It was his heart, the doctors said.
Well, sure, it was his heart. Denny Ashlock had one of the biggest hearts in the county. His generous, tireless devotion to our community, and to causes well beyond it, could only come from a great and loving heart indeed.
How cruel, then, that heart disease took Ashlock from his family and community at age 59, when so many of his dreams were only partially fulfilled, when his talents were yet so strong and so needed. When the many people who admired him had not had an adequate chance to give him all of the thanks and recognition he deserved.
This writer first encountered Denny Ashlock 23 years ago, as a voice on the other end of a telephone call. Hi, the voice said. I’m Denny Ashlock, and I think the Spokane Valley needs …
As the years and conversations went by, the causes backed by that strong, friendly voice on the telephone multiplied and became a vision. A vision for a metropolitan area with a balanced quality of life: clean lakes and rivers, for the eagles that soar near Ashlock’s Liberty Lake home. Recreation facilities like the Centennial Trail, to keep beauty in an area preoccupied with talk of malls and subdivisions. Good-paying jobs, like those at high-tech firms Ashlock helped lure to Liberty Lake. Better government, from fire protection to city-county cooperation. Sewers, to protect our underground drinking water.
For a living, Ashlock sold insurance.
As a volunteer and leader in countless organizations, he helped sell our metropolitan area on many of the most important projects of the past quarter century. The sewers for Liberty Lake, which Ashlock spearheaded the drive for, saved its once-threatened water quality and set the stage for commercial and residential development there. Sewers in the Valley will do the same for a metropolitan area that someday will stretch all the way from here to Coeur d’Alene. The area will be more livable thanks to the Centennial Trail and Ashlock’s most recent project, Mirabeau Point, which eventually will grace the Valley with a YMCA, ice rink, amphitheater, a senior center and more.
Ashlock was a Valley activist who enlisted downtown power brokers in his causes. And why not? Projects good for the Valley are good for the whole community.
All who knew him, and thousands who didn’t, will miss his big, friendly heart, will enjoy the results of his work, will consider him an inspiration.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board