Family and colleagues said goodbye to Bill Ashley at his funeral service in Warrenton, Va., yesterday.
It was a lovely service; and it was gratifying to see the church packed, both with family members who quite obviously cherished him as a husband, father and grandfather, as well as colleagues who admired Bill's love of the industry even as they shook their heads at his quirky sense of humor.
I wrote in my column about Bill last year at the time of his retirement, and I'm glad I did. Having been diagnosed subsequently with pancreatic cancer, he left us too soon, and I wish he had been able to enjoy his hard-earned retirement years with his family.
Bill would have appreciated the many warm comments we heard from the pulpit yesterday. Joellen Reed, our former colleague at Bradley Broadcast Sales, admonished young people in the congregation to learn from Ashley, who was truly a "gentle man ... and there aren't many of those left." And Bill would certainly have laughed to hear a family member dedicate a song, explaining how the lyrics paralleled Bill's life, and then launch into "Hello muddah, hello faddah. Here I am at Camp Granada."
If you were there or knew Bill, you knew the selection was just right.