in 1999.

Jo enjoyed her hobby of creating miniatures since retiring in 1985. In addition to the many miniatures that are displayed on special occasions in the children's section of the Anacortes Public Library, she was pleased to be asked to create a 4' X 8' replica of Commercial Avenue, 6th Street to 9th Street, for the Fire Department. It is used for the training of firemen and volunteers. Jo was also proud of her construction of a model of the Citadel of Aleppo in Syria for a friend who expressed a need for a three-dimensional model to teach a class at the church.

As Secretary of the Anacortes Sister City Association, 2000-2013, Jo travelled to Anacortes' four sister cities: Lomonosov, Russia; Nikaho, Japan; Vela Luka, Croatia and Sidney, B.C. She also enjoyed volunteering in the Oncology department of Island Hospital, the Senior Activity Center, the Anacortes School District and served on the Anacortes Train Depot board where she wrote the successful grant of $40,000 for the improvement of the baggage room. Jo enjoyed attending the United Methodist Church of Anacortes over the years.

Jo was preceded in death by her parents, Oscar and Irma West, her husband William Fuqua; her son Stephen Ashley and brother Kenneth West.

She is survived by her son James Ashley of Anacortes, her brother David West of Edmond, Oklahoma, and her sister Alyce Amend of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes, WA.

To share a memory of Jo, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.
Published in Anacortes American on June 13, 2018
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