Mary Margaret Ashby, 95, passed away on March 25, 2021, at the Mayflower Health Center, Grinnell, Iowa. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm at the Grinnell United Methodist Church. Masks will be required. The service will be livestreamed on the Grinnell United Methodist Church Facebook page and YouTube channel at 2:00 and will be archived for later viewing.
She was born on June 10, 1925, in Hartwick, Iowa, to Walter and Alma (Hakeman) Ruble. She was raised on farms north of Brooklyn and south of Grinnell. Mary Margaret graduated from Grinnell High School and attended AIB in Des Moines. She worked at Wright Airfield Base in Dayton, Ohio, as a civilian employee of the Army Air Corp during WWII, and spent time in Rochester, Minnesota, working as a waitress while her mother was hospitalized. She returned to Grinnell and worked at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance. She met Robert W. Ashby, a local farmer, and they married August 26, 1949, in Grinnell, a union that lasted for 66 years until Bob’s death in December, 2015. To this union, 2 children, Michael and Dennis, were born.
Starting around 1960, Mary Margaret worked part time at St. Francis Hospital and Grinnell College, soon becoming full-time at the college as the science department secretary until her retirement 29 years later. She also engaged in farming with her husband southwest of Grinnell their entire married life. They enjoyed raising their cattle, square dancing, and playing cards (particularly bridge). The couple enjoyed traveling, taking many family vacations, often to the Black Hills and California. Later they enjoyed winters in Arizona and Texas.
After Bob’s death, Mary Margaret moved to the Mayflower Community and has been a resident ever since. She was an active member of Bethel Methodist Church in rural Lynnville and after its closure, United Methodist Church in Grinnell.
Mary Margaret is survived by her two sons, Michael (Deborah) Ashby of rural Gilman and Dennis (Carolyn) Ashby of rural Grinnell. She was blessed with four grandchildren, Courtney (Jamie) Renshaw of Elkhart, Iowa, Chase (Mary) Ashby of Windham, Ohio, Angelina (Greg) Willard of Des Moines, IA, and Elizabeth (Scott) Fuchser of Idaho Falls, ID. She was also blessed with 14 great-grandchildren. Besides her children and their families, survivors include her sister, Phyllis Collier, sisters-in-law Virginia Ashby, Betty Ashby, Margaret Vander Kamp, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Bob, brother Oscar Ruble and his wife Toni, sisters and brothers-in-law: Maxine and Ken Dieterich, Viola and Melvin Armstrong, Violet and Dave Krumm, brothers-in-law Harry Ashby, Alfred Ashby, Melvin Vander Kamp, and Jack Collier.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Mary Margaret Ashby Family Memorial at the Grinnell United Methodist Church to be distributed to the Annual Mayflower Employee Appreciation Campaign Fund and the Grinnell United Methodist Church.