- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 25, 2005

CENTREVILLE, Md. — John Malcolm Ashley Jr., a former Queen Anne’s County commissioner and Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates, has died. He was 77.

Mr. Ashley died Dec. 19 of lung and heart disease.

Mr. Ashley wanted to spend his last days at home on the Eastern Shore, not in a hospital bed. As he was being transported by ambulance from Washington Hospital Center to Centreville, he died on the Eastern Shore side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. His two sons were with him.

Mr. Ashley was born in Easton and grew up helping his father with the family’s propane business, Ashley Gas Co.

“You knew where Jack stood, and Jack was a very hard worker his entire life,” said Chuck Powers, director of the Queen Anne’s County Free Library and a longtime political supporter.

Mr. Ashley graduated from Centreville High School in 1947 and continued to work for the propane business.

He also served nine years in the 29th Infantry Division of the Maryland National Guard, leaving with a rank of sergeant first class, according to his son, John M. Ashley III of Centreville.

In 1970, he ran for county commissioner and served two terms before winning a seat in the House of Delegates, where he was appointed to the Appropriations Committee.

His son said his father never took campaign contributions and paid for his own campaigns.

“He didn’t want to owe anybody anything,” the younger Mr. Ashley said. “He didn’t want to owe any favors to anyone.”

Funeral services were held Friday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville.

Survivors include another son, Philip Anthony Ashley of Centreville; a sister, Mary A. Long of Centreville; a brother, Sydney G. Ashley of Centreville; four stepchildren, Patricia Bittner, Sally Parks and Thomas Callahan, all of Centreville, and David Callahan of Easton; and two grandchildren.

Mr. Ashley was predeceased by his wives, Frances Anthony Ashley, who also served as a Queen Anne’s County commissioner, and Mary Flynn Ashley.

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