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Wilson Ashford, 89, died Saturday, June 23, 2012 in Jackson, Tenn.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012 at Griffin United Methodist Church with Elder Eddie Jones and Pastor Rev. Kenyon Ashford officiating.
Burial will follow at New Light Church Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, 2012 with family hour lasting from 6-8 p.m. at Century-Hairston Funeral Chapel.
Century-Hairston Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Ashford was a retired auto mechanic and owner of Ashford's Garage.
He served in the U.S. Army for two years and is a member of the American Legion Post #240. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the NAACP, as well as a bailiff for the Justice Court in Starkville.
Community activism has been a trademark of Ashford's life. He was instrumental in organizing the Oktibbeha County Chapter of the NAACP and worked for peaceful school integration in North Mississippi during the civil rights era.
Wilson served over 38 years as church treasurer, several terms as church trustee, member of the Council of Financing of the North Mississippi Conference and member and chairperson of several committees of the church.
He was recognized for 22 consecutive years of service as a district trustee of the Starkville district of the United Methodist Church. He presently served as Sunday School teacher, member of the male chorus, Chancel Choir, Pastor Parish council, Methodist Men and lay leader of Griffin Methodist Church.
He served on Starkville's Habitat for Humanity as a member and as president where several residents of the community received homes u under his leadership.
Ashford received the 1993 T.E. Veitch Community Service Award during the 36th Annual Starkville Area Chamber Banquet. As stated by Chamber president Jimmy Linley, "I've never met anyone who deserves this reward any more than my friend." Chamber officials express that Ashford personified the community pride, self-sufficiency and hard work to which all Starkvillians should aspire.
For 12 years, Ashford served as trustee of the Starkville Municipal-Separate School District, director of the Mississippi School Board Association, Trustee for Wood Junior College, Merger Committee for the North and South Mississippi Conferences for a effective merger of the two conferences, and served as an honorary member of the executive board of the Democratic Party of Starkville.
He is survived by his wife, Ruby Mae Ashford of Starkville; sons, Rev. Wilson (Everlena) Ashford Jr., Henry (Betty) Ashford, Rev. Tony A. Ashford, and Rev. Kenyon F. Ashford all of Starkville; daughters, Annette (Charles) Johnson of Starkville, Arlene (Eugene) Ashford Yarbrough of Nashville, Tenn., Marsha Ashford Mims of Starkville, Cheryl (James) Henley of New Orleans, La., Rev. Rochelle Ashford Minor of Starkville, and Vanessa Ashford of Nashville, Tenn.; brother, Henry C. (Robbie) Davis of Montgomery, Ala.; sister-in-law, Amanda Ashford of Starkville; aunt, Kate Taylor of Sturgis; 21 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.