James Edward Ashmore

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

James Edward Ashmore (Jim or “Bud”), 84, of Springfield, Mo., passed away at 6:30 a.m. July 26, 2019. Jim was born in Mississippi County, Arkansas, to Edward Lewis Ashmore and Ruth Mae Priest Ashmore on March 29, 1935. He passed peacefully after years of persevering through the challenges of life post brain aneurysm. Jim graduated Armorel High School in 1953 and the University of Mississippi with B.A. in 1957 and a Master’s in Education in 1960. His wife, Mary Jo Skaggs, spotted him on a volleyball court in Union, Mo., determined he would be hers, and they married on Christmas Eve 1959. The adopted their only child, Sheri Ashmore Austin, in the fall of 1969 and the three lived in the western suburbs of St. Louis, in Chadwick Estates, where Jim was fastidious in mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges. 

Jim valued education. He was the kind of person that read every issue of National Geographic from cover to cover, studying the fold-out maps intently, then carefully filing the issues for his daughter’s reference. His first teaching job was in Biloxi, Miss., at the Gulf Coast Military Academy. In the fall of 1958, he began seven years of service to the Union, Missouri School District, teaching history and serving as counselor and interim principal. Between 1965 and 1991, Jim served as Dean of Admissions and Records for the Meramec Community College in Kirkwood, Mo. He loved his Meramec community and was known across campus as the practical joker. Jim enjoyed helping students from every walk of life find freedom through accessible higher education.

Jim wore his Rebel heritage well, usually choosing to zig when others were zagging. Because his friends on the banks of the Mississippi River chose to be St. Louis Cardinals fans, Jim rooted for the (Brooklyn) Dodgers. He loved a hearty debate. At high school reunions, and family dinner tables, Jim would take the side opposite popular opinion. His friends would say, “Jim helps us learn all sides of any issue.” He was concerned with social justice and unimpressed with worldly gains. He had a great respect for his simple farming roots and the accomplishments of his hard-working and faithful parents.

Jim is survived by Mary Jo and daughter Sheri, son-in-law Doug Austin, and grandsons Ethan and Willem Austin. Jim was the eldest of seven; all siblings and their spouses survive: Hugh Don and Martha Ashmore, Ruth Ann and Billy Brown, Jack and Glenda Ashmore, Joe and Nadine Ashmore, Carolyn Kinkead, and Danny and Brenda Ashmore. Also surviving are his in-laws, Bill and Liz Skaggs and Virginia Horton. He was also blessed with dozens of nieces and nephews, whom he cherished. 

In his last seven months of life, Jim was cared for by the professionals at the Neighborhoods at Quail Creek in Springfield, Mo. He loved them and we are eternally grateful for their loving care.

A private celebration of life will be planned for the family and cremains will be interned at Dogwood Cemetery in Blytheville.