Ashley A. Simone

February 4, 1988September 16, 2021
Play Tribute Movie

Dr. Ashley A. Simone, 33, died September 16, 2021 in Colorado Springs, CO. She was born February 4, 1988 in Colorado Springs to Jeanie Young and Gary Crooks and grew up in Palmer Lake, CO.

Ashley graduated high school from The Classical Academy. She showed exceptional talent in art and an aptitude for Latin at an early age. During her junior high and high school years, Ashley enjoyed riding and showing horses. She also competed in 4-H horse judging and knowledge bowl competitions, and enjoyed many special friends who joined or supported her in those activities.

In 2009, while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Baylor University, Ashley traveled abroad for a semester of study at St. Andrews, Scotland. She spent the following summer in Athens, Greece, where she was an excavator at an archaeological dig.

Ashley completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Baylor, graduating magna cum laude in May of 2011. As a University Scholar, she studied Classics and Great Texts in Baylor’s Honors College and her undergraduate thesis was awarded outstanding distinction.

In 2012 Ashley moved to New York City with her family so that she could begin her graduate studies in Classics at Columbia University. There she received her Master of Arts in Classics and Master in Philosophy degrees in both ancient Greek and classical Latin, and finally, her doctoral degree in Classics in 2020.

Throughout her graduate career, Ashley presented over a dozen conference papers and published her research in internationally-acclaimed journals. She taught as a preceptor in Columbia’s Literature Humanities program from 2018 to 2020, and in 2018-2019 was also a fellow in the highly selective Advanced Seminar in the Humanities at Venice International University in Italy. In 2020, Ashley completed and defended her dissertation, “Cicero Among the Stars: Natural Philosophy and Astral Culture at Rome.” At her doctoral commencement, Ashley was awarded Columbia’s Presidential Teaching Award by nomination from her students and selection by a panel of faculty from across the university.

After finishing her doctoral degree at Columbia in May of 2020, Ashley founded the Latin Department at St. Mary's Catholic School in Taylor, TX, where she was the Head Latin and Philosophy Teacher. She also taught Art for grades 6 through 12.

Ashley married Caleb Simone in 2010. In 2011 they welcomed their first son, Aidan, and in 2016 their second son, Alistair, was born. (They later divorced). Ashley loved and valued her family deeply and cherished Aidan (age 10) and Alistair (age 5). While in New York City, she and her family were members of Christ Church Anglican and then Emmanuel Anglican NYC, where she was committed to serving and building her local Christian community. In April of 2021 Ashley was confirmed in the Catholic Church at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, TX. Ashley was blessed by incredible friends and family and was well loved by her colleagues, friends, and church communities in New York, Austin, and Taylor.

Ashley loved the arts, the classics, traveling, and spending time with friends. In addition to her academic mastery of Latin and Ancient Greek, she spoke Spanish and Italian, and also had a reading knowledge of Italian, German, Spanish, and French.While in New York, she furthered her interest in art by taking up drawing and art classes.

Ashley is survived by two sons, Aidan and Alistair Simone; her mother, Jeanie Young, Colorado Springs, CO; her father, Gary Crooks, Colorado Springs, CO; her former husband, Caleb Simone, Austin, TX and his parents, Ken and Brenda Simon of Chappell Hill, TX; aunts/uncles Bonnie (Randall) Wilkens, Mount Vernon, WA; Beverly (Rich) Benjes, Hutchinson, KS; Wes (Joyce) Johnson, Baldwin City, KS; Ronda Sorenson, South Haven, KS; Benita Reese, Burleson, TX; and Roy (Jody) Crooks, Crowley, TX; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues, and friends.

Anyone who wishes to honor Ashley may contribute to a fund for the ongoing care of her precious boys. In lieu of flowers, you may donate to the memorial fund to benefit Ashley’s sons, Aidan and Alistair, by visiting the GoFundMe page at

A funeral service for Ashley will be held Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 2:00 PM at North Springs Alliance Church, 1702 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Simone family.

