This letter is a short tribute to my dear friend, Spokane native Capt. Paul Ashley. Paul passed away on Sept. 6 after a quarter-century battle with heart disease. I met Paul in 1994 in the USAF, and we became lifelong friends. Paul was an outstanding officer, leader, patriot, and the epitome of a father and grandfather. Everything he ever did was first-class, humble, and honorable.
The most important thing I learned from my senior officer was how precious our children and grandchildren are and how it is the highest form of love to place them ahead of ourselves. As an accomplished musician and avid hunter, Paul continued to grow his collection of musical instruments and sports gear. I asked him what on earth he would do with so many, and he would just smile and say that their purpose was not at all for him on earth, but to enjoy from heaven as these prized heirlooms were passed to his precious children and grandchildren.
I’m sure Paul is looking down and smiling. I’m even surer that his children and grandchildren all know the real gift he left for them was not his guitars, but his lesson of love.
David L. Anderson, Major, USAF (Ret.)