Support continues in memory of Ashlee Lindquist, co-founder with her husband Rich of North Beach Medical Equipment, the local non-profit that has helped thousands in the area with free medical equipment and supplies.
Ashlee suffered a fatal stroke on Saturday, Jan. 19. She was 47.
Her passing prompted an outpouring of sympathy and support from the community she called home since 2010. Piper Leslie, executive director of the Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce, launched a fundraiser on Facebook that has received well over 100 donations and raised more than $5,500.
Leslie said when she heard the sad news, “I knew immediately that we needed to do something, especially with all they’ve done for the community. My heart broke for them and for the community. It’s important to let them know that we’re here to support them, especially in the darkest times.”
She added, “I was incredibly blown away and humbled by this community’s support. It’s clear the community felt the same way as I did,” as evidenced by “the volume and amount of donations that came in.”
Rich said there will be a celebration of life event for Ashlee, probably this summer. He noted that his wife of 23 years loved the people of Ocean Shores and the North Beach, and he is considering the possibility of a community picnic.
In the meantime, he will continue to operate North Beach Medical Equipment at 899 Point Brown Ave NW in Ocean Shores.
In an interview and by email follow-up, Rich related some of the details of Ashlee’s life.
She was born on October 7, 1971 in Sacramento, CA. When she was three years old, her father, a former US Navy pilot, became disabled, instilling in her a compassionate heart and a desire to help people with disabilities.
At age 10, she survived a malignant brain tumor, which was successfully removed, but the follow-up radiation treatments rendered her legally blind.
On January 3, 1995, she met Rich on a blind date. Ironically, he found love at first sight, and proposed just a few weeks later, on Valentine’s Day, when “I wrote a love poem to her, and I couldn’t end it any other way” except with a proposal. Later, Rich, Ashlee, and their daughter Hannah spent a year and a half traveling around eight western states in an old travel trailer, just volunteering and helping people wherever they could. Toward the end of September 2010, they arrived in Ocean Shores. On Dec. 28 that year, nine-year-old Hannah died of a brain aneurysm.
The Lindquists started what became North Beach Medical Equipment in February, 2013. In that effort, “she was my helper in every way you can imagine,” Rich said. By the end of 2018, they had recorded 7,160 client services, all of them giving people medical equipment and supplies at no cost.
He said NBME will definitely continue, and that he has been buoyed by the outpouring of support. “I’m living on heart,” he said, calling the hundred-plus donations lovely.
“Really,” he concluded, “all I need is hugs.”
Survivors include Ashlee and Rich’s adult daughter, Jennifer Whidden, lives in Ocean Shores with her husband, Harrison, and two sons, Declan and Finnley. Ashlee’s mother, Rusty Bond, and her brother, Michael Bond, live in Dayton, WA. She was preceded in death by her sister, Dana, brother, Erik, daughter, Hannah, and father, Bob.