Charlene Fisher Askew

June 18, 1938March 30, 2021

Charlene F. Askew passed away on 30 March 2021, after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was born in Asheville, NC on 18 June 1938 to Henry Coleman Fisher and Eula Mae Reed Fisher and welcomed by her older sister Mary Jean Fisher and brother Henry C. Fisher Jr.

Growing up in Asheville, she graduated from Lee Edwards High School in June 1956, and entered the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing that Fall. A Dean’s List student throughout, she graduated with Honors in May 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began her career as a Registered Public Health Nurse. She went on to work for Memorial Mission Hospital, the Buncombe County Health Department, NC State Student Health Services, and the Vance County Health Department. Throughout her life she was a dedicated care giver on many levels, always opening her heart to anyone in need.

In July 1960, she married Robert R. “Randy” Williams III, later giving birth to their two sons, Robert R. Williams IV and Charles C. Williams. They lived in Henderson, NC before the family moved to Atlanta in 1969, where Randy began his career in commercial real estate with Cousins Properties.

In the summer of 1971, Charlene and the boys moved back to Asheville following the untimely death of her husband in a plane crash. Surrounded by family and her beloved NC Mountains, she displayed amazing resilience, launching a business venture in Biltmore Village, The Yellow Umbrella Craftique.

While on a trip to Switzerland, she met Garland L. Askew a real estate attorney practicing in Raleigh, NC. They were married in September 1973, and moved to Raleigh where they shared 47 wonderful years together. Once in the Capital City, Charlene established herself as a barrel of fun and ball of energy. A fabulous mother, cook, and adventurer, she could make the smallest event an occasion. An avid volunteer, she became a member of the Raleigh Junior League, staying active for over 25 years. She joined Capital Area Preservation in 1974, eventually serving as President of the Mordecai Square Historical Society from 1984 to 1985. She worked as the Membership and Volunteer Coordinator for Historic Preservation of North Carolina from 1986 until retiring in 1998.

Her passions outside of work included her many dear friends, 1789 Questers, sunsets at Lake Gaston, Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer, White Memorial Presbyterian Church, and of course her beloved North Carolina Tar Heels. She overcame many of life’s curve balls with unique elegance and grace, including going to clown school while undergoing chemotherapy. Charlene always had a mischievous twinkle in her eye and lived life with the wind in her hair and a smile on her face, sharing unconditionally her zest for life and great style with any and all that crossed her path.

In addition to her parents, brother, and sister, and first husband, she is preceded in death by her niece Janice Fowler and nephew Henry C. Fisher, Jr.

She is survived by her husband, Garland L. Askew; son, Robert R. Williams IV, son Charles C. Williams (Shannon), and stepdaughter, Mary Alice Askew. She dearly loved her grandchildren, Matthew R. Williams (Colleen) of Charlotte, Gordon L. “Grey” Williams (Beth) of Atlanta, and Margaret R. (Molly) Williams of St Andrews, Scotland...they were her treasures! Many family members blessed her life: in-laws Lee Fisher, Jim and Connie Williams, Mike and Jill Williams, Lynn and Dinah Askew, and Leah Newsome; nieces, Linda Poss Sharpe, Carmen Fisher Murray, Cheryl Milner, Bradly Kitchens, Amy Verhaeghe, Katie Jewel, Allison DePuy, Lauren McDaniel, Parkie Mason Stewardson, Dena Daniels, Nikki James, and Emily Askew; and nephews, Earl Fowler, Mark Fowler, Ralph Mason, Jr., Jay Martin, Brandon Askew, Madison Askew, and twins, Don and Deke Daniels. Her family is grateful for the many caregivers who blessed Charlene in the last years of her life.

A private service will be held at White Memorial Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to the UNC-School of Nursing Scholarship Fund at

Condolences can be shared through Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, St. Mary’s Street, Raleigh, NC;


  • Private Memorial Service

    Friday, May 14, 2021


Charlene Fisher Askew

have a memory or condolence to add?

Phoebe Strough

May 13, 2021

My sincere condolences to you and your family, Garland. May God give you the peace that goes beyond all understanding.

In Christ love,

Marita Gates

April 21, 2021

Charlene was a classmate of mine all through high school. She was not only an excellent student but a dear, thoughtful person. I last saw her when a group of us spent a weekend together in the mountains. Good memories!
Blessings to her entire family and a wish that you can somehow replace the sadness in your hearts with memories of those happy family times with Charlene.
Marita Cannon Gates

Diane and Jim Lea

April 10, 2021

Charlene was one of Diane’s favorite preservation colleagues and friends. Before Diane passed away in November 2020, she often recalled Charlene’s effort, dedication and good humor in working to preserving the state’s architectural heritage.

Bob King Family

April 2, 2021

Having spent many years as a client, friend and next door neighbor at Lake Gaston, we are all saddened by Charlene’s illness and subsequent passing. We all remember the wonderful times at the Lake picnicking, fishing, waterskiing and just hanging out. When someone would ask “what time is it?”, Charlene would always say “It’s summertime!”

With heart felt sympathy,

The Bob King Family

Dinah Askew

April 2, 2021

Charlene was a wonderful sister-in-law and friend. It broke my heart to see her slip away with Alzheimer’s. She was a wonderful hostess and excellent chef. Lynn and our kids loved family dinners and celebrations with Charlene. They would rave for days after eating her meals and wondered why I couldn’t cook and bake like their Aunt Charlene. 😋Charlene will be deeply mourned by the many lives she touched. She was an exceptional person!

Kevin Hopkins

April 1, 2021

If ever there was a person who was capable of wringing out every moment in life with purpose, dignity, and joy, it was Charlene. She touched more lives on this earth than all of us will ever know. She certainly was a great example of what goodness is. We will miss seeing her, but her legacy and spirit will live on eternally. She and Garland will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Lisa Cox

April 1, 2021

Charlene taught me so much about hospitality & making us all feel like we were the most important to her❤️🙏
We have big shoes to fill but following her example is a great start! Even my dogs struggled not having her around, they & we all knew where our bread was buttered. So grateful she is whole again & at peace in a place that we can only ponder & wait for. Blessings to all in her family, we love you all ❤️

Greg Cox

April 1, 2021

My entire family was blessed to share more then 20 years of lake life with Charlene and the entire family. It do not matter what was happening Charlene was the to have fun. Dogs at the lake, horseshoe tournaments, barn fires, volleyball, kayak rides, pirate day, large cook outs and so much more. She will be missed. We love you.

sissy ashby

April 1, 2021

Charlene and I ate many a hot dog together, I'll have a couple this week in her honor. She was a sweetheart.

Linda Castelloe

April 1, 2021

I have so many fond memories of time spent with my dear friend, Charlene! I love her family and I am so sorry for their loss. ❤️💕

Love to all!!!
Linda Castelloe