First Posted: 9/12/2009
WARRENTON, Va. William Bill Calvin Ashley, 66, died of pancreatic cancer on May 7, 2009, at his home in Warrenton, with his family by his side. He was born on Oct. 19, 1942, in Mount Airy, the son of the late Richard Thatcher and Ruth Collins Ashley. He is survived by his loving wife of over 45 years, Martha Gantt Ashley. He is also survived by his son, Rick Ashley and his wife Angie of Warrenton; his daughter, Elizabeth Kutz and her husband Timothy of Haymarket; his daughter, Jennifer Durand and her husband Jason of Broad Run; and five grandchildren, Tim, Cat, and James Kutz and Calvin and Caity Ashley. He is also survived by his sister, Carolyn Battista of Waterford, Conn., and his brother, Bob Ashley of Durham, N.C. Bill was a former broadcast engineer, radio station designer, hardware salesman and equipment manufacturer. While still in high school in Mount Airy, he began working for WPAQ under the tutelage of Ralph Epperson, whom he always respected as a superb mentor. He was then on the air in Atlanta for a time, but preferred technical work and went to work at WDBM in Statesville, N.C. In 1968, he moved to the Washington area. He took a job at all-news station WAVA where he worked for 16 years before going to work for Mutual Radio Network, where he would become manager of field engineering after the network was sold to Westwood One. In 1987, he took a sales job with equipment dealer Bradley Broadcast, where he worked for more than 20 years, retiring on Feb. 29, 2008. During this time, starting in 1976, he also founded and ran a business called Excalibur Electronics, designing and manufacturing broadcast equipment. The most popular product was the HC-1 Handi-Coupler, which was purchased by a wide variety of clients, including the White House. Bill was known for his wit and outgoing personality, always with a pun and a smile at the ready. He never met a stranger and truly enjoyed talking with people. He served as a church deacon for more than 30 years and was constantly willing to help others however he could. He enjoyed hiking, biking, photography, reading and spending as much time with his family as possible. He will be missed beyond measure by all those who knew and loved him. Services were held Monday, May 11, 2009, at the Warrenton Church of Christ, with Bob Kolodner officiating. Internment followed at Bright View Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Warrenton Church of Christ, 6398 Lee Highway Access Road, Warrenton, VA 20187; or to Hospice of the Rapidan, P.O. Box 1715, Culpeper, VA 22701.