Russell E. Ashley

Published 5:26 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

Russell E. Ashley

Russell E. Ashley was born January 25, 1933, and passed away on Friday, February 24, 2023. He was born to Casper and Gladys (Ostenson) Ashley at his grandmother Ashley’s farm near Six Mile Grove, Lyle, MN. Russell was an only child.

Russell was baptized and confirmed at Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church, Lyle MN. Later he and Helen joined St. Olaf Church in Austin, MN. He helped drive the church bus for “Wee Learners” and made lefse at the church for many years.

Russell attended a one room country school 1st through 8th grade. (He claims that he walked 2 miles, uphill both ways.) He went on to Lyle Public schools but left school in his junior year to help on the farm. He received his G.E.D. at a later date. Russ had a number of part-time jobs including carrying bricks for the addition to the Lyle school. Russell also worked at Marigold Dairy for 38 years, retiring in 1995.

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Russell joined the United States Army the 24th Infantry Division in May 1953, during the Korean War. He did his basic training and advanced individual training in Fort Ord California. After his training, Russell was sent to Korea by boat and by the time it arrived the war had ended. Russell was stationed in Korea until he was honorably discharged in May of 1955, at the rank of corporal. He was a member of the Lyle American Legion and the Austin V.F.W. He was very proud to serve in the color guard for both. He attended many Veteran funerals.

Russell married Donna Anderson in 1957. Together they had four children, Diane, Mark, Jefferey, and Julie. They were divorced in 1969. Russell later met and married Helen Bedford Overocker in 1978.

Russell enjoyed going “Up North” fishing in the Bemidji area on Big Turtle and Black Duck Lake with Helen. They would bring along the kids and grandkids when they were older to enjoy fishing also. Russell loved to feed and watch the birds in his back yard and watching his favorite TV shows, The Andy Griffith Show and Gun Smoke. He was also a very devoted Minnesota Viking Fan. Russell was especially proud of his Norwegian Heritage and his CB handle was “The Lucky Norwegian.”

Russell is survived by his wife, Helen; four children, Diane (Mark) Driessen, Owatonna, MN, Mark Ashley, Austin, MN, Jeffrey Ashley, Austin, MN, Julie (Mark) Kath, Owatonna, MN. He is also survived by three stepchildren, Charlotte Christensen, Kingsland Georgia, Cynthia (Michael) Severson, Albert Lea, MN, Richard (Kathi) Overocker, Blooming Prairie, MN. Also surviving him are 6 grandchildren, 6 step grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, cousins, and friends.

Russell was preceded in death by his parents, Casper and Gladys Ashley; daughter-in-law, Sandy Ashley; stepson-in-law, Richard Christensen; aunts and uncles.

The family would like to thank the staff at St. Mark’s Living and St. Croix Hospice for their kindness and care.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. Visitation will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. Interment will be in Woodbury Cemetery, Lyle, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Blessed be his memory.

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at