Gregory Ashworth

Gregory Ashworth

1956 – 2024

Gregory Branham Ashworth (“Greg” or “Greggy”) graduated from this World on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at approximately 8:18 a.m. Greg was at the ICU of Hillcrest- South, Tulsa. Greg succumbed to his old, and frequent, nemesis, aspiration pneumonia. In typical Greg Ashworth fashion, he fought to the bitter end. Alas, he had no more miracle comebacks left.

Greg was born in Tulsa on May 22, 1956. Greg was the oldest of three (3) children of Ray (Ray) and Betty Lou (Betty Lou) Ashworth. The two married on December 23, 1952 and remained husband and wife for 57 years before Ray passed in 2009.

On May 22, 1956, the Ashworth lives were forever changed by the birth of Greg. Greg was born with down syndrome. “Experts” said Greg should be institutionalized. Betty Lou and Ray politely told the “experts”, no.

Ray immediately sold his business and, with no formal training, went to work for the Department of Welfare, now the Department of Human Services (“DHS”). The family maintained the family home in Tulsa and Ray commuted for many years to the State Capitol.

Two years later, son Michael was born. A few years after that, Baby Catherine was born but she passed at an early age from complications of Tay Sachs disease.

Ray commuted twice a week to the State Capitol so Betty Lou, dedicated herself to special schools and programs for Greg. In 1969, the Ashworths attended the first EVER Special Olympics at Soldier’s Field in Chicago. It was a life-changing event. From the few hundred people there, including Greg, as an original team member, Greg was smitten. Greg’s fifty (50) year Special Olympics career grew from that humble beginning. Special Olympics, and the Meadows, became Greg’s life-long extended family. He loved them all.

In 1976, when Michael went to college, the Ashworth(s) moved to Edmond and were a part of creating the Meadows Center for Opportunity, where Greg worked for 38 years, along with his dear friends. EARC, which had been created in 1969, assisted in developing the Meadows in the early 1980s. Eventually EARC served as Greg’s home for the last few years of his life.

Greg medaled over the years at local, state, regional, national and world games. In 1995 Greg was named Special Olympian of the year and received an award from Governor Keating and the Oklahoma Senate. The Honorary Coach of Special Olympics, Barry Switzer, recognized Greg for the award at the 50-yard line of the Lewis Field Stadium (OSU-now Boone Pickens) at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games in 1996.

In 2019, Greg participated in his final games. It was his 50th year of competition. For the first, and only time, he competed in bocce. For the first, and only time, Greg was on a “unified team.” Greg’s partner was brother Mike. Greg carried the day and the team won silver. Then the Pandemic intervened and Greg’s career ended. Shortly after, Greg moved into an EARC group home in Edmond. He was very, very happy there. His Olympic days over, retirement from the Meadows came next roughly in 2021.

Two years later Greg was recognized by the Oklahoma House of Representatives for his outstanding fifty (50) year contributions to Oklahoma Special Olympics. The commendation was unanimous.

Greg is preceded in death by his grand-parents, Joe and Blanche Branham, Aunts Catherine, Margaret and JoEllen, Baby Catherine, and Betty Lou and her loving husband Ray. Greg is survived by his brother, Michael.

Memorials are appreciated with the designees as Special Olympics of Oklahoma, The Meadows in Edmond, or EARC in Edmond.

A service will be held Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 11, at Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond. A brief service will be held in Tulsa on Friday, January 19th, 2024, at 11:30 at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both are subject to weather conditions. Family asks that those attending dress for the season.

Greg led a very happy and fulfilled life. The family thanks all of you for your part in his journey.

5 thoughts on “Gregory Ashworth”

  1. Heaven has received an angel. Rest in peace, Greg.

    Thoughts and prayers for all family and friends, especially Michael.

    1. michael ashworth

      Thank you Conressman. Your visit to Greg and the Meadows was very special. You impacted many woderful, special people. I miss you but I am glad you have found a special calling.

      Bless you,


  2. Marsha and Craig Smith

    Greg began winning early thanks to being surrounded and supported by a loving, devoted family. He had the heart of a champion who graciously shared his victories!

    1. michael ashworth

      Thank you my dear and long time friends. Greg is smiling and his eyes are bright.


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