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Saturday, March 31, 2018




I am part of a social group of foreign nationals living in and around Pedralba, a pueblo in the Campo north-west of LLiria, Valencia, Spain. We are a group that is always keen to integrate within the Spanish community, and to a large degree we have achieved that, as evidenced by the many Spanish nationals who are impacted as well.

We are all living in the third stage of our lives that is made all the more pleasant in that we get to enjoy the sunshine and the life that is available to us in this part of Spain. However, we are perfectly aware that from time to time we have to draw strength to say goodbye when it is time for one of us to pass. We are now having to draw deep to pay our respect and to express our love for a stalwart who has added so much to our daily lives.

Ken Ashley, a retired fireman, after spending a life in service to others has continued to do that while in retirement. Our Ken was a big man, both in stature and in personality. He lived a responsible life and he was generally thought of as the go-to guy when something needed to get done.

He was possessed of a pleasing singing voice, and together with his guitar he was always there when we needed cheering up. One of the contributions the English language group made to the pueblo was to stage two concerts a year; one at Christmas and one during the summer. The choir was originally led by Nigel, our president at the time and when it became necessary for him to step down Ken took up the baton and did a splendid job.

He could often be seen going walkabout with his friend, Megan, a truly outstanding dog, while wearing his trademark extra large cowboy hat. He was the very image of health and strength and the one person we thought would live forever. However, on Thursday, 29th March he arose from bed and commented to his wife, Heather that he really didn’t feel all that well, and with one gasp he fell down between the bed and the wall, and he was gone.

I like to think that Ken had things to do, people to see, places to go in his next life. I am a staunch believer that what we call death is not the end, but rather simply the moment when we discard our existing body that no longer works as well as it did to exchange it for another new body to start the process all over again. He will think it’s all new, just as he has done every time before when he has lived and “died.” That is possible because our bodies do not have a soul, but rather it is our soul that has a body.

So, Ken, I thank you for everything you did to contribute to my life, and that was much, and I join with everybody else in our group in saluting you for being the wonderful key figure you have been. I have only ever known you to be pleasant and courteous, and I carry with me your mantra: “Hey man, what’s your plan?”

People may ask me how many years did you spend among us in total and I would have to say I have no idea of what your age might have been. My impression is that you were, and will be, “Forever Young!”

KEN ASHLEY, we shall never forget you!

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

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