April Allen Ashpes, 80, of Greenbelt, Maryland, passed away suddenly but peacefully at home on Friday, September 29, 2023.
April was born on January 11, 1943 in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The youngest child of Frederick Chase and Ruth Pearson Allen, April’s brothers were 10 and 12 when she was born. Much of her childhood was spent in Massachusetts – first in North Adams, then the family moved to Westfield when April was in high school.
April graduated from Drury High School in 1961 and went on to study political science at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, with semesters at the United Nations, as well as in London and Washington, D.C.
After graduating college in 1965, April moved to New York City and worked as a tax auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, Office of International Operations. She transferred to the Washington, D.C. office in 1971 and there met her husband, Kermit Ashpes, who was also an IRS agent in the OIO. April and Kermit married in 1973 and had two daughters, Alison and Deborah (Debbie). The family moved to 100th Avenue in Seabrook, Maryland in 1977. April and Kermit were married for 25 years until Kermit’s death in 1998. April continued living in Seabrook until 2017, when she moved to a rowhouse in the historic center of Greenbelt, Maryland.
While her children were young, April was an active volunteer and substitute teacher at her daughters’ elementary schools (Gaywood and Glenarden Woods), serving on the PTA board, and co-producing a newsletter for parents of students in the Talented and Gifted program in Prince George’s County. She also worked as the bookkeeper for a local lawyer before earning her teaching certificate from Bowie State University.
April’s first teaching position was in 1989, teaching social studies at Andrew Jackson Middle School. She later taught history and civics in the Humanities and International Studies magnet program at Central High School and eventually honors history and government at Parkdale High School. When she retired from full-time teaching in 2005, she continued to substitute teach for several more years at Parkdale.
April’s PolySci degree became a thread through her life, she remained involved in local and national politics, vehemently passionate about many causes, especially those related to education, the environment, and human rights. She loved being outdoors and felt most at peace with her hands in the soil, whether it was growing tomatoes or just pulling weeds. She was an adept sewist, creating her own work wardrobe in the ‘60s, home décor in the ‘70s, and her daughters’ Halloween costumes and Easter, prom, and graduation dresses in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
She loved dancing and live music, and she was an avid baseball fan (go Nats!). April was a world traveler, visiting many, many countries from college until just recently. A lover of animals, she befriended every dog in the neighborhood as well as every squirrel, skink, and spider.
April treasured her friends, and up until her passing maintained friendships with people from her communities past and present: her childhood hometowns of North Adams and Westfield; Drew University; her IRS days; her PTA days; her teaching days; classes she took; churches she attended; and her adult hometowns of Seabrook and Greenbelt.
April is survived by her daughters, Alison Ashpes Gary and Deborah Faye Ashpes, her son-in-law, Karl Norman Gary (whom she loved and cherished as her own son), her granddaughter, Emerson Elaine Gary, and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents, Frederick Chase and Ruth Pearson Allen, her brothers, Frederick Chase Allen, Jr. and Charles Edward Allen, and her husband, Kermit Harold Ashpes.
A memorial service will be held at Beall Funeral Home in Bowie, MD, on Saturday, October 28th from 3-5pm, with remarks at 4pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Everytown For Gun Safety or Planned Parenthood, three organizations and causes that meant so much to April. We also know she would like us to remind you to vote in each and every election.