Carmen Marie (Ascuaga) Blackwell finished her long walk in this world and went home to her Father's house on Wednesday, January 23, 2008. She passed peacefully after fighting back ovarian cancer and other health issues for years longer than expected.
Carmen was born August 28, 1918 in Boise, Idaho, the oldest child of Basque immigrants, Jose and Marina Ascuaga. Carmen was always fiercely proud of her Basque heritage, and she passed that pride along to her sons, her grandchildren, and her many great-grandchildren. Her greatest legacy is that she leaves behind a strong, loving, and thriving tribe who knew her well.
Carmen also lived her life as a faithful Catholic, most recently as a regular parishioner at St. Joseph's and later St. James here in Vancouver. She lived her faith as a good friend to all God's creatures, both plant and animal. A lifetime gardener, she made even the parking strip outside her Rosemere apartment a riot of blooms. Her gardens always fed the local birds (and more than a few uninvited squirrels), and she had many well-loved pets _ including many unofficial ones. No stray animal ever left Carmen's door hungry.
And Carmen loved God's human children just as much. Carmen loved square and round dancing with the Happy Rounders and the B & B's, and she served as the unelected mayor of the Vancouver Farmer's Market. She was an outgoing lifetime student of the world who would love to talk to anyone about anything, especially opera, movies and "those Blazers!" Carmen read voraciously, mysteries and historical fiction and National Geographics, and she loved her word search puzzles. All in all, she exercised a lively, curious and often opinionated mind to the very end.
Carmen is preceded in death by brother, Frank of Notus, Idaho. She is survived by sister, Rosie (Kermit) Kadel of Notus, Idaho; brother, John (Rose) of Jack's Valley Ranch, Nevada; sons, Joe (Cindi) Blackwell of Vancouver, Mitch (Margaret) of Atlanta, Georgia; grandsons, Cotten (Victoria) Blackwell of Vancouver, Judd (Teresa) of Portland, Oregon, Gary Blackwell and his fiancée Nora of Portland, Oregon; step-grandsons, Mike (Melissa) Kinnee of Renton, WA, Dan Kinnee of Portland; granddaughters, Genny (David) Arndt of Vancouver, Kristin of Atlanta, Georgia; step-granddaughter, Jennifer Kinnee of Kalama, WA; and great-grandchildren, Maura, Brina, Marianna, Sophia, Nick, Acacia, Calhoun and Carrigan.
"Whether we called you "Carmucho", "Mom", "Ging"
or "Gigi", we'll all miss you very much, sweetie!
Life here will quieter and a lot less colorful without you in it."
A Rosary will be said at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 29, 2008, at the Hamilton-Mylan Funeral Home, 302 W. 11th St. in Vancouver. A funeral Mass for Carmen will be held at 12:10 p.m., Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at St. James Catholic Church, 218 W. 12th St. in Vancouver. Internment will follow at 2:15 p.m. at St. James Acres Catholic Cemetery, 1401 E. 29th St. in Vancouver.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to the Slocum House Theatre, the Ray Hickey Hospice, and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.
Published in The Columbian on Jan. 26, 2008