The Reverend Monroe “Monk” Maston Ashley Sr. of Brevard, NC, passed away on 2/12/2021 at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC after declining health. He had turned 85 years old just four days earlier. Monroe was raised in Greenville, SC and attended the University of South Carolina before completing his bachelor’s degree at Furman University. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.
Monroe is survived by his beloved wife, Roberta, to whom he was married for sixty-two years, and a brother, Bernum (Jean) Ashley. He is also survived by three children, Matt Ashley (Ann), John Eric Ashley (Justin), and Alison Ashley Dannert (John), one granddaughter and four great grandsons.
Monroe always enjoyed camp, conference center, college, and church work and didn’t mind trying a new place and a new challenge. He began his career as a pastor in a small church in Wake Forest. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the position as Chaplain at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After serving five years at the college, he was then hired as a consultant with the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, TN. At that time Camp Ridgecrest (CR) was also operated by the Sunday School Board and eventually they offered him a new job. With earlier experiences and a lifetime love for summer camps the family returned to North Carolina to Camp Ridgecrest for Boys where he would serve as Camp Director for the next five years. Encouraged by his time at CR, he then attempted to start his own summer camp in Bearwallow. Ultimately, this was not to be, so he took a job with the nearby Kanuga Conference Center. A couple of years into this, he learned that the Montreat Conference Center was seeking an executive director. He applied, accepted their offer, and then served there for four years. Discerning a longing to return to the college campus, Monroe and family relocated to Gaffney, SC, where he was Campus Minister at both Limestone and Gardner-Webb College. He finished his regular working career as Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Gaffney before retiring with Roberta to Brevard, NC where she had grown up. For several years thereafter he continued to teach English at Blue Ridge Community College and served as interim Chaplain at Mars Hill College.
Monroe and Roberta are both members of First United Methodist Church of Brevard. A private memorial service for the celebration of his life will be attended by family.
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