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William Nyman Ashenfelter

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William Nyman Ashenfelter Obituary
William Nyman Ashenfelter, 85, of Malvern died on Friday, June 4, 2010 at Neighborhood Hospice in West Chester, Pa. He died peacefully of complications from a cerebral stroke suffered on Tuesday. Born Oct. 16, 1924 to Martha Nyman and Horace Ashenfelter II, he grew up on the century old family farm in Collegeville, Pa. "Bill" Ashenfelter was a larger than life, colorful character who worked hard and played hard. He enjoyed hunting, sports, current events, tracking the stock market, and mostly, he loved his girls; beloved wife of 57 years, Barbara Ranck and his daughters, Mary Jo and Elaine.
Ashenfelter was an Army veteran of World War II serving with the 33rd Field Artillery Battalion in Germany. Upon his return to the U.S., he attended his father's alma mater, The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa. He graduated in 1952. It was at Penn State that Ashenfelter began his distinguished international athletic career in track and field. Joining his older brother Horace (Nip) and his younger brother Donald, on the track team, he became the fourth man on the two mile relay team. In 1950, Bill Ashenfelter won the Atlantic City Boardwalk Mile with a time of 4:11 and in 1951 was the AAU cross country champion. Bill and Horace went on to be the only brothers in Olympic history to be first and second in the U.S. trials in the same event, the 3000 meter steeplechase, competing in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. Following the 1952 Olympics, he was part of the two mile relay team that established a new world record in London. His running career continued with the New York Athletic Club and in 1954, Bill Ashenfelter won the U.S. 3000 meter steeplechase, a title his brother, Horace, held the year before. During those years, he competed in all the world class track events of the day, including the Penn Relays, the Pan American Games and the Olympics. Bill started his business career in the early 1950's with National Gypsum Company. Entrepreneurial in spirit and action, he founded a manufacturer's representive business, Ashenfelter Associates Inc. in 1963. The business remains an active family business today, representing specialty masonry and drywall accessory manufacturers and selling to masonry and drywall distributors in the Northeast corridor of the U.S. Ashenfelter was a Mason celebrating 62 years at Warren Lodge #310. While a borough resident, he served for seven years on Malvern's Town Council acting in several leadership roles. A member of Aronimink and Hershey's Mill Golf Club, he played golf and tennis for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and his daughters Mary Jo Heckman (M. Thomas S. Heckman) and Elaine Bednarz (M. Edward L. Bednarz), brothers, Horace, III, Donald, and sister Jane Leinbach as well as many loving nieces and nephews. Family and friends are invited to a memorial service at Paoli Presbyterian Church at 225 South Valley Road, Paoli, Pa 19301 on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Natural Lands Trust, 1031 Palmers Mill Road, Media, PA 19063 or National Audubon Society, 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA 19403.

Published in Main Line Media News from June 15 to June 16, 2010
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