Marblehead, MA – Frances Gertr…

Marblehead, MA – Frances Gertrude (McCarthy) Ashley of Marblehead, Massachusetts, passed away Thursday, October 18, 2018, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Massachusetts, at the age of 96, after living a full and vibrant life.
Frances was predeceased by her husband Henry L. Ashley. She was the daughter of the late Eugene F. McCarthy, and the late Gertrude (McKeever) McCarthy; and sister of the late Robert J. McCarthy Sr. Frances was the beloved aunt of her nieces and nephews, Maureen R. McCarthy, JoAnn M. McCarthy and husband Joseph Fannon, Eugene F. McCarthy II, Robert J. McCarthy Jr., Daniel J. McCarthy, and William C. McCarthy and his wife Kelly. She was the great-aunt of Daniel Campoblanco (Taylor), Brian Fannon, Jack McCarthy, Tom McCarthy, Michael Hale, Zach McCarthy, Rory McCarthy, Westy McCarthy, Will McCarthy, Gus McCarthy (Hannah), Sarah McCarthy, the late Siobhan McCarthy, Mark McCarthy, and the late Paul McCarthy. She was the great-great-aunt of Logan Campoblanco. Frances is also survived by her sister-in-law Rose McCarthy; countless loving neighbors and friends; and by best friend and cherished companion, her dog Bonnie.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, August 18, 1922, Fran was a graduate of Salem High School and Tufts’ Jackson College for Women. During a distinguished career as a teacher, “Miss McCarthy” (later “Mrs. Ashley”) taught in Littleton, Wakefield, and for many years at the Saltonstall School in Salem.
Fran’s passions included sailing, traveling, her canine friends, and enthusiastically enjoying the company of others. She raced sailboats for many years, and served as an officer of Marblehead’s Lightning Fleet. She was a longtime member of the Boston Yacht Club, serving both as the first female member of the Board of Trustees, and as editor of the BYC’s Binnacle newsletter.
Whether known as “Miss McCarthy,” “Knotty Lady,” “Lady Ashley,” “Auntie” or “Friend,” Fran is remembered as gracious, kind, generous, welcoming, energetically independent, and fun loving. As a teacher her life was a lesson in making the most of every moment.
An interment ceremony will be held Wednesday, November 14, at 11 a.m., at Waterside Cemetery, located at 294 W. Shore Dr., Marblehead, MA 01945. In lieu of flowers, for anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in Fran’s honor, she kindly suggested the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, North Dakota Chapter, P.O. Box 11295, Fargo, North Dakota 58106 (with reference to Team Siobhan’s Daisies, and team member Sarah McCarthy). For more information or online guestbook, please visit, or call 978-744-0497.

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