Saturday, May 11, 2013

Philosopher Larry Ashley's Last Thoughts

Here are Larry's last thoughts, dictated to his son Chris and shared with permission:

To my friends and family, You have been wonderful in helping me through this. Thank you to all for your kindness. To be a bit pretentious, I feel I have led my life in a favored way. Friends and philosophy have stood as a bulwark against difficulties, and helped give my life meaning and thoughtfulness. To my friends and colleagues in Cortland, you have been the greatest. To my union coworkers, I have enjoyed working with you and being trusted with the responsibility of leadership. That helped invigorate a large part of my life. To my family, we seem to be scattered around the world, with trouble making contact. Know that although I can't find you all now, I am still thinking a lot of you. I also treasure the many friendships which have grown up with of ex-students and sports companions. Thank you and love to you all, Larry
Rest in Peace dear friend.

Eulogy for a dear friend

An hour ago, as I write, my dearest friend, Larry Ashley passed away. Just a couple of weeks ago he texted me to say that he had been diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver. It was a swift end to an amazing life.
Larry was a philosopher's philosopher and painstakingly mentored me. If today I have any merit as a philosopher it is largely down to my good friend. He had just about the sharpest mind of anyone I know. His ability to analyze problems was brilliant. His critique could be devastating. But how much better my papers were after Larry analyzed them!
Larry was a union man. For years he worked hard to better the working conditions of his colleagues. He has left a massive legacy that will affect our university colleagues for years to come.
Larry was an atheist and a materialist. He had no room for god or religion. For him, there was nothing more than can be seen, heard, touched, tasted and smelled. We talked often of metaphysics and what is real and what is possible. We often differed. But,  Larry was an enigmatic materialist. He had little time for material stuff. He was a romantic at heart. He teared up easily. He loved dogs. He loved music. I marveled at his atheism for such a spiritual man. He marveled at my theism for such a skeptical philosopher.
Above all Larry was a good man. (I can hear him saying, "Come on Andy, what do you mean by good?") He was good in so many respects ... kind, generous, respectful, strong, ethical, giving, loving, fair, humble.
He was my friend. I am privileged. I will miss him.