James Raymond Ashley, a lifelong resident of Hixson and former pastor of several local Methodist churches, died Wednesday morning, June 16, 2010, at his residence. He was 83.
During the mid-1950s, Mr. Ashley was the pastor of Sale Creek Methodist Church and Spivey and Providence Methodist churches in Rhea County. He pastored the three churches at the same time while living in Highland Park in Chattanooga. Also at the same time, he worked at the DuPont Co. in Hixson and built his first home on Crescent Club Drive. During his career at DuPont, he became an instrument supervisor and was an instrument designer at the time of his retirement.
Mr. Ashley also served as pastor of Middle Valley Methodist Church and Pilgrim Congregational Church in Daisy for several years.
He authored one book, "The Master Chef," which examines the relationship between religion and science: "Did the Master Chef tell the earth to bring forth all the varieties and species and geneses of the world which number in the millions like a magician with a wand, or did he order the earth to use DNA, which we now know was created as part of the earth to produce the first of every kind?"
He served at the end of World War II in the United States Navy as a Seaplane radioman.
Mr. Ashley was preceded in death by his wife, Christine, who died five years ago on Mother's Day; a granddaughter, Emily Barger, the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Champion for the state of Tennessee; his mother, Edith Ashley, who was the chief cook for many years at the old Hixson Hospital; his father, Albert Ashley; and a brother, Ed Ashley.
Survivors include his son, Jim Ashley (former church news editor of the Chattanooga Free Press and one of the founders of Chattanoogan.com) and his wife, Kay; two daughters, Wanda Barger and her husband, Ben, both of Madisonville, and Susan Day and her husband, Ronnie, with whom Mr. Ashley lived at their residence on the Big Ridge in Hixson; two brothers, Floyd and Wayne Ashley, both of Chattanooga; grandchildren, Shane Ashley (Holly) of Chattanooga, Brian Barger (Misty) of Knoxville, Matt Barger (Jennifer) of Madisonville and Kristi Day of Hixson; great-grandchildren, Megan and Blair Barger, both of Knoxville, Catherine Pearl Barger of Madisonville, Ian Hunter Von Loh of Hixson and Isabella Ashley of Chattanooga.
Funeral services will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, June 19, 2010, at the North Chapel with Rev. Henry Groseclose officiating.
Entombment will follow at Hamilton Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends for visitation from 4 to 8 PM today, Friday, June 18, 2010, at the North chapel.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.mem.com
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the following East Tennessee Foundation in care of Butterfly Fund. Org, 625 Market St. #1400, Knoxville, TN 3790-2219.
Arrangements by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, 5401 Hwy 153, Hixson, TN 37343.