Allen Austin Ashworth, 62, passed away, surrounded by his family, after an almost-successful struggle against cancer.
Allen is survived by an amazing family: Cynthia, his beloved wife and best friend for 31 years; two daughters and a son: Rachael Ashworth (Nick) of Spokane, Deborah (Eric) Good of Deer Park, and Benjamin Ashworth (Audrey) of Spokane, as well as five precious grandchildren: Lenore, Leif, Nathan, Isaac and Noah. He is also survived by two brothers and a sister.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister.
Allen’s early childhood was defined by the tragic death of his father during the Korean War, and he became a pacifist for much of his life. This all changed, however when he recognized “the great debt each generation owes to this nation for the wonderful liberties it enjoys – none of which are freely acquired.” Important considerations were his own freedom of religion and that somebody else had gone to Vietnam in his place.
He renounced pacifism, joined the Army in 1986 and remained in the service until retiring in 2012 with the rank of sergeant first class.
Following 9/11, numerous mobilizations and deployments (one with his son, Ben), kept Allen frequently away from home; his family responded to these painful absences by becoming more flexible, resilient and cohesive – “tougher and better!”
Such descriptions also truncated his formal college education, but his life remained filled with the passionate study of biblical languages and texts, the ancient Near East, close association with numerous academic societies, as well as the study of Chinese and various arcane subjects.
Collaborating with a local veteran service organization, he created and developed the first Honor Guard program for the Army National Guard in eastern Washington; and established with FAFB a Joint Service Honor Guard for continuous duty at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery – a team of Army and AF honor guardsman ever-ready to pay tribute to the area’s veterans.
Also during this period he was privileged to work as a para-educator in his school district, with “arguably the greatest set of kids and the kindest, most generous group of educators and staff the world has seen!”
His beloved church family and lifelong friendships only underscore a first-century Jewish carpenter’s observation that “a man’s life is not counted by the things he possesses.”
A Graveside Service will be held at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery, W21702 Espanola Road, Medical Lake on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. A Memorial Service will follow at the Deer Park High School, S.800 Weber Road, at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.