Richard G. Ashenfelter, 83, formerly of Trenton, passed away Friday, February 28, 2014, at his home in Ft. Scott, KS. A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9th at Dockery Chapel United Methodist Church near Trenton. Inurnment will be at the Coon Creek Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Richard requested that memorials may be made to Mercy Hospice of Ft. Scott, KS, Dockery Chapel United Methodist Church, or the Trenton High School Booster Club in care of McWilliams Funeral Home in Jamesport.
Richard was born September 11, 1930 to Walter and Lily (Haynes) Ashenfelter in Trenton. He graduated from Trenton High School, a district champion quarterback, in 1950. After graduation Richard was united in marriage to Donna Lee Hamilton July 18, 1950 in Chillicothe MO. The couple made their home in the Trenton area; to this union 2 children were born, Tracy and Kristin. Richard worked for a time at the shoe store in downtown Trenton before making his career with the Rock Island Railroad Line. During this time, Richard, who was always an avid sports enthusiast and athlete, officiated local football, refereed basketball, and began running. He competed in many local 5K and 10K races, and even ran in two marathons at the age of 52.
After retiring from the railroad, Richard attended Trenton Junior College and Northeast Missouri State obtaining his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education. Through the encouragement of his wife, he learned the art of basket-making, a tradition that had been in his family since before the Civil War. Richard and Donna took a couple of years off and traveled all over the Midwest and Eastern United states telling folk stories and weaving hickory baskets. During the winter of 1984, Richard suffered a terrible accident while cutting firewood which broke his back in multiple places. His excellent physical condition allowed him to crawl to safety and eventually make a full recovery. Though he never ran again, Richard became a devoted swimmer and some years later accomplished 100 miles of swimming at the Chillicothe YMCA.
He enjoyed substitute teaching, primarily at the high school and middle school levels, and helping his wife, Donna, with her students at Rissler Elementary and later at Pleasant View R-VI. Richard attended the Dockery Chapel Church for many years where he enjoyed the fellowship, sometimes hosting children’s moments, and even once or twice delivering the Sunday message. An enthusiastic supporter of the Trenton Bulldogs, the NCMC Pirates, and Mizzou, Richard eagerly enjoyed watching all types of sports. He was a class A card player, a wonderful story-teller, and always enjoyed sharing a new joke. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather who spent his life making those around him smile. His legacy of storytelling, humor and love of family and friends will live on through those who knew and loved him. He was an inspiration who will be greatly missed.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Donna Ashenfelter, his daughter Kristin Roberts, great-grandson Tommy Hillburn, and 2 nephews, Mark Callen and Barry Snyder.
Richard is survived by a son, Tracy Ashenfelter and wife Mary of Ft. Worth, TX, 1 sister, Tressia Snyder and husband Ronald of Brookfield, 2 grandchildren, Courtenay Slinkard of Fulton, KS, and Keenan Ashenfelter of Lafayette, CO. Richard has 6 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren and is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.