William Wade Ashley, 82, passed away Friday, July 15, at Columbus Regional Healthcare.
He was born Nov. 7, 1939, in Columbus County to the late John Hinton Ashley and Mattie Lou Floyd Ashley.
In his early years, Bill got his start in the electrical field while working with his father in the family business, Ashley Electric, Inc. He graduated from Whiteville High School and went on to receive a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1963. His career with the family business spanned over 60 years. He continued working until the day of his latest illness. His son, John, joined him in 1992 and continues leading the business for the third generation today.
While he was at N.C. State, Bill met his future wife, Geneva. This blind date led to a loving marriage of over 58 years and three children who loved him very much.
Soon after moving back to Whiteville, he became an avid golfer with his friends at Whiteville Country Club. He later found enjoyment playing gin rummy with his Gin Club friends at Lake Waccamaw, where he spent many peaceful afternoons and evenings. Gardening was always a passion of his, and he had an especially big heart for animals. He loved a good joke, never met a stranger and greeted everyone with a smile on his face. Most mornings you could find him at Sue’s Diner enjoying breakfast among friends. Traveling to the North Carolina Mountains and the national parks and watching Fox News and Hallmark movies were some of his favorite pastimes.
Throughout Bill’s life, he was very involved in local organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Masonic Lodge (receiving a 50-year membership pin in 2021) and the Whiteville City Council by serving several terms for the hometown he loved so much. He was a lifelong, faithful member of Whiteville United Methodist Church, where he served on numerous committees and as a Sunday school teacher for many years.
Bill answered to many names throughout his life such as Billy, Uncle Bill, Pops, Papa, Billy Wade, Willy Bill, Little Brother but most importantly, Daddy. Closest to his heart were his family and his church.
His funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, July 22, at Whiteville United Methodist Church with Rev. Terry Hunt officiating. The family will receive friends from 1-2:45 p.m. in the sanctuary prior to the service. Burial will take place in Columbus Memorial Cemetery.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Geneva Barnhill Ashley; his two daughters, Lisa Ashley Harrington (Dan) of Sanford and Kristen Ashley Hooks (Phillip) of Ocean Isle Beach; his son, John Christopher Ashley (Pam) of Whiteville; two sisters, Shirley Ashley Bennett and JoAnn Ashley Cooper, both of Raleigh; four grandchildren, Blake Ashley, Greyanna Ashley, Hallie Harrington and Lacey Harrington; great-grandchildren, Corbin Ashley and Abel Autry; several nieces and nephews; and a brother-in-law, Larry Barnhill (Betty Jo) of Raleigh.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Whiteville United Methodist Church, 902 Pinckney St., Whiteville, N.C. 28472. AMEN.