Gay Nell McCulloch Ashenhurst was born January 13, 1939, in Lamesa, Texas, and passed away quietly in Wyoming on June 28, 2018. Her parents were John Preston McCulloch, cotton farmer and WWII volunteer sailor and Shirley Alice (Franklin) McCulloch his wife. Out of a historic Texas family, our mom was profoundly shaped by her environment and rearing. She was proud of the fact that Dawson County Texas had the highest volunteer rate of any county in the nation during WW2 and we learned to sing “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” early on in our childhood. When speaking to Mom, especially on the phone, you could always hear a little bit of Texas.
Mom’s family trekked north annually, custom harvesting wheat, and eventually chose a new home, farming and ranching, on Hunton Creek south of Wheatland, Wyoming. Her teenage years were spent developing her characteristic diligence and attention to detail, and she excelled as a student. She would eventually earn honors as her class Salutatorian, 1957 National High School Rodeo Queen, Rhodes scholar and UW President’s Honor Roll. Our mom could have gone many directions in life, and had the skills and determination to do many things, so she accepted a position as the wife of wheat farmer Larry Ashenhurst, and the mother of Lance and Lanell (who were difficult and often incorrigible children) and Thane.
The next 60 years, Mom spent raising the four of us. Gay Nell extended her love to a wonderful daughter-in-law, Keri, and in 1991, changed her name to Granny for her long-awaited three grandchildren, Oliver, Slater, and Chloe. She poured out her love and life for us through her cooking and homemaking, and her consistent correction and teaching. Mom was loved by the farmhands, and they so appreciated her insistence on bringing them into our home and our family. Mom valued excellence and dedication to a fault and was, according to her, and to us as well, the family judge and evaluator of everything from art and décor, to her famous iced tea. One will always picture her holding a “test glass” of her famous iced tea up to the light and then judging it severely for color, strength, and sweetness.
Several people have told us this week that she was the classiest person they ever knew. We do know that our Mom had a characteristic sense of decorum that she tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to pass on to the four of us.
Throughout our lives, we saw a sweet softening in Mom’s nature that has been the direct result of her love and dedication to Jesus and her coming into a deeper knowledge of her own inherent value to God, and to her husband and us kids. She was precious. Mom loved us sweetly and sometimes fiercely, and Dad modeled for us a consistent and determined kind of love for her during their nearly 60 years of marriage that we will never, ever forget.
Gay Nell is survived by her husband Larry, son Lance, her daughter and special friend Lanell, son and daughter-in-law, Thane and Keri, and grandchildren Oliver, Slater and Chloe. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother and brother in the Lord, Clyce (Myrtle) McCulloch of Pearcy, Arkansas. Mom’s funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 6, 2018, at Wheatland Bible Church, Hwy 312 & Palmer Canyon Road, Wheatland, and will be followed by a graveside service.
It’s the hardest thing we have done, saying goodbye to Mom, but we are mindful that there is nothing in this world that cannot be overcome with a glass of sweet iced tea and prayer … just the right color, just the right strength, just the right sweet. Try them and you will see.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to donate to James Robison Mission Feeding.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done. — Proverbs 19:17.