Columbia University Department of Classics: In Memoriam: Ashley Simone CLICK HERE


  • Gary Crooks, Father
  • Jeanie Young, Mother
  • Aidan Simone, Son
  • Alistair Simone, Son
  • Caleb Simone, Former Husband
  • Ashley is also survived by Caleb's parents, Ken and Brenda Simone of Chappell Hill, TX; aunts/uncles Bonnie (Randall) Wilkens, Mount Vernon, WA; Beverly (Rich) Benjes, Hutchinson, KS; Wes (Joyce) Johnson, Baldwin City, KS; Ronda Sorenson, South Haven, KS; Benita Reese, Burleson, TX; and Roy (Jody) Crooks, Crowley, TX; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues, and friends.


23 October

Catholic Mass

10:00 am

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church of Taylor

301 E. Fourth Street
Taylor , Texas 76754


  • Catholic Mass

    Monday, September 27, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, October 2, 2021

  • A Celebration of Life Service

    Sunday, October 3, 2021


Ashley A. Simone

have a memory or condolence to add?

Toni Gunthrope

October 7, 2021

Dear Aidan and Alistair:

I worked with your mom when she taught in the Center for the Core Curriculum, 2017-2020. We would admire each other’s necklaces, dresses, and lipstick. We soon found out that we had much more in common than a colorful wardrobe – two boys, five years apart and the impact of our faith. When she told me your names, I told her Alistair was one of the names on our short list for our first son (we named him John.) Thereafter, we always talked about the two of you. We shared stories about rearing rumbustious boys in NYC apartments, bedtime stories and the things we love about our boys - the wet kisses ("like little puppies,"), strong hugs, and the sound of your laughter.

Your mother was a dear and special person. I am so grateful to have had the privilege of knowing her. I will keep you in my prayers.

In caring sympathy,
Toni Gunthrope

Bruce Casson

October 2, 2021

I had the real joy to be Ashley's senior Rhetoric teacher at The Classical Academy. During that year, and somewhat the year prior, I came to know Ashley well, talking about course material, connecting on her academic interests, and grieving with her through family tragedy. I can think of very few students who were more scholarly and inquisitive, and the exuberant look on her face when she discovered something new, or saw a nuance or wrinkle in an idea...I still remember that look. I have no doubt it shined on her face throughout her time at Baylor, in Scotland, and at Columbia pursuing her doctorate.

But Ashley as you so must know was more than an amazing scholar. She excelled in the craft of intellectual discovery, but even way back in high school embraced the joy of it. In fact, joy seemed for many years to pervade the nooks and crannies of her life. Raising her boys, living in NYC, reconnecting with me and other high school teachers back in CO Springs. Yes, problems came and deepened through rocky years. But Ashley's sense of joy at discovery persisted.

I came to love Ashley's spirit and depth like very few others in my teaching career. I am so very sorry for your family's loss, and I'm praying for God's abiding peace, comfort, and love through it. Please know that Ashley's mark was made not only on students and those younger than her, but on her teachers, mentors, and admiring adults who saw her grow as older adults. We loved her!!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39.

Cynthia Liu

September 30, 2021

I first saw Ashley at my very first conference when I was an undergrad and she was at Columbia. A Baylor professor and I were watching her present her paper and I was so amazed by her passion and animation. The professor told me, "that's who you want to be like in a few years". Over the years and conferences, we became friends and I looked up to her so much as a friend and scholar. Every conversation was so encouraging and loving; we talked about Phaethon and violin and motherhood and the ups and downs of PhD life. She was always endlessly generous with advice and laughter. My heart goes out to all who love her, and she and her family are in my prayers.

Katie Grover-Bennett

September 29, 2021

Ashley and I were both University Scholars at Baylor and studied abroad in St. Andrews. We were neighbors and close companions during our time in Scotland, often walking the half hour between our dorm and town together. We spent those walks dancing in the snow, confiding in each other, laughing, enjoying the stars, wondering aloud about life’s meaning and purpose… it feels like yesterday.

I remember Ashley, vibrant and beautiful, on those walks. I remember Ashley at home in her books; she was already a dedicated scholar. I remember Ashley with a spark in her eyes sharing the story of a dreamy date with a handsome Baylor student who was studying abroad in England. I remember having debates with Ashley over abstract ideas and I remember her graciousness when I was wrong; she was already a great teacher. I remember Ashley giddily planning her undergraduate thesis and her wedding in the same breath. I remember Ashley with Aidan on her hip at our graduation.

Ashley was fun. She was a kind friend and an exceptional woman. I’m glad to have known her for a time. Wishing peace for all those who care for her. My condolences to the family. It was clear how much she loved you all.

