Pastors' Memoirs

Harvey Wallace Ashby, 1914-1988

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"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing."

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you."  2 Corinthians 4:1-3, 7-12

Harvey Wallace Ashby was born in the family home at Bluemont, Virginia on April 4, 1914. Later the family moved to Rector- town, Virginia and Harvey was graduated from Marshall High School in Marshall, Virginia in 1932.

After high school Harvey, with his father, opened a small general store in Rectortown and enjoyed a prosperous business for two or three years.

In 1935, through the grace of God and a generous benefactor who had met Harvey at the Rectortown Methodist Church, he was given the chance to attend college. It was the desire of this gracious person that she would support Harvey's education if he would go into the ministry in the Methodist Church. Harvey had felt called to the ministry but now this was the verification, the door thrown open wide that helped confirm his call.

At Randolph-Macon his studies went well. He earned Phi Beta Kappa and ODK recognition while there. Then, in 1939, he went off to seminary at the Yale Divinity School, receiving his Master of Divinity in 1942. He received his first appointment at Montague Avenue Church in October of 1942. Harvey served his church for 42';' years, but it was the Lord he served his whole life, and continues to do so, now serving his finest appointment.

In the ministry Harvey enjoyed many colleagues and close friends who had a positive influence on his life. Two of them deserve special mention. Dr. E.L. Wolfe, with whom he served as a summer intern while in seminary, remained a lifelong friend and mentor. Also, Dr. Robert Parker, "Bob" as he was called around the house, was a loved and respected friend for nearly 50 years.

Harvey served 42~ years in the church and he enjoyed all his appointments. He was blessed by the love, support and challenges of all the people he served. He especially enjoyed his work on the conference Board of Evangelism, on the board of trustees of Randolph-Macon Academy, and his seven years as district superintendent of the Charlottesville District.

But of course his family was most precious to him. He married Edith Overstreet on September 5, 1942. They brought forth and raised together four sons. Their children remain forever indebted to the fine example of love and faith that Harvey and Edith were and continue to be.

I remember so well hearing Dad speak these words from the pulpit. I can hear him now...

For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy victory? 0 death, where is thy sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-Jay Ashby



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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