Ronald Earl ‘Ron’ Ashley, 71, grill master who cherished dinners with family

Ronald Earl ‘Ron’ Ashley

LELAND — Ronald Earl “Ron” Ashley, 71, passed away peacefully Saturday, July 3, 2021, at the Lower Cape Fear Lifecare Center in Wilmington. Ron, as he was known by friends, or “Ronnie,” as he was known by family, was born Sept. 11, 1949, in Greenville, South Carolina.

He was preceded in death by his father, Earl Dendy Ashley; and mother, Doris Moon Ashley, both of whom are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Dendy earned a purple heart for his service in World War II. Ron was also preceded in death by two sisters, Anne Ashley Trudell and Lynn Ashley Duncan.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sue Gosnell Ashley; two daughters, Jennifer Ashley Hurt (Mike) and Elizabeth Ashley Lumpkin (Bryan); six grandchildren, Brandon Hurt, Lauren Hurt, Ryan Hurt, Zach Lumpkin, Olivia Lumpkin and Charlotte Lumpkin; and brother, Sam Ashley.

Ron served as an air cargo specialist in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from January 1969 to January 1975. The majority of his work career centered around commercial apparel sales. He retired in 2013 from a management position with a locally owned uniform company where he worked with national grocery store chains. You probably would have seen some of his work at Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Shoppers’ Warehouse and the like. He loved helping people learn what they needed even before they knew it. He always wanted to look his best. The day he went into the hospital the last time, he needed to be sure his shirt matched his shorts.

He loved everything about family, and especially making meals for them. He was the grill master who always wanted to hear how much they loved his cooking. He also enjoyed a great round of golf, especially if it was followed by his favorite cocktail! He always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with a welcoming handshake or a hug. His love of life kept him going throughout the past 3 years as he struggled first with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and then a massive heart attack in 2019. After being saved by CPR by two local heroes at a car repair shop, we had two more years with him as he continued to fight his MDS, which finally came to be more than his body could handle.

There will be an intimate family celebration of his life at his favorite time of the year, Thanksgiving, at his favorite place, Outer Banks of North Carolina, where his ashes will be spread. There will also be an informal celebration of life held in Leland in the very near future. Details will follow.

The family has asked that any memorials be made in the form of blood donations (which became his life source) and in taking a CPR course (which saved his life two years ago).

Share online condolences with the family at Atlantic Cremation Service.

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