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1951 Robert 2022

Robert Earl Ashley

September 9, 1951 — May 27, 2022


Due to the possible weather this afternoon and famliy request the service location has been moved to the chapel at Russellville Family Funeral.

We aplogize for any inconvenience.


On May 27, 2022 Robert Earl Ashley blew a kiss to his true love, Mari-Lou, and then died in her arms after a long, stubborn fight with COPD, just a couple of months shy of what would have been their 48th anniversary (and they said it wouldn’t last). When Robert was diagnosed with COPD in 2008, everybody around him prepared for the worst, and yet, year after year, Robert just kept fighting and moving forward, living his live as much as his lungs would allow. In the end, his lungs were still holding their own, but his heart ran out of fight.  

Robert was born on September 9, 1951 in Mesa, AZ. He ended up in Concord, California working for A.R. Hickey Construction. Robert’s work ethic and skill made him a favorite with the boss, Argie-Ray Hickey, until Robert caught the eye of the boss’s daughter which did not sit well.  Luckily for Robert, the big boss, Betty Hickey Kamen, recognized true love and fought long and hard on his behalf. Robert holds the dubious distinction as the only reason Betty ever slept on the couch.  Robert and Mari-Lou were married in 1974 in Concord, California. Robert never felt the in-law title applied to Mari-Lou’s family, Betty became a second mother and Alan and Jeani became his brother and sister, in spirit (and in law). 

Robert and Mari-Lou raised their family in Brentwood/Oakley, California where they spent many happy hours boating on the Sacramento River Delta. Some of the fondest memories were house boat trips to Lake Powell, AZ. In 1996, Robert and Mari-Lou relocated to Arkansas to be closer to grand-parents, Argie and Annette Hickey. 

Robert had a long career as a heavy equipment operator. He was a vested member of the Operating Engineers Local #3 and worked with Dutra Construction all over the state of California. After relocating to Arkansas, he finished his career with Kiewit where he had the opportunity to work all over Arkansas and the Western United States.

Preceding him in death are his son, Blake Ashley; parents, Clifford Ashley, Betty (Pickens) Todd and Robert E. Todd, II; father-in-law, Argie Ray Hickey and son-in-law, Jared Stokes.

Robert is survived by his wife, Mari-Lou (Hickey) Ashley; daughter, Melissa Ashley; son-in-law, Matthew Wilgenbush; daughter, Erika Stokes; grandchildren, Parker Stokes, Connor Stokes, Banner Stokes and Taylor Wilgenbush; brother, Robert E. Todd, III (Diana); sister, Barbara Simeroth (Ron); mother-in-law, Betty Kamen (David); brother-in-law, Alan Hickey; sister-in-law, Jeani Ison; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his cows, a.k.a “the Red-heads.”

Viewing will be Tuesday, June 7, 2022 from 6:00-8:00pm at Russellville Family Funeral. On June 8, 2022 at 3:00p.m there will be a pond-side celebration of life at 529 Old Wire Road East, London, AR with the grave-side committal immediately following at East Point Cemetery. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Russellville Family Funeral. 

Pallbearers: Parker Stokes, Connor Stokes, Alex Hickey, Alfred Torres, Robert Torres, Chris Zoty.

Honorary Pallbearers: Robert Todd, III, Alan Hickey, Barry Tarbat and Mathew Wilgenbush.

Obituary and online guestbook are available at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Earl Ashley, please visit our flower store.

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