Garrett Funeral Home


Kenneth Edward Ashe

June 17, 1934January 19, 2021
Play Tribute Movie

Kenneth Edward Ashe died on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at his home in Waynesville at the age of 86 surrounded by his loving wife and their children when he passed peacefully to his heavenly home. Ken was a caring and thoughtful husband to Norma during their more than 64 years of marriage. Together they raised their children in a home full of love, kindness, and a sense of responsibility to help others in need. Throughout his life, Ken was a faithful caretaker for extended family and many good friends. Even after his diagnosis with a rare kidney disease at the age of 86, Ken continued to assist his older and younger friends by doing errands and helping with trips to the doctor. Selfless acts of kindness were at the very core of his being, providing an example that inspired countless others to act justly, love mercifully and walk humbly with God.

Born in 1934 to Ollie Cope Ashe and Hershel Ashe in Jackson County, Ken had six siblings who all preceded him in death: one brother: Wilburn Ashe and five sisters: Sandy Reilly, Pearle Ensley, Glenda Henson, and two sisters Mary Frances and Elaine who died as young children. The family attended Scott’s Creek Baptist Church in Sylva where Ken developed his love of singing, which later led him to be the choir director at several churches throughout his life. He also loved listening to Classical music and was always eager to discuss his favorite composers with others who shared his passion for music.

Ken graduated from Sylva High School in 1952 where he was voted “Most Handsome” and was known by his fellow students as “God’s gift to women”, as quoted in the school yearbook. He went on to attend Western Carolina University majoring in Chemistry and Business. After graduating in 1956, Ken married Norma Bryson, and then was drafted into the U.S. Army—serving two years in the Army Chemical Corps in Utah. After his military service, Ken and Norma settled in Haywood County where he eventually became a Nationwide Insurance agent for thirty-eight years. He served on the boards of Haywood United Way, Youth for Christ and was active in the Nationwide Prom Promise campaign for many years. He also went on mission trips to Alaska, Uganda, Tanzania and Honduras while a member of Ratcliffe Cove Baptist Church and was a member of Elizabeth Chapel Methodist Church at the time of his death. He enjoyed traveling, photography, golf, reading and spent many days on Lake Chatuge with generations of family and friends, teaching them to swim and waterski. Ken and Norma raised two daughters and two sons. Their daughter, Teresa Ashe, died in April 2018. Along with Norma, left to cherish the memory of a wonderful father and great man are: daughter, Kendra Ashe Medford (Bert) of Clyde, sons Kevin Ashe of Waynesville and Alan Ashe (Margie) of Decatur, Georgia; four grandchildren: Haley Medford Hopper (Matthew) of Cullowhee, Rachel Medford of Clyde, Lilly and Jonathan Ashe of Decatur, GA; one great-grandchild: Allena Hopper of Cullowhee; two brothers-in-law: Arnold Bryson (Connie), Jack Fisher and several nieces and nephews. Private visitation for family will be Saturday, January 23, at Garrett Funeral Home with Reverend David Childers. Following visitation, a public memorial service will be held at Garrett Hillcrest Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. with the Reverend Dan Dockery presiding and a time of music and sharing by family and friends.

Memorials may be made to: Haywood Christian Ministry Food Pantry; Address: 150 Branner Avenue; Waynesville, NC 28786 or

A message of comfort of comfort may be left for the Ashe family at


  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, January 23, 2021


Kenneth Edward Ashe

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lynne Crawford

February 3, 2021

To Norma and the family ,
I am so very sorry for your loss of Ken. I remember such nice visits with you two when we came back to N.C. for class reunions. Wes always enjoyed his connection with Ken and the others from their class.
Ken was a fine Christian man, I offer my sincerest condolences to all of you.
Lynne Crawford
Moscow, Idaho

Cindy Biasello

January 29, 2021

Our deepest condolences to the Ashe Family. Mr. Ashe was a wonderful husband, father and friend. The Ashe home is known by many as a place to gather for fellowship. We always felt warmth and comfort each time we were privileged to be welcomed in their home sharing a homecook meal prepared by Mrs. Ashe. After each visit, we would leave with a little more love in our hearts. Mr. Ashe's children are beautiful reflections of his thoughtful and kind heart.
Prayers and Love,

Colleen Covino

January 27, 2021

We are really sorry for your loss. While we didn't know Mr. Ashe personally, we have the pleasure of working along side his son Alan. Mr. Ashe helped raise a very empathetic son. Who is kind and someone we can all count on to be a good friend and great listener. Alan's colleagues appreciate him and by extension we appreciate what Mr. & Mrs. Ashe instilled in Alan. We hope that one day you will think of Mr. Ashe's memory and a smile comes across your face. We made a donation to Haywood Christian Ministry Inc in Mr. Ashe's honor.

Colleen, Erika, and Tony

joyce barker

January 25, 2021

I am so sorry for your loss. I have known Ken since l was in the third grade. Ken taught a lot of Sunday School classes. He was a great teacher on Sunday School classes. Sometimes he would have teenagers come to his house on Saturday for studying the bible. Joyce Barker


January 24, 2021

I started my career with Nationwide Insurance as a Claims Adjuster in Waynesville, NC in January, 1970, some 51 years ago this month. One of the first agents I met was Ken Ashe in his office below the old Taylor Motor Company. Ken, along with fellow agent Bill Cunningham and Sales Manager Ed Williams were there to lend a hand to this rookie adjuster as he attempted to get his feet planted. Years later I was fortunate to attend a retirement dinner in Maggie Valley for Bill Cunningham which Ken arranged. That was quite a night and a memory for life. I had the privilege of speaking with Ken in recent years. It was so good to reconnect with him. I wish I could have seen him personally but we ran out of time. To Ken's family and many friends my deepest sympathy. Ken leaves quite a legacy in so many ways. We are all fortunate indeed to have been in his company. Gerry Huntley, CPCU. Fairview, North Carolina. 828-318-4013.

Peggy Melville

January 24, 2021

Norma, so so sorry to learn of your great loss. Ken was such an outstanding fine man. Our county will miss him and his leadership. I am so pleased I was able to know him through your friendship with Ginny Denmark as well as his efforts to make our county a better place to live, work and worship. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family. I know he and Ginny are enjoying memories of your friendship. Love and prayers to all of you

Richard Cheek

January 24, 2021

My sincere condolences to the Ashe family. I worked with his son years ago. May God grant you strength and comfort during your time of grief.

Kenneth Mills

January 23, 2021

I have been friends since grade school at Beta grade school with Ken Ashe.
He always set a Christian example in
his life.
I extend my condolences to Norma and her family.
May God bless Norma and her family
and welcome Ken to his eternal home.
Ken will be sadly missed.
Kenneth A. Mills

Sylvia Reeves

January 23, 2021

Dearest Norma and family it was a shock to see that Kenneth had passed into the Gates of Heaven . My heart is filled with so much sympathy and compassion for all you’ve been through . Norma You’re such a special and wonderful God filled strong woman . You and Kenneth have been such perfect examples of Christ and what God has expected us to do here on Earth . I have such fond memories of every time I’d see Kenneth he was always doing something kind for someone else no matter how he was feeling . He will be greatly missed by all .

Janice Wolford

January 23, 2021

Norma and Family,

My sincere condolences for your loss of Ken. He was a one of a kind good man. I always looked forward to seeing Uncle Ken when I visited Western Carolina. I think he touched a lot of people during his lifetime.

Janice Russell Wolford.