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ASHBY, Neil 1866-1943


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 7/7/2011 at 18:45:57

Neil R. Ashby, Publisher of The Wellsburg Herald, Dies

Following his wife in death in just 20 days, Neil R. Ashby, publisher of the Wellsburg Herald, passed away this (Wednesday) morning at 3 a.m. in the University Hospital at Iowa City. The cause of Mr. Ashbys death was heart failure. Although he had been in poor health in recent years, his death came as a shock to all who knew him. On Sunday, November 28, Mr. Ashby accompanied his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Don Ashby, to Iowa city for a rest. His condition did not improve, however, and on Friday it was necessary to admit him to the hospital. There his weakened condition did not permit complete diagnosis or treatment, and although he rallied Tuesday, death came to him quietly in his sleep, as it had to Mrs. Ashby, at the age of 77 years, one month and 10 days.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed as yet, pending word from Stuart E. Ashby of Chicago and Cpl. Donald W. Ashby of the Carlsbad Army Air Field in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Neil R. Ashby was born in Monmouth, Ill., October 28, 1866, the son of Thomas Gaddis Ashby and Celia B. Rude Ashby. He was graduated from Kansas Normal college in the class of 1887, and then took up the printing trade. On Sept. 12, 1895, the Colonel, as he is best known, was married to Edith Hollanshead, in Mexico, Missouri. The couple made their home at Fort Scott, Kansas where Mr. Ashby was the editor and business manager of The Evening Item. In 1915 Mr. and Mrs. Ashby moved to Wellsburg after publishing papers in various towns, and the Colonel became the editor and publisher of the Wellsburg Herald. Here the Colonel made his political and economic viewpoints felt in the county, and state and even nationally. The Wellsburg Herald prospered under his guidance until in 1929 it was judged the Best All Around Iowa Weekly in towns under 1200. Presentation of a trophy was made to the Herald by the University of Iowa for this honor. In 1934, the Colonel extended his journalistic influence over most of the county when he took over publication of three county papers besides the Herald, the Dike New-Era, the Conrad Record, and the Grundy County Spokesman. The Conrad and Dike papers were later sold, and the Grundy County Spokesman became the Farm Bureau Spokesman, now published by Don Ashby.

Surviving relatives of Mr. Ashby include his sons, Don and Stuart. Besides his wife who died November 19, 1943, he was also preceded in death by two sons.

The Colonel Lays Down His Pen

Although it is our business to write objectively about death, it is particularly difficult for us who have worked with him to say that Neil R. Ashby has written his last news story; that his editorial voice which could comment so caustically or praise so highly, depending upon the issue at hand, has been stilled.

In the field of journalism, the Colonel's name stands out. A printer for more than 46 years, he carried the highest ideals of the profession before him. He was honest in his viewpoints and fair in his dealing with others. His paper was always a model of excellence. He constantly sought perfection, and there was no item too insignificant or story too small to receive the careful treatment which was so characteristic of his work. His was a newspaper which had the human touch. One felt the Colonel's interest and love of his community as he read his paper from week to week. Like most small-town editors, the Colonel held an important and respected place in his town, for he helped to build it.

--Wellsburg Herald And The Grundy County Spokesman (Wellsburg, Iowa), 8 December 1943, pg 1


Funeral services for Neil R. Ashby, for almost 39 years owner and editor of the Wellsburg Herald, were held last Saturday afternoon, December 11, in Wellsburg.

Rev. William Landsiedel officiated at the services, which were held at the John Doyen home with later services at the Wellsburg Reformed Church. Interment was in the Shiloh Cemetery beside his wife who had preceded him in death by 20 days.

Death came to the Wellsburg editor in the early hours of December 8 at the University Hospital in Iowa City. His heart, weakened by the strenuous activities of his 77 years, could not stand the further strain of the loss of his wife, who had passed away on the 19th of November. Persuaded to go to the home of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Don Ashby, in Iowa City, for a rest after the trying time of his wife's illness and death, Mr. Ashby entered the hospital on the 3rd of December, but his fighting spirit could not revive his weakening body, and the end came at 3 a.m. on the 8th.

Pallbearers were the same long-time friends who had performed this service for the deceased's wife -- George Lindaman, G. H. Geerdes, C. C. Graham, D. W. Riekena, H. P. Kruse and H. L. Luwe. Two surviving sons, Stuart of Chicago, and Don of the Carlsbad (New Mexico) Army Air Field, were able to attend the funeral, along with many friends. Also surviving is a brother Walter living in Philadelphia.

Card of Thanks -- We take this means to express our sincere thanks for the kindnesses shown us during the death and burial of our parents, and also for the beautiful floral offerings. Stuart and Don Ashby.

--Wellsburg Herald And The Grundy County Spokesman (Wellsburg, Iowa), 15 December 1943, pg 1


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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