Charles “Drew” Ansley
Getting hit blindsided is like falling in a hole you didn’t see in front of you. Lately the ditches have been dug deeper than usual.
I shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore; for the most part I’m not. But yesterday I found out a dear friend had passed away last week on my birthday of all days.
Totally unaware he was sick, it was one of those moments of a “double take.” Surfing a website from where I used to live his photo showed up on what I thought was a huge mistake. Switching back to the Obituary page, there he was. And it was no mistake.
Reading he had died in the hospital after a long illness, I sat still for a moment trying to wrap my brain around what I had just read. Texting my husband and daughter to tell them the news they were as shocked as I was.
64 years old is too young to leave this earth especially when you have lived your life in service for others. Believing he had been so blessed he gave much away.
He told me a little about his life when I first met him in the early 1990’s. He would “bop” into our office and chew gum like it was the greatest invention on earth. Without fail within a few minutes of his arrival, his fun-loving, joke cracking had everyone laughing. Honestly in the beginning I thought,
“This guy can’t be for real.” But he was. All the time. He was one of the funniest human beings I have ever met.
Extremely intelligent, witty, quick-thinking his story began in Brazil where he grew up. The oldest of 5 children, his parents were missionaries. The one area he was serious was this one. He told me how frightened he was every day of his life. At the age of 9, he was not to go anywhere in Brazil without a gun. His father made sure he could protect himself from the killings, hatred and murders he witnessed on a regular basis.
There was a camp of missionary families. His family made it out alive, but many didn’t. The memories became a force he reckoned with. If you thought he was peculiar that is because he was. And a lot of it had to do with the heartache and pain of his childhood.
Privacy became his lifelong friend. Certain conversations brought no responses. If you knew him like I did, you simply respected those topics would never be discussed.
As an adult back in the states, his family moved to the mountains of WNC. For many years he managed a huge plant and did it quite well. Leaving that job he became a Real Estate Agent building his own business. He was known and awarded the Best Real Estate Agent by The Asheville Citizen Times. His small company of a few agents sold properties that placed it in the ranks of a multi-million dollar organization.
He was involved in every community effort there was including President of the local Chamber of Commerce and Town Planning Board.
He was an avid Motorcycle junkie; but rode in pure style with efforts to aid children.
As successful as he was, his most prized accomplishment was the many children he fostered and mentored. As a NC Guardian ad Litem, he took in many abused and abandoned children and raised them as his own.
Charles “Drew” Ansley was a man of many qualities, character traits and a vivid imagination. He was always smiling and happy even as he lived with such a dark side of hidden pain.
But one thing I do know is he was truly a man after God’s own heart; and he lived it.