Ellen Polyard

September 28, 2021

I had the privilege of knowing Ashley in her 4-H days as a coach and friend. We spent countless hours preparing for hippology and judging contests and traveling the country attending various contests. Ashley was always a joy to be around as was her mom and step dad. Her shining spirit, faith, and never ending pursuit of knowledge always amazed me. When studying equine anatomy she was always teaching us how to pronounce the Latin terms and would explain their meanings even as a teenager. There was always lots of laughter and good times when we were together. Although I haven’t seen her in a few years I’ve enjoyed watching her become a mother and a scholar. It was always evident how much she loved those two boys. It’s hard to imagine a world without Ashley. A brilliant star has been extinguished, but never forgotten, from this world. My deepest condolences to Jeanie, Gary, Aidan, and Alistair.

Devona Wyne Cook

September 28, 2021

I remember assisting Ashley and her 4H teammates on their annual 4H project books! They were so much fun and there was always 10x more photos on the floor they wanted to get into the Mt. Herman group book as well as the whole club and individual projects. Somehow it all came out. Even the year of the 911 Attacks, we got the record books done and into the CSU Extension Office. One year they attended US Nationals for Arabians in ABQ, NM! The hotel rooms were a huge mess of kids and clutter but in the end the kids had fun! I'd do it all over again in a New York minute!

Mary Elliot

September 28, 2021

So, so sad to hear of this loss. Ashley was such a graceful presence, and I always appreciated our talks (on everything from motherhood to Cicero, of course!). We were ISI Weaver Fellows (and roommates!), and when she spoke about teaching in the Great Books-style core program at Columbia she absolutely lit up. Everyone who heard her could tell she was a fantastic teacher. I also appreciated that in the last two years she was ready to reach out for prayers and to pray for others. She was attuned to the Spirit of God in the world, and has now been welcomed into that ultimate embrace. Praying for her, and for all who knew her and loved her, especially her parents and two boys!
With love,

Katie Schrack

September 28, 2021

Ashley was my very first friend. We were born only 6 weeks apart and we lived down the street from each other. Our mothers would babysit for each other. As a toddler Ashley had the brightest white-blonde hair and red lips. Together, we loved playing in the garden in our bonnets and dresses. In elementary school, I remember when Ashley’s love for horses began. She had the biggest and best “My Little Pony” collection a girl could ask for. We would play with these figurines for hours upon hours. She also had a fond love for butterflies. I remember catching butterflies in her backyard and caring for them in her butterfly sanctuary. She took me to the butterfly museum where we were filled with awe and wonder of Gods beautiful creation. I have endless memories of dress ups and tea parties. She was bright and curious, she was kind and caring, she was beautiful inside and out. I will treasure our friendship forever.

Madison Peace Nye

September 28, 2021

I met Ashley while working at a non-profit serving women facing unexpected pregnancies in New York City. She quickly became someone I truly admired -- she was incredibly bright and impressive professionally and also greatly valued her role as a mama. Ashley was a person of deep faith, eager to encourage and quick to remind you of God's goodness. She was passionate about the dignity of every human life.

In the spring of 2016, Ashley reached out to me about a student she knew at Columbia who was unexpectedly pregnant. That student went on to law school that fall as a young mom. I know that Ashley was an important part of her story and support system.

Ashley was a lovely person and friend. She was thoughtful and kind and had a sparkling personality. We lost regular touch after I moved out of New York to go to law school myself, but I am devastated to hear about her untimely death. Christ, have mercy. I am praying for the family and for all who loved and were loved by her.

Nathan Hays

September 28, 2021

I was in the group that went with Ashley to St. Andrews. We got there on January 30th, 2009, and on February 4th, we celebrated Ashley's birthday. A group of us went to Ashley's apartment where she was staying that semester and then went to the Vic, a pub in St. Andrews, to have some cake. There was music with a DJ and a small dance area. A lot of our group (including me) didn't dance at first but instead stood on the sidelines. Ashley, however, was on the dance floor encouraging us to join her. Finally, along with a friend, she started pulling us in. That's how a lot of our group ended up on the dance floor, laughing and having a good time. We had a lot of great memories that semester traveling, hiking, and hanging out. She was an incredible companion for all of us on that trip. I'm so sorry to hear of her loss.