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Ruth Ashley


Ruth Ashley, of Grand Rapids, MI, and San Diego, CA, died February 3, 2023, at Provision Living Center in Grand Rapids. Her final days were passed in comfort and at peace, in the care of family members, Provision Living aides, and Gentiva Hospice.

Ruth was 83 years old. She lived a full life as a mother, a sister, an author, a businesswoman and much more.

She was born at home in Wyoming, Mich., on Jan. 13, 1940, and christened Virginia Ruth Hoogterp; the second of 13 children born to Peter and Dorothy Hoogterp. The family later moved to Comstock Park, where she attended Holy Trinity elementary school, and then to northern Kent County, where she graduated in 1957 as valedictorian of Kent City High School.

She briefly considered following her mother into a nursing career, and worked at clerical positions in Grand Rapids before enrolling at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology.

While living in Albuquerque, she married Chris Ashley. The couple later divorced, and Ruth raised their son, Monty, as a single mother. She was an early adopter of computer systems, and worked in information technology positions in Michigan and the Washington D.C. area during the 1970s, before settling in Southern California.

She was co-founder of DuoTech Inc., a San Diego technical-writing and computer consulting firm, and was author of a number of popular self-teaching guides for computer programmers and users.

While in San Diego, she provided material and emotional support to her sister, Mary Hoogterp, who passed away in 2013. After Mary’s death, Ruth continued offering similar assistance to Mary’s daughters, Marjorie RuiKe (Alex) Fernandez, and Dorothea Fu-Yin Brewer.

She loved the ocean, mountains, and deserts of Southern California, serving as family tour guide to the Joshua Tree National Park, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram and the tidal pools of Point Loma. Her interest in other cultures, was a touchstone in her life. Following retirement she traveled to Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In 2020, recognizing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Ruth returned to Michigan to live her final years in the presence of her family.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, and by siblings Terry Foley, Thomas Hoogterp, Mary Hoogterp, Barbara Rowe, and Frank Hoogterp. She is survived by her son, Monty (Rhias Hall) Ashley; sisters, Joan Loveland, Angie (Bobbie Rosencrans) Hoogterp, Sue (Doug) Shank, Sara (Mike) Yob; brothers, Martin (Barbara) Hoogterp; Edward (Millie) Hoogterp, Daniel (Helena) Hoogterp; brother-in-law, John Foley; sisters-in-law, Kathy Hoogterp, Betty Hoogterp, Jen Brewer, Linda Hoogterp; and by an extended family of cousins, nieces, and nephews. The family is being assisted by Gerst Funeral Care. A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at the O’Brien-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, 49546 (corner of Cascade Road and East Paris Avenue), with visitation one hour prior. Family suggests memorial contributions be made to charity of one’s choice.

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3 Responses

  1. Patrick and I got to spend time with you in San Diego around 1998/9 when he had a job there for a few months. You were generous with your time, taking us to see the sights and explore the area. I enjoyed your sense of humor and we will miss you.

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