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Keaton’s Mortuary

1022 E Street, San Rafael, CA

OBITUARY

Beth Ashley Fellows

May 21, 1926May 4, 2020

Beth Ashley Fellows, a longtime editor, feature writer and columnist for the Marin Independent Journal, died peacefully at 6AM, May 1, 2020 at Aegis Assisted Living, Corte Madera. She was 93.

She had worked for the independent Journal for years, beginning as a copy editor, later serving as news editor and Lifestyles editor before graduating to writing feature stories and a personal column, published most recently on alternate Tuesdays.

She worked for a year as an English language editor at China Daily in Beijing, and for three months became an exchange editor at Komsomolskaya Pravda in Moscow.

She also served as a “loaner” for six months on USA-Today in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Fellows (who wrote the column entitled “Since You Asked” under the byline of Beth Ashley) was a journalism graduate of Stanford University.

She was born on May 21, 1926, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Guy MacVicar, an investment banker, and Marion Whyte MacVicar, whom he married while a student at Harvard. The family lived in various towns in Massachusetts before moving to Hermosa Beach, California, in 1940. The family relocated frequently during Beth’s growing-up years; she remembered entering a new school 17 times.

She attended High School in Redondo Beach, California and Laconia High School in Laconia, New Hampshire, before entering Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.

Because her family was scattered by World War II, she left high school at the end of her junior year to enter Stanford University, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude at age 20.

In her senior year she was editor of the Stanford Daily.

Her first post-college job was as program director of KTIM. a start-up radio station in Marin County.

In 1949, she moved to Paris and worked for most of the year at UNESCO, then moved to Wiesbaden, Germany, to begin a two-year career as a writer-reporter for a state department news magazine. There, she married American newsman Albert Burchard.

When that marriage failed – after the birth of her first child, Peter Burchard -- she and Peter moved to Belvedere, California, to live with her mother and began work on the Independent Journal.

She quit her job as the IJ news editor to marry fellow newsman Ross Ashley and spent the next 12 years raising their children—his, Ken and Jeff Ashley, hers, Peter Burchard, and theirs, Gilbert, and Guy Ashley.

Ross Ashley died at age 54 of liver cancer.

Mrs. Ashley resumed working at the IJ, this time as Lifestyles editor and began writing her column “Since You Asked”.

She served on the boards of several non-profits, including Whistlestop, the Red Cross, and the Marin Education Fund.

At age 81, she retired, to marry Rowland Fellows, Sr., whom she had known when both were teen-agers at a vacation village on the coast of Maine. They made their home in Greenbrae, but vacationed every summer in Five Islands, Maine.

They continued to travel – to Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Iceland, Greenland, and Ireland. Mrs. Fellows had spent considerable time in over 116 countries. The couple enjoyed the company of friends and extended family -- nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their own children, including Rowland’s two children Rowland Jr. of Sacramento and Ceanne Herndon of Santa Rosa, and Beth’s four sons Kenneth Ashley of Lake County, Peter Burchard of San Rafael, Gilbert Ireland-Ashley of Boulder, Colorado, and Guy Ashley of Berkeley. Beth’s son Jeff Ashley died of a heart attack at age 52.

Beth is also survived by eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren

Memorial services are to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Half of Mrs. Fellows ashes will be buried (eventually with her husband) at the Fellows family plot in Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire. The other half of her ashes will be scattered in the Ocean serving Corte Madera Creek, where she walked with friends every morning for 16 years.

She had worked for the independent Journal for 60 years, beginning as a copy editor, later serving as news editor and Lifestyles editor before graduating to writing feature stories and a personal column, published most recently on alternate Tuesdays.

She worked for a year as an English language editor at China Daily in Beijing, and for three months became an exchange editor at Komsomolskaya Pravda in Moscow. She also served as a “loaner” for six months on USA-Today in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Fellows (who wrote under the byline of Beth Ashley) was a journalism graduate of Stanford University.

She was born on May 21, 1926, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Guy MacVicar, an investment banker, and Marion Whyte MacVicar, whom he married while a student at Harvard. The family lived in various towns in Massachusetts before moving to Hermosa Beach, California, in 1940. The family relocated frequently during Beth’s growing-up years; she remembered entering a new school 17 times. She attended high school in Redondo Beach, California, and Laconia, New Hampshire, before entering Tamalpais High in Mill Valley. Because her family was scattered by World War II, she left high school at the end of her junior year to enter Stanford University, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude at age 20.

In her senior year she was editor of the Stanford Daily.

Her first post-college job was as program director of KTIM. a start-up radio station in Marin County.

In 1949, she moved to Paris and worked for most of a year for UNESCO, then moved to Wiesbaden, Germany, to begin a two-year career as a writer-reporter for a state department news magazine. There, she married American newsman Albert Burchard.

When that marriage failed – after the birth of her first child, Peter Burchard -she lived in Belvedere, California, with her mother and began work on the Independent Journal.

She quit her job as IJ news editor to marry fellow newsman Ross Ashley and spent the next 12 years raising their children—his, Ken and Jeff Ashley, hers, Peter Burchard, and theirs, Gilbert, and Guy Ashley.

Ross Ashley died of liver cancer.

Mrs. Ashley resumed working at the IJ, this time as Lifestyles editor. and began writing her column “Since You Asked”.

She served on the boards of several non-profits, including Whistlestop, the Red Cross, and the Marin Education Fund.

They continued to travel – to Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Iceland, Greenland, and Ireland. Mrs. Fellows had spent considerable time in 116 countries.

The couple enjoyed the company of friends and extended family -nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their own children, including Rowland’s two children Rowland Jr. and Ceanne Herndon of Santa Rosa, and Beth’s four sons Kenneth Ashley of Lake County, Peter Burchard of San Rafael, Gilbert Ireland-Ashley of Boulder, Colorado, and Guy Ashley of Berkeley. Beth’s stepson Jeff Ashley died of a heart attack at age 52.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Beth Ashley Fellows

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Nancy FOLAN

May 9, 2020

Please accept my sympathies on your profound loss. I am someone who always enjoyed Beth’s columns in the IJ. The love of her family always came to life as she wrote about you all. Peace to you!

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