Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Roberta Jean (Martin) Ashley, age 89, of Casey, IL passed away unexpectedly at 5:53 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2023 at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Coles County, IL. She was born on February 27, 1934 in Charleston, IL, the daughter of Virgil Martin and Claudine Beatrice (Hopkins) Martin. She married W. M. “Moe” Ashley on June 5, 1954 in Yale, Illinois. They shared 52 wonderful years of marriage before he passed away on March 30, 2006.
Survivors include her children, Shannon Ashley (Cherie) of Casey, IL; Julie Denney (Rusty) of Casey, IL; Lori Crozier of Casey, IL and Camille Ragon (Rusty) of Manhattan, IL; grandchildren, Brock Ashley (Angela), Brett Ashley (Tara), Brian Crozier, Brandon Crozier (Aubrey), Brennan Ragon (Ariel) and Bryton Ragon (Chelsey); great grandchildren, Will, Camryn, Brooklyn, Joel, Jaret and Madilyn Ashley, Caiden and Carter Ashley and Brantley and Bryston Crozier; and sister-in-law Shirlee (Ashley) Johnson and her two sons, Alan and Sidney. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Moe Ashley; infant brothers, Virgil Martin and William Martin and granddaughter, Adrianne Brooke Denney.
Roberta was raised on her family farm south of Casey, close to Yale, Illinois. When Roberta was six, her two year old brother, William, tragically died in an accident, leaving her an only child. She was so young and she did not fully understand what had happened. Thanks to the loving community that she lived in, many people stepped in to help ease her family's pain, especially Bruce and Eliza Cramer and their children, June and Eugene. She attended one room schools in her area, always pushing herself to be the best student in her class, even when other students were much older. Instead of walking to school, many days she rode her pony. Her pony made her late a few days because he wanted to stop and eat grass on the way. She lived one mile from her grandparents' home, Perry and Lillie Ann (Haddock) Martin and Roberta would ride her bike over to their house in the summer with a pail of milk on the handlebar. Needless to say, because the roads were gravel and bumpy, she did not arrive with much milk left in the bucket. Her grandmother would tell her stories about her family, the Bible and pray with her every day. This instilled in Roberta the importance of prayer in her life. Roberta was saved at a revival service at the New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church at the age of 7 and then she was baptized in a local creek. The preachers and the Sunday school teachers at New Hope taught her many things about the Bible and helped show how faith in Jesus could help her through many of the good times and hard times that life offers.
She often told people that she was a graduate of Yale, she would then explain it was at Yale, Illinois Jr. High school. She then came to Casey High school, only knowing a few people from the Yale area. She worked hard to be a good student in high school and she got asked to help decorate the gym for homecomings and proms because of her artistic ability. Her mom rented them an apartment in Casey for several months so that she could be in several drama productions. Roberta met Moe at Casey High School and they went to several proms together. Because Moe was going to go to college, Roberta decided that she wanted to attend college as well. After graduation from Casey High School in 1952, she attended Eastern Illinois University for two years and then got married to Moe in 1954.
Moe accepted a job with Shell Oil Company, so they took off in his car with the bare essentials. His training program took him all over the southwest. Shannon was born in Hobbs, New Mexico, Julie in Roswell, New Mexico, and Lori was born in Midland, Texas. Finally in 1963, they decided to move back to Illinois. Roberta had always wanted four children, so Camille was born in Charleston, Illinois. Roberta was a very creative mother, always making fun Halloween costumes, decorating her home for holidays such as Christmas and Easter, helping with softball, paying for piano lessons, gymnastics lessons, cake decorating classes and any other interests that her children had. She helped with 4-H projects, especially ideas for Share the Fun and the 4-H carnival, where one of her favorite games was "Snag The Nag", where people could lasso a wooden horse. Roberta had a special love for helping with Bible school every summer at New Hope Church. She would call everyone in the neighborhood of Washington Street Road and invite them to Bible school and then would pick them up in the station wagon to make sure they would attend. She also helped the Casey Baptist Church with Bible school. Somehow during all of these activities she was able to finish her bachelors degree in English at Eastern Illinois University in 1972, doing her student teaching in Robinson, Illinois.
Roberta wanted to understand the Bible and all that it had to offer, so she would read commentaries, listen to cassette tapes and listen to lots of messages at various churches and on TV. She taught classes at the Word of Life Church in Casey for many years. She also both attended and helped with many Bible studies in area churches. She even taught the high school Sunday School class at the Casey United Methodist Church in 2005, the year before Adrianne passed away. Adrianne was so thrilled to have her Mamaw teach her about the Bible. Roberta was a wonderful Christian mentor and witness. She was a great asset with her willingness to share her experiences and what she had learned in life. Roberta was a faithful member of many churches in the area, most recently Woodlawn Chapel in Charleston, IL, where her grandson, Brock, preaches. After her stroke ten months ago, she said she had one last message to give. She worked on "The Women at the Well" message and shared it with several people who came to her house. Roberta was a prayer Warrior and loved sharing the Gospel with family and friends.
Roberta loved her grandchildren so much. Her games of Uno and Aggravation rank as some of the best! She had to have special rules with six grandsons: No foul language, no passing gas and no hitting the table to knock off the marbles on the Aggravation game! There was some serious game playing at her house. Her sense of humor and her competitive spirit were hilarious! Three days before Christmas of this year she played Pass the Pigs and Racko with her great grandsons Brantley and Bryston.
Roberta also was a member of the Casey Women's Club for many years and she was a member of the Delta Sigma Sorority her first two years at EIU. Roberta was a wonderful wife and mother, a doting grandmother and great grandmother and loved anytime she could spend with her family. Roberta could always be seen attending any and all activities the grandchildren and great grandchildren participated in. She also was a trusted confidant for the younger members of her family based on the unique situations or circumstances they faced and often gave great advice.
Funeral Services will conducted at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 5, 2024 at Markwell Funeral Home with Pastor Brock Ashley and Pastor Terry Blanchard officiating. Burial will follow in the Casey Cumberland Cemetery, Casey IL. Visitation will be held from 10 – 11 a.m. prior to the service on Friday at Markwell Funeral Home, 200 N. Central Ave., Casey, IL.
Memorials may be made to the Woodlawn Chapel, 917 Woodlawn Drive, Charleston, IL 61920; CW Booster Club, 306 E. Edgar Ave., Casey, IL 62420 or Casey Food Pantry, PO Box 295, Casey, IL 62420.
To view the full obituary, send a condolence message, light a candle or post photos, visit www.markwellfuneralhome.com. Markwell Funeral Home of Casey, IL is in charge of the arrangements.