Mary Johnson Ashley, 69, of Murphy, passed away Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at her residence.
She was a devoted mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and educator.
She retired from Cherokee County Schools in 2008 after 35 years of service educating children, promoting Battle of the Books, and fighting for teacher’s rights.
In retirement, she enjoyed traveling with her dear friend, Beth Stiles, from north to Alaska, south to Key West, east to New York City and west to Hawaii. She delighted in the exploits of her grandchildren and was very proud of their accomplishments, from Emilia’s gymnastics’ medals, both girls’ dance recitals, Riley’s swim meet, Josh’s band concerts and so many ball games.
As a single mother, she was determined her kids wouldn’t be a statistic, and was proud to see them each finish college.
She was a devoted Christian and served faithfully as a member in more churches than most will ever attend. She was currently an active member at Murphy First Baptist for the last 30 years and devoted numerous hours to the WMU, Shoe Boxes, children’s ministry and the church library.
She was active in many civic groups including Delta Kappa Gamma and Eastern Star.
She was the daughter of the late Forest Bernard and Alice Evangeline Shields Johnson. She also was preceded in death by a brother, Alan Johnson.
Surviving are a daughter, Stephanie Ashley of Hickory; a son, Phillip Ashley and wife LeAnn of Harrisburg; two sisters, Phyllis Bradford of Gainesville, Ga., and Pamela DeDea and husband Steve of St. Petersburg, Fla.; a brother, Forest B. Johnson II and wife Elizabeth of Murphy; three grandchildren, Emilia Ashley, and Josh and Riley Ashley; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Murphy First Baptist Church with the Rev. Jimmy Tanner officiating. The interment will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Colby Stanton, Jeremy Thompson, Matthew Johnson, Josh Ashley, Jacob Bradford and Reid Johnson. Honorary pallbearers will be Forest Johnson II, Forest Johnson III, Andrew Bradford, Eric Bradford and Blake Stooksbury.
The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at Ivie Funeral Home, Murphy, where the body will be until placed in the church 30 minutes prior to the services.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in memory of Mary Johnson Ashley to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering through Murphy First Baptist Church, 517 Hiwassee St., Murphy, NC 28906.
Ivie Funeral Home, Murphy, is in charge of all arrangements.
An online guest register is available at www.iviefuneralhomeinc.com.