John Leslie Ashley went home to the Lord peacefully on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, surrounded by loving family and friends. Those who knew him were recipients of his extraordinary selflessness. He was quick to greet everyone with kindness and generosity.
John was born in the town of Tullahoma, Tennessee, to Movie and Nettie Ashley (Dodson) on Feb. 4, 1954, but he spent his childhood in the Lynchburg area. He graduated from Moore County High School in 1972 and three days later left for United States Navy (USN) basic training in Orlando, Florida. He found his ticket to see the world as a seaman and completed many trips to exotic and faraway places aboard several USN ships. In 1976, he met the love of his life Kathy Bredeson while stationed in Seattle and they were married in 1977. The young couple spent the next 16 years moving from coast to coast as John was completing his career and going where Uncle Sam needed him. After his retirement from the Navy in 1992, they moved their young family to Adna, Washington. There they settled in for the next phase of life. John spent the next 26 years working in the maritime industry. He traveled the world extensively. The only continent he didn’t see was Antarctica. He worked on many different types of vessels including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research ships, dredges, cargo ships and cruise liners. He retired as a chief engineer on board tugboats and barges for Crowley Maritime. Retirement brought the opportunity to travel for enjoyment. John and Kathy spent many happy days on the go. They enjoyed river cruises in Europe, excursions across the U.S. in various RVs and following the grandkids around to attend their sporting events. They spent the last three winters having fun at their home in Sun Lakes, Arizona. He enjoyed the sunshine, learning to golf and visiting with the many friends they have there.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Darrel Ashley, half brother Ray Thompson and mother and father in-law Joy and Gordon Bredeson. He is survived by his wife Kathy, son Ryan (Becky), daughter Stephanie Maffeo (Alex) and grandchildren Preston Ashley, Lucas Ashley, Kaylee Ashley, Teagan Maffeo and Adalynn Maffeo. He is also survived by his sister Beverly Mitchell (Tullahoma, Tennessee), sister-in-law Patsy Ashley (Woodbury, Tennessee), and sister-in-law Kyla Heintz (Raymond, Washington), along with several nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or the Disabled American Veterans Association in his memory.
Visitation at Sticklin Funeral Chapel was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 8, followed by graveside services at Claquato Historic Cemetery. Reception will be afterwards at Lintott-Alexander Park in Chehalis, Washington.