Dr. Anthony Lee "Tony" Ash, 86, of Abilene, died Wednesday, Dec. 6, in a local hospital after a short illness.
Born Oct. 29, 1931, in Lincoln, Nebraska to Jesse and Virginia Ash, Tony moved with his family to Eugene, Oregon as an infant and resided there with his parents and five sisters until he graduated from high school in 1949. He earned an Associate in Arts degree at Florida Christian College in 1954, and married Barbara Bailey, of Huntsville, Alabama, a year later. He continued his education at Florida State University, graduating with a B.A. degree in speech in 1956, an M.A. in Bible from Abilene Christian University in 1959, and a Ph.D. degree in church history from the University of Southern California in 1966.
For nearly 50 years, Ash researched, read, studied, lectured and wrote about noted theologian C.S. "Jack" Lewis and his essays, lectures and books. A professor of Bible, missions and ministry for more than 40 years at ACU, Ash also was the author of more than a dozen books. He recently completed the development and narration of Walking With C.S. Lewis, a new 10-part video series about 12 of the best-known, most beloved works of the renowned author and theologian. The series was introduced in September 2017 at ACU.
Ash was a professor at ACU from 1962-72 before his appointment as a professor at Pepperdine University and chair of its Religion Division from 1972-75. He taught at the Austin Graduate School of Theology in Austin, Texas from 1975-85 before returning to ACU in 1985. After teaching, writing, lecturing and preaching for more than 60 years around the world, he retired in 2015.
Aside from his lifelong commitment to students and higher education, Ash was an avid outdoorsman. He ran 13 marathons, including the New York City Marathon, and hiked the Appalachian Trail, as well as trails in Oregon, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his wife, Barbara, following 62 years of marriage, as well as sisters Jane Byrd, Judy Barr, Susan Anderson, Lynn Ash, and Cathy Hannaford, and their children and grandchildren. He was a resident of Abilene for more than 40 years and an active member of the University Church of Christ. Earlier, he was a pulpit minister in Abilene at Minter Lane Church of Christ, at the 11th and Willis Church of Christ, and more recently was interim minister at Highway 36 Church of Christ.
A short memorial service will be held at noon on Monday, Dec. 11, in ACU's Chapel on the Hill. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers contributions to the Siburt Institute at ACU (online at acu.edu/giveonline or mailed to Gift Records, ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132. Interment will be at Abilene's Elmwood Memorial Park.