Louise James Ashley
Mrs. Louise James Ashley, mother of Sun-Reporter Publishing Company Publisher Amelia Ashley-Ward, died August 13, 2010 in South San Francisco, after a lengthy illness. She was 70.
Mrs. Ashley was a woman of substance, integrity and perseverance. Born February 25, 1940, in Magnolia, Mississippi, she was the oldest of three daughters of the late Odie and Lucy James. She graduated from Pike County High School in Magnolia, and later married Amile Ashley and gave birth to three daughters.
The family moved to San Francisco in 1963 where she united with the Ebenezer Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend J.H. Pierce. She later joined the New Providence Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend C.E. Scott and served in the music ministry, the Women’s Auxiliary and the Missionary Society. During failing health, Mrs. Ashley joined Providence Baptist Church with her daughter Amelia, and remained a faithful member until her passing.
She worked for the Department of the Army, Presidio of San Francisco, for close to 30 years and retired in 1993 to help care for her grandchildren.
Mrs. Ashley lived her life with hope and courage, contemplating a life of joy. If tears come, they will be the tears for the loss of a mighty presence in our lives.
She invested in her children and endeavored to imbue them with a sense of honesty and veracity.
Louise Ashley was a peace-loving, genteel woman whose greatest joy was her children and her grandchildren. Her last public appearance was at the Archbishop Riordan High School graduation of her two grandsons, Evan Carlton Ward and Aaron Ashley Criswell. Both are stellar scholar-athletes currently attending one of the nation’s number one producers of major varsity collegiate stars (the renowned Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia).
Mrs. Ashley worked tirelessly to motivate and educate her family. She was not a tailgater, she was always a navigator. The secret of her success as a single mother was the unconditional love of her children. She left no stones unturned to give them the resolve to live a purposeful life. She showed by her example what it means to think big, to dream large and dare to seize life’s enormous opportunities.
Mrs. Ashley was diligent in her duties as a single mother, the quiet force behind three daughters who enjoy the treasures so many take for granted. If a teacher is known by her students a mother is known by her children, because the mother is after all the first and most continual teacher. And so it is that Shunda Ashley Criswell is today a columnist and evangelist and Lytoria Ashley Little is an East Bay Religious leader. Mrs. Ashley’s rewards would also be fulfilled the day she witnessed the rise of her daughter Amelia Ashley-Ward to the remarkable realm of newspaper publishers (one of only a few women newspaper publishers in the United States). It was a pure delight to see the smiling face of Mrs. Ashley on occasions when Amelia would be summoned to step forward and receive one of her many awards from local and national civic organizations and the media.
Mrs. Ashley taught her children and their friends to “Never Give In, and Never Give Up.” She often said, “If I can call one thing a success, it is my children who have a sense of value, caring and giving back to the community.”
She was known for teaching her friends and others how to boost their self confidence, target their goals, and take control of their future. She will be remembered as a generous person with a kind heart. She loved all of her grandchildren and her grandchildren affectionately called her “Nonie.” She was not only a mother but a noble personality in itself. Following a lengthy illness, which she graciously endured to the end, she now joins her parents, Odie and Lucy James and sister Marian in a higher stage of eternal life.
In addition to her three daughters Amelia Ashley-Ward, Shunda Ashley Criswell (Pastor Gerald) and Lytoria Ashley Little, she is survived by four grandchildren: India Marie Little, Shunise Geralynne Criswell, Aaron Ashley Criswell and Evan Carlton Ward; two sisters, Theresa James Buckley and Paulette Lofton; two nieces Keisha Hall and Sydney Lofton and many friends and acquaintances.
Visitation for Mrs. Ashley was held on Sunday, August 22, 2-6 p.m. at Duggan’s Mortuary, 3434 17th Street in San Francisco. Funeral services were held on Monday, August 23, 11 a.m. at Providence Baptist Church, 1601 McKinnon Avenue in San Francisco. Burial followed at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.
–Dr. Julia Hare, a special friend of the family, contributed to this article.