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Amy Ashworth

1924 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Amy Ashworth Obituary
Amy Ashworth

Ojai, CA

Amy Ashworth (born Am?lie Wilhelmine Marie Everard) passed away in Ojai on April 6, 2017, at the age of 92. She was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on August 31, 1924.

Amy grew up in the Netherlands, the youngest of nine children in a blended family. As a young woman she worked as a nurse during World War II in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam an experience that proved to be formative in her life-long passion for justice and immigrated alone to the United States after the war. While working at the Dutch Consulate in New York City she met and married her partner in love and in life, Richard Goodspeed Ashworth. The pair became the proud parents of three boys, Pieter Thomas (Tucker), Everard and Eric. As Dick's practice of admiralty law flourished, the Ashworths moved to Bronxville in Westchester County, from which home base Amy was the leader in many family hiking, camping and canoeing expeditions. Most famous among these were month-long camping trips at Lake Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains. Dick's business brought many opportunities for travel abroad and visits home to the Netherlands. The couple continued their global travels after Dick's retirement.

Amy and Dick's life took an unanticipated turn when their eldest son Tucker came out to them in 1972. This event transformed the couple into gay rights activists, advocates not only for their own sons, but for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, particularly youth. Dick and Amy were founding members of Parents of Gays, which later became the New York chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The couple were formative in establishment of PFLAG as a national organization, today comprising 400 chapters across the US. They worked tirelessly for gay civil liberties, in helping parents accept their gay children, and supporting people whose parents found that acceptance difficult. It was an incredibly moving experience marching in the 1987 New York Gay Pride Parade with Dick and Amy and the PFLAG contingent. It wasn't just the heightened cheers from the crowd for the parents group, or the shouts of recognition for Amy as the parade marched down 5th Avenue, but most tellingly the man who stepped out into the parade to quietly shake Amy's hand and thank her for saving his life with her compassion.

Amy was a dynamic and compelling public speaker. In the 1970s and 1980s Dick and Amy lobbied Congress for gay rights and appeared on national television shows such as Phil Donahue and Merv Griffin to talk about their personal experiences and encourage other families to embrace their gay children. For a time Amy hosted a gay community-themed talk show on New York cable television and, among many honors, was a 1992 recipient of the Stonewall Award, which recognizes individuals whose efforts have enhanced the quality of life for gay men and women.

After the boys were grown and embarked on their careers Tucker in public relations, Everard in environmental science and Eric as a literary agent Dick and Amy moved back to Manhattan, happily residing in the West Village and enjoying the cultural and culinary delights of New York City.

Dick and Amy lost their two gay sons to AIDS. Amy was not one to let these heartbreaking events stop her work on behalf of the gay community, and she and Dick became advocates for AIDS research funds and the rights of those infected with HIV.

Dick passed away in 1998 and Amy established the Richard G. Ashworth Scholarship to assist gay youth in attending college. She continued her volunteer work, first as president of the New York chapter of PFLAG and then working in hospice and at God's Love We Deliver, preparing meals for those with HIV/AIDS.

In 2007 Amy relocated to Ojai, California, to be closer to her son Everard and his family. In Ojai she continued her volunteer work at HELP of Ojai while enjoying the social life at The Gables and visits from her family and friends from all over the world.

Amy is survived by her son Everard, daughter-in-love Brooke, and beloved grandchildren Henry and Emma Ashworth as well as her son-in-spirit Gordon Stewart, God-daughter Susan Stewart, son-in-law Rick Kot, brother-in-law Karel Dahmen, sister-in-law Joan Nichols and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews both in the US and the Netherlands. The family gives grateful recognition to Amy's longtime care-giver and friend, Chris Hansen.

A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. Should you desire to honor Amy through a memorial contribution, the family suggests a donation to PFLAG.
Published in Ventura County Star on Apr. 9, 2017
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