The Heroines

Ashley Lynn O'Rourke

is honored with a Medium Paver from Eleanor Kinkaid and Marcia Smola.

 Ashley Lynn O'Rourke Ashley Lynn O'Rourke touched more people in her sixteen years than she ever knew. It is not so much what Ashley accomplished in her own short life that we want to honor, but what she made others realize about their lives. Her charm and good humor helped those around her realize that life is to be enjoyed. She was happiest making others happy.

On February 22, 1980, Ashley came into our world ready to meet life's experiences with a zest for life unmatched by most people. Her big blue eyes and that beautiful smile of hers captured the attention of others from a very early age. As she grew, Ashley came to believe that if your principles were right, things would work out. She was committed to her family and friends in a way that nothing could shake. Because she knew what was right, she challenged us all to be better people. Above all, Ashley was true to herself. She lived with what she couldn't change, but never gave up trying to improve it. And she did it all because she truly believed that, whatever it was, it was the right thing to do. For her, that was all the reason she needed.

Following are the thoughts of some of her friends and relatives: "Two qualities I remember about my sister were her good nature and her way of looking at complex issues very simply. For example, in Sunday school, she would respond "Because God is Love" to nearly any question asked of her. Ashley was convinced that most situations need not be any more complicated than that." - Ryan O'Rourke.

"From the time Ashley was in second grade, she was admired by all her peers. I admired her ability to make friends and her willingness to try anything once. Everyone loved her sense of humor and outgoing attitude. Ashley was the kind of person everyone wanted to be friends with. She was adventurous, daring, beautiful, funny, and she rarely got embarrassed. Ashley would do anything for her friends and family. I will always look up to Ashley for the way she genuinely cared for those she loved. I feel so privileged to have known such a sweet, loving person. Ashley will always have a special place in my heart." - Libby Blackburn.

"We encounter people in our lives everyday. But it is only when people like Ashley come into them that we stop to think of how remarkable life is and how much we should cherish it, just as she did." - Gina Grafos.

"The one characteristic of Ashley's that stands out the most to me is her vivacious smile. Maybe it was because she wore braces for five years, but more likely it was because most of my memories of her and me together involve uncontrollable laughter. For example, we took gymnastics together for over a year and each time one of us began our approach to do a round-off back-hand spring, or any other trick, we usually had to stop half way down the floor because just eyeing each other would ruin our concentration and our laughter would start all over again. Ashley was just the type who found fun in almost every circumstance, even when getting us both sent to the principal's office in seventh grade. There was definitely never a dull moment with Ashley. Her contagious smile, paired with her bright blue eyes, always allowed you to see her deep capacity for love, as well as a person who squeezed every moment for the life and love it contained." - Katherine Mayer

"She came upon the scene and suddenly the sun shone a little brighter, the music played a little louder, the excitement level shot upward or so it seemed. Ashley was joy in action and love personified. She had the touch of an angel and that touch was felt by all who knew her." - "Gigi" Kinkaid, Ashley's grandmother

"From the time I was about eight years old until I was about fifteen, Ashley was my best friend. We didn't think about why we were best friends. We just were, and we loved each other. We knew everything about each other and spent millions of nights at each other's houses giggling, watching movies and prank calling. We did everything that every other set of friends has ever done. We just loved doing it together." - Allison Alter

"Ashley was our most favorite friend to laugh with_ whether we were at church, at a bad movie, baking chocolate layer cakes, or if she was playing the only song she knew on the piano again, we always had fun. Being in the same room with her was enough. With Ashley, there was bound to be a little giggling." - Emily and Sarah Cochran.

"For about four years, Ashley and I were inseparable--we were practically sisters. We rode our bikes to school together, took dance lessons together and were at each other's houses all the time. We even told people we were sisters, and lots of people believed us. We were so young and innocent, we never dreamed that our time together would be so short. Although my time with Ashley grew less as we got older, our friendship was still strong and all our memories were still there. Every time I saw her we gave each other a big hug and we always had plenty to talk about. I miss Ashley a lot. She had a good life. I believe God knew she was going to have a short life, and that's why it was so good. I believe she was truly happy. She will always live on in my heart." - Jamie Simms

"Ashley was a fun-loving, beautiful, blue-eyed young woman whose very presence would light up a room. She was a caring and loyal friend and will dance in our hearts forever." - Christa Cherches

Ashley and a classmate were struck by lightning one night in early June. She died June 6, 1996. Her memory lives in each of us and in how we treat each other.

Submitted by Ashley's family

September 12, 1998