Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday Missing Adams County man is found Lady Hounds fall to Whiteoak in slugfest Calvert’s walk-off gives Hounds 9-8 win over Whiteoak Charles A Benjamin Give My Regards to Broadway Joyce Berry Joe L Easter William E Foster Margaret Belcher John M Cheatham Ronnie Simpson Under new management county hospital is thriving against all odds Historic fairground gazebo demolished One year later, still no arrests in Rhoden family murders There will be trouble in River City! Monna L Fitzgerald Jesse Carrington Janice M Sowards Rhoden family members make plea for tips in Pike Co murders of loved ones Quilting – the art that’s no longer just for Grandma Young is Adams County recipient of Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award Wenstrup recognized as Community Health Advocate Ready, set, go! 25th annual Egg Hunt draws hundreds Applicants needed for Adams County Fair Queen Humane Society encourages responsible animal ownership ACCS holds annual Science Fair Peebles Elementary names March Students of the Month Pierce fires perfect game as Peebles blanks West Union Hunters preparing for 2017 Wild Turkey Season Lady Hounds fall 12-3 at Lynchburg Dragons lose early lead, drop SHAC match up with Fayetteville, 13-6 Senior Profile: Isaiah Anderson Devils roll to big SHAC win at Ripley Despite soggy night, WUHS hosts annual Invitational Meet Celebrities for a night George F Carr Jr Teresa S Hoskins Mary B McClure Richard B Collins Randall D Fetters Former Manchester officer indicted on five counts WUHS student wins state Beta Club Secretary’s seat OVCTC students part of state competition S.R. 73 closed for culvert replacement Peebles Lions Club holds first Easter Egg Hunt Weyrich graduates with honors from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics North Adams Elementary releases Honor Roll for Third grading Period Scholarships available from Jefferson Alumni Olympic athlete speaks at April 6 SAAM event Venture Hawks end their basketball season with a victory at WUHS Devils baseball sweeps doubleheader from Northwest Greyhounds gain SHAC split, split twinbill with East England signs with Rio Grande golf Pierce fans 16, Lady Indians blank Eastern Brown 4-0 Maybe somebody on the river does have a plan Senior Profile: Ryan Dryden Enjoying the view Still a time for celebration Carl R Brown Lena R Staggs Adams County Crews Schedule Culvert Replacement Projects Merlan Shoemaker Dwayne E Thompson Help is on the line! West Union Elementary honors February Students of the Month WUHS hosts 2017 All-County Arts and Music Festival Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak Access Grand Opening set for April 20 Kasich cracks down on opiate-based prescriptions West Union High School students have successful trip to State Beta Convention North Adams Beta Club excels at State Convention ACRMC hosts annual Health Fair Robert H Bushman Senior Profile: Skylar Newman Nine-run inning leads Lady Hounds to run rule win over West Union WUHS foursome breaks school record First county baseball battle goes to the Greyhounds On the road, Lady Indians pick up two more SHAC victories Senior Profile: Christa Williams One more ‘shining moment’ for SHAC seniors at C103 All-Star Game Esie M Chandler Phyllis Adkins Former Manchester police deputy faces Grand Jury Indictments Cornell tosses no-hitter, Fenton goes deep, Dragons open season with 11-0 SHAC win over Whiteoak New Verizon store opening in West Union Stephen R Palmer Dual culvert replacements for SR 73 Deana P Grooms Tim Phipps Marcella Walker Alvin R Mitchum Senior Profile: Chase Darnell SHAC hoopsters shine at District 14 All-Star Game Greyhounds run rule St. Pat, 15-0 Indians drop SHAC opener West Union hosts early JH Track Meet North Adams student wins state Beta Club President’s seat Anna B Copas Charles A Nelson

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved