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Bill Ashley Dies

His career spanned engineering, equipment sales and manufacturing

Former broadcast engineer, hardware salesman and equipment manufacturer Bill Ashley has died. He was 66.

Family members tell Radio World he died peacefully at home early Thursday. He was diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer.

Born in 1942 in Mt. Airy, N.C. — which he reliably reminded friends was the original Mayberry RFD — Ashley is survived by his wife Martha, a son, two daughters, two siblings and other family including several grandchildren.

He told Radio World U.S. Editor in Chief Paul McLane last year that starting out, he worked for and learned from Ralph Epperson. He then was on the air in Atlanta for a time but preferred technical work and went to WDBM in Statesville, N.C. Later he worked for several years for George Beasley; then in 1968 he moved to the Washington area. He took a job at all-news station WAVA and worked for Mutual Radio Network, where he would become manager of field engineering after the network was sold to Westwood One.

In the 1980s he took a sales job with equipment dealer Bradley Broadcast, where Ashley worked for more than 20 years.

During this time he also ran, with his family, a small equipment manufacturing business called Excalibur Electronics, known for its HC-1 Handi-Coupler.

Visitation will take place at the Moser Funeral Home in Warrenton, Va., on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services are set for Monday at 1 p.m. at the Warrenton Church of Christ. His daughter Jenn said the funeral will include time for friends to make comments and share stories.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Warrenton Church of Christ or Hospice of the Rapidan.

Read the 2008 RW column about Bill Ashley’s career here.