Dec. 2011 PVB Community & YMCA Family Celebrate the Life of Brent & Gerda Ashton

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A sign announcing the Celebration of Life for Brent Ashton is displayed in the lobby of Winston Family YMCA in Ponte Vedra Beach.

On Thursday, December 15th, 2011, the Ponte Vedra community lost two wonderful souls- a married couple- Gerda and Brent Ashton who died suddenly in a traffic accident.

Brent worked at the Winston Family YMCA in Ponte Vedra Beach as a Member Services Associate.

The YMCA will host a Memorial Service on Thursday, January 12th at 11 a.m.

In response to their tragic deaths a large paper banner was put on the wall at the YMCA so people could share their thoughts and feelings.

A table was erected for the many cards and flowers for Gerda and Brent. When the banner was full people wrote notes on the top of the table. Another banner was filled with personal tributes as well.

Most notes were about Brent who was a beaming welcoming beacon at the front desk for many years but many included his wife Gerda as well.

What people wrote told the simple retirement life story of this couple who came to Ponte Vedra 10 years ago and made a difference in the community.

“I never knew anyone so friendly and sweet at 5 a.m.”

“Morning workouts were much more bearable with your welcoming smile.”

“Your wonderful British smile was more delightful than my Starbucks coffee early in the morning before swim practice.”

“We will miss you checking us in and always having the answers to our questions.”

“You always let me into the YMCA when I didn’t have my card.”

“No matter my mood you always brightened my day.”

“A shining example of love everlasting”

“I am sure you are up there making the Big Guy laugh. We all miss you. I’ll see you later when it’s my turn.”

“We will miss your smile. See you in Heaven. God just got an awesome angel.”

“Your smile, hair and attitude made every day fabulous.”

“My (young) son remembered how helpful you were to him. You gave him the locker room key every afternoon.”

“Thank you for remembering my name when I came into the YMCA. I loved your good attitude and friendly disposition.”

“I will cheer your Team Manchester United in remembrance of your beautiful attitude.”

“How does a man change the world- one smile at a time- you did it Brent! Thank you!”

“Throughout many years of life, there are but a handful of people you come across where you think I wish I could be like him and make other people feel the way that person made me feel. Brent was one of those (people).”

“You made my days here at the YMCA wonderful and I will really miss your caring presence.”

In reality Brent served us all at the YMCA and through his service he led us to being better people.

Of the many notes written, perhaps the one by Terry simply says it best.

“Brent & Gerda- You touched our lives and made them better. We will miss you both greatly”

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