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Longtime public servant Bob Ashley has died

Longtime public servant and legislator Bob Ashley has died, state officials said today.

Bob Ashley

Most recently, Ashley had been a part-time regional representative for Gov. Jim Justice’s administration. Before that, he had been the administration’s legislative director.

“Bob never met a stranger and was an amazing person. He served this State for decades as a delegate, a senator, and as my legislative director and a regional representative. I know that our friends in the House and Senate would agree he had a unique ability to connect with everyone. I never saw Bob without a smile, as he had an unmatched love for life and his work. He was someone you could always rely on, and we will remember Bob with nothing but fond memories,” Gov. Jim Justice said.

“We ask all West Virginians to keep his family in your prayers.”

Ashley was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1984 and went on to serve as Republican Leader in the 72nd and 73rd Legislatures. He was appointed to the state Senate in 2015. He was a Delegate-at-Large to Republican National Convention 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012.

In the Senate, Ashley was defeated in the 2016 general election by fellow incumbent Republican Donna Boley. Ashley had been appointed to a Senate seat in 2015 by Governor Tomblin to replace departing Sen. David Nohe. Instead of filing to run for that seat, Ashley filed to run against the seat held by Boley.

“I was shocked to learn of the passing of our former colleague and dear friend, Bob Ashley,” said Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley.

“Bob’s long and dedicated service to Roane County and the state of West Virginia is a testament to the love he had for this state and its people. That love, of course, was secondary to the love he had for his wife, sons, and grandchildren. On behalf of the Senate, we extend our deepest condolences to Bob’s family, and we will keep them in our prayers as they come together to remember this life well lived.”

Ashley was the owner of Ashley Insurance Agency. He is a graduate of Marshall University.  He is also a member of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and served more than 20 years on the Board of Directors for Roane General Hospital. He is a member of the Spencer, WV Rotary Club and the former president of the Allohak Boy Scout Council.

His wife, Anita, is a circuit judge in the area that includes Calhoun, Jackson, Mason and Roane counties.

Their son, Ben Ashley, served as director of architectural services for the School Building Authority. He now works for ZMM, an architecture firm, and he and his wife Suzette run the Ashley Insurance business in Spencer. Another son, Sam, is a petroleum engineer.

“Bob was the kind of public servant we unfortunately don’t see enough of these days: the person who runs for public office to serve the greater good. He came from a family of service, and we all should be grateful he and Anita nurtured an even further generation of service,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay.

“Bob represented my district when I was growing up, and he’s who first asked me to consider running for office, serving as the model legislator. He showed how to keep your family first. He led what was then the Minority party with a decorum that can be tough to muster when you’re always on the losing side of what you believe is right. And he demonstrated congeniality when he returned some years later as Republicans were in the Majority.”

He continued, “Maya Angelou said people forget what you say and what you do, but they never forget how you made them feel, and that’s evident with Bob Ashley. He’s leaving us much too early, but if you ever had the pleasure of interacting with Bob, you know that every interaction with him was in fact a pleasure, and always with a smile. He will be sorely missed.”

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