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Obituary for Roger Gray Ashton
Roger Ashton Gray August 26, 1922 – September 13, 2017
Roger Gray Ashton was born on Aug. 26, 1922, in Charleston, West Virginia, and passed away on Sept 13, 2017, in Brookings, Oregon. He was 95 years old. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I do believe his goal was to live until he was 100, as his driver license was good until then. We often joked about it.
Dad had a great sense of humor; he was caring, intelligent, and devoted to his wife and daughters. He was loyal and really feared nothing. He was an exceptional pilot, logging thousands of hours in the air. He often joked about it, saying that is why he stayed so young — because he was always flying faster than time when he flew.
He learned to fly in World War II. It was a life goal to do this and he was so excited when he heard the Army was offering a cadet training to teach pilots to fly. He quickly joined up for that and spent the first six months as a carpenter. Such was the workings with the Army, they didn’t have any planes to train all the young men who joined.
It became the Army Air Corps, later to become a separate branch of the military as the Air Force. WWII started shortly after his enlistment and he eventually flew 40 missions out of Africa bombing Sardinia and various other places. He also served in the South Pacific as a bomber flying four more missions before the war ended. He became a bomber squadron leader at the age of 19.
Dad was preceded in death by our mother, Gladys Irene Rencher Ashton, who died a year and a half ago after 67 years of marriage. He was also preceded in death by his parents Roger Lewis Ashton and Ethel Mabel Gray, sisters Evelyn, Sarah “Sally,” Ethel, Jane “Boots”; one grandchild, Kelcy Donald Rowles; and two great grandchildren, Tyson Spencer Johansen and Carson Benjamin Riddle.
He is survived by four daughters, Irene Louise, Ethel Kay Johansen (George), Mary Jo Ashton (Terry Kennedy) and Virginia Lee Riddle (Joshua), 19 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
His grandchildren loved him. He and his wife Gladys cared for many of them as they were growing up and Kay Dee Owens, one of his grandchildren wrote this about him: “My heroic Grandpa joined my Grandma today. He flew planes during WWII ... he was the first one to take me on an airplane ride, the first one to show me the giant redwood trees and take me on a boat ride on the ocean. He waited with me before my marriage ceremony to Robert. He was quiet, but maybe that’s because he grew up with four sisters and had four daughters and was constantly surrounded by loud women. I love you Grandpa! I’m sure there is a celebration with those who have been waiting for you on the other side ... Especially my beautiful Grandma.”
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause.” — Abraham Lincoln.
Roger and Gladys led a very exciting and productive life, living in a lot of states from Alaska to Oklahoma and everywhere in between. Growing up, we girls saw every state except Rhode Island and New York. They eventually fell in love with Brookings because of its beauty, and it became their final home where they lived for about 25 years.
Dad was laid to rest at Eagle Point National Cemetery next to Gladys at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18.
Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.