By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Kathleen Ashley, the wife of former Congressman Thomas Ludlow Ashley, died yesterday of heart failure in George Washington University Hospital here. She was 65.
She was born in Birmingham, Ala., where her father, Charles Lucey, was a reporter. Mr. Lucey spent his life working as a journalist for papers around the country, including the Toledo News-Bee. He eventually became the Washington correspondent for the Scripps-Howard chain of newspapers, and Mrs. Ashley grew up in and spent most of her life in the capital.
Mrs. Ashley attended Trinity College in Washington, then went on to Georgetown University for law school, receiving her degree in 1960. There, she studied under famed Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams.
Her son, Meredith Ashley, remembered her as an extremely bright, involved woman.
“Not many women had their law degrees in 1960,” he said.
She met Mr. Ashley when she was his legislative assistant in Washington in 1962. They were married in August, 1967.
As a congressman’s wife, Mrs. Ashley traveled around the world, visiting China in 1980 when formal diplomatic relations with the United States were opened and traveling extensively in South America.
“I don’t think there’s a continent she missed,” her son said.
Mr. and Mrs. Ashley agreed on most political issues, but not on all. “We were aware of the differences, and generally avoided those,” Mr. Ashley said.
But more than politics, she loved spending time with her family.
“She never missed a ballgame, home or away,” her son Meredith said. “Football, baseball, basketball – it always helped that she was in the stands.”
She was very active in her Catholic faith, particularly in the church at Trinity College. She also enjoyed playing bridge and reading a good crime novel.
Surviving are her husband, Thomas Ludlow Ashley; sons, Meredith and Mark; three sisters, and four brothers.
There will be no visitation. A memorial Mass will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Annunciation Church, Washington.