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Owen County has lost one of its most recognizable citizens.
James Edgar “Ed” Ashcraft, originally from Covington, passed away Saturday after a long battle with cancer.
Ashcraft was the former publisher and owner of The News-Herald, a retired horse trainer and owner of Ashcraft Realty.
Ashcraft was extremely involved with Owen County in many different aspects.
Ashcraft’s son, John Ashcraft, said his father will be remembered for his commitment to the community.
“He was a very genuine man,” John Ashcraft said. “He was honest to a fault. I think some people will remember him for his business ventures, some for his charitable efforts, some for his dedication to the education system, but many will remember him by his involvement in the community.”
John Ashcraft said his father had a great love for Owen County.
“He moved us away from the big city of Boone County in 1979 to come here,” John Ashcraft said. “He loved the people of Owen County and he tried to show them that through all that he did. He was committed and genuinely concerned for the community. He was always trying to make Owen County a better place.”
Former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones said he met Ashcraft while campaigning for governor and gained an immense respect for him.
“I would say very clearly and very loudly that Ed Ashcraft was a great man,” Jones said. “He was always very up-front and you always knew where he stood. I had the highest respect for him and the fact that no matter what he always said what was on his mind. I’m going to miss him...”
Former Owen County Judge-Executive Billy O’Banion said Ed Ashcraft was a great friend who always spoke the truth.
“I was truly honored to call him a friend,” O’Banion said. “No matter what the issue, he always spoke the truth and he kept the best interest of Owen County at heart. He was an exceptional man and an exceptional friend. I will miss him dearly.”
Former publisher of The News-Herald Patti Clark said Ed Ashcraft helped students throughout Owen County realize their potential.
“When he believed in something, he believed in it strongly,” Clark said. “He started the Educational Foundation in the 1990s to encourage students to be the best they could be. He helped them to realize that just because they were from Owen County they were important and had a place in the world.”
Clark said Ed Ashcraft kept his family very close at all times.
“Ed cherished his family and he always put them first,” Clark said.
George Jacobs, regional manager for Landmark Community Newspapers Inc., said Owen County has suffered a great loss.
“Ed was a very astute businessman,” Jacobs said. “He was very hospitable and you always knew where he stood. He didn’t pull any punches and there was no hidden agenda with him. I had a great respect for him, and the community has certainly experienced a great loss.”