Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Local physician’s death stuns community

The Adams County community is mourning the loss of Dr. Bruce Ashley, who suddenly passed away last week at the age of 69.
The Adams County community is mourning the loss of Dr. Bruce Ashley, who suddenly passed away last week at the age of 69.

Dr. Ashley’s work touched the lives of thousands

Country doctors have always been beloved figures. Practicing medicine from small offices in small towns, they are healers, neighbors, confidants, and friends to their many patients.

So, what kind of person does it take to be a country doctor? Many would say it takes a person like Dr. Bruce Ashley, whose passing last week at the age of 69 stunned local residents and those in the medical community who worked with the him over the past four decades. He was not only a “country doctor”, but also a traveler, sailor, runner, pilot, horseman, hunter, mountain man, poet, musician, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, friend, and according to his beloved wife, Sharon, a common man and an every day hero to her and so many others.

When Dr. Ashley arrived in Adams County 40 years ago from his hometown of Louisville, Ky., he was a young man, dedicated to his work, and devoted to his patients. “He fell in love with Adams County,” said Sharon, his wife of 37 years. “His dream was to serve a community that was in a very rural area that really had a need for a family practice doctor.”

He began his career in Adams County at the ABCAP Clinic at Panhandle before moving on to the Celebration of Health Clinic in Peebles. He served as the Adams County Health Commissioner, worked in the emergency departments at Portsmouth and Adams County Hospitals before becoming a full-time ER physician and Director at the Adams County Regional Medical Center.

Ashley married a local girl, Sharon Copas McCarty in 1979 and they settled on a farm near Blue Creek where they raised their four children Jason, Noah, Jade and RoShanda.

Sharon said her that Ashley loved the outdoors. “His parents were into scouting, and Bruce achieved Eagle Scout status, he had a real love for backpacking, canoeing, and camping, and a great respect for all nature’s creatures.”

His love for the outdoors led to his becoming a member of the American Mountain Men (AMM) with whom he camped and rode horses in pre-1840’s gear and dress. He also hosted an annual winter camp on his farm for the Ohio Brigade of the AMM.

Debbie Louderback Ryan who worked with Ashley for several years said, “He made a deep impression on so many people. His passion for healing was unsurpassed, he has left us with a beautiful legacy.”

Through his family practice and in his role as Director and physician for the ACRMC Emergency Department, Dr. Ashley touched the lives of thousands of people. The flag at ACRMC was lowered to half mast in his honor last week, and a hospital spokesperson said, “The medical center and everyone in our service area will feel the effects of this loss. On behalf of our employee staff who worked with him daily, the Medical Staff members who relied on his leadership, and the Board of Trustees who sought his wisdom, we all extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family.”

Roland D. Gee, Chief Executive Officer of ACRMC said of Ashley, “Bruce was a very special person in my life as he was the first physician I met when I arrived at ACRMC. He was all of those things I had always looked for in a physician. He was kind, considerate of others and compassionate in his professional care. Never did I hear anyone say anything negative about him. He was the pillar that everyone at ACRMC depended on. His absence will affect everyone that he worked with.”

Gee said that he and Ashley had become good friends. “Our relationship was much more than just physician and hospital administrator. We talked often about fishing, snakes, guns, our families and much more. He was very knowledgeable about so many things and could always keep my attention with his professional accomplishments and stories about what he had done in his life. Personally his absence in my work at the Medical Center will be changed significantly as he was the one physician I could turn to for guidance and advice. He was a true gentleman.”

Tammy Akers at ACRMC worked with Dr. Ashley in the ER.  “Every morning as I pulled in to the parking lot and saw Dr. Ashley’s vehicle I knew it was going to be an interesting day,” Akers said. “He would always great me with a ‘good morning’ and a story about an interesting case or patient he cared for in the past, or it might be one of the many ‘close calls’ he had with a cow, snake, or on a hiking trip. I never knew what topic we would talk about, I just always looked forward to it.”

Dr. Ashley had planned to retire in 2017. A statement released by the hospital expressed regret that the opportunity to formally thank him for his years of service was lost. “Our ability to properly acknowledge and thank him for his life-long service is no longer possible, but the memories we all have will continue to be felt among his friends and colleagues in the halls and in every department at the Adams County Regional Medical Center.”

“We were planning to travel and spend quality time with our children after Bruce retired,” Sharon Ashley said. “This has been such a devastating shock for all of us, but Bruce always said he didn’t want a long drawn-out death like his father who died at 50 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He said ‘I want to go quickly and I’m hoping that’s how God takes me,’ and that’s exactly what happened,” she said, adding “We just didn’t plan on it happening so soon, Bruce enjoyed living and he lived life to the fullest.”

One comment:

  1. Saturday I was about to take a picture of a snake to bring in to work to ask Dr. Ashley about it…..then remembered
    I had promised fellow employees some Rose of Sharon starts and one of them was Dr. Ashley….
    I had loaned Dr. Ashley a book about a lady who road her horse across country in the 1950’s and wanted to ask how he was enjoying it…..
    I needed to ask Dr. Ashley how to read a compass since my horseback riding partner was never able to retain his lessons and we are notorious for getting lost………
    I always looked forward to the stories about things going on that “Sharon doesn’t know about that”……
    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”….Now that Dr. Ashley has joined that cloud of witnesses, let us all continue to live life to the fullest, running our race with patience as he would have us do. He will always live on in our hearts. May we continue to provide the type of care and concern for others in the example he left us. God bless you Sharon and family.

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