2023 Regular Session
By: Representatives Creekmore IV, Massengill, Steverson
A RESOLUTION MOURNING THE LOSS AND COMMEMORATING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF COACH NORRIS RAY ASHLEY, AND EXPRESSING DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS UPON HIS PASSING.
WHEREAS, it is written in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the Heaven," and as such, the immaculate author and finisher of our soul's destiny summoned the mortal presence of dearly beloved, Coach Norris Ray Ashley, to eternal rest on Friday, February 17, 2023, rendering immense heartache and loss to his family, friends and community; and
WHEREAS, the Ingomar and Lone Star communities of Union County and the State of Mississippi, lost a loving husband, father, mentor, teacher, wonderful friend and legendary basketball coach, with the passing of Coach Ashley, who was born on August 3, 1947, to the late Mr. W.D. (Bill) and Bertha Murphree Ashley, the youngest of the couple's five children, and there is now a hush in our hearts as we come together to pay our respects to the memory of one who has been called to join that innumerable heavenly caravan; and
WHEREAS, having commenced his formal education in the first grade at the early age of four at Lone Star School, Coach Norris would go on to graduate from Ingomar High School at the age of 16 before continuing his collegiate matriculation at Delta State University, where he received his degree in education and lettered in basketball and baseball under legendary baseball coach, Dave "Boo" Ferris, and later inducted into the Delta State Athletic Hall of Fame; and
WHEREAS, Coach Norris began his career in education at Coahoma County High School, where he taught and coached for two years before returning to his high school alma mater, where he remained until his retirement in 2012, after amassing 1,697 wins as coach of Ingomar High School girls and boys basketball teams, earning him the revered title of Winningest Basketball Coach over the course of his 41 years of coaching tenure, complete with nine state championships (five boys and four girls), a Grand Slam championship in 1978 and a recent induction into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame; and
WHEREAS, Coach Norris's fate would lend itself to the
building upon the blueprint divinely designed for the pattern of
his life by the Great Deity when his love, chivalry and affection pierced the heart of the former Miss Patricia "Pat" Robertson,
and the duo became bone of one another's bone and flesh of one
another's flesh after exchanging the nuptials of holy matrimony on June 15, 1974, building a lifetime of memories endeared with the blessing of three children; and
WHEREAS, raised by his parents on the precepts of Christian servanthood and humility, Coach Ashley, who was baptized into kingdom fellowship under these godly tenets and during his adult life, he became a member of Shady Grove Baptist Church, but attended Ingomar Methodist Church with his family, and lived a life of service through active involvement in community civic and social affairs; and
WHEREAS, though he has traversed the river of life to now stand upon the celestial shore of Heaven, in joyous reunion with those who made life's transition before him, including his parents, brother, Rex Lewayne Ashley and sister, Joann Ashley Williams, the enduring legacy of Coach Ashley will continue to refresh the hearts and memories of his beloved survivors: loving wife of 48 years, Patricia Robertson Ashley; children, Kellan Elizabeth Ashley, Jonathan Lehman Ashley and Kerrianne Ashley; sisters, Nell Sandroni and Lazette Stevens (Earl); sister-in-law Dorothy Ashley; three precious grandchildren, Rivers Grace Ashley, Willa Kate Ashley and Penn Lehman Ashley; and a host of other relatives and friends; and
WHEREAS, we encourage the family to find solace from the overwhelming sadness created by the earthly departure of their beloved family member in Revelation 21:4, wherein it is recorded, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" and renewed in their faith that Coach Ashley fulfilled the commandment of II Timothy 4:7 by having "fought a good fight, finishing his course and keeping the faith until the hour of his departure was at hand"; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize and honor the lives of upstanding Mississippians, especially those of Coach Ashley's caliber, whose life and presence made a profound, lasting and positive impact in the lives of the countless students and athletes and their families with whom he connected over the course of a four-decade career in education:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby mourn the loss and commemorate the life and legacy of Coach Norris Ray Ashley, and express deepest sympathy to his family and friends upon his passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Coach Norris Ray Ashley and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.