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Funeral set for sheriffs major
Ash led departments efforts on Barber Road jail
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Jim Ash

0315ASHaud

Listen as Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic remembers Jim Ash, who guided the department’s efforts in building a new jail. Ash died Friday at 57.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office employees are mourning the passing of Jim Ash, who, among other things, guided the department’s efforts in building a new jail on Barber Road.

“He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and one of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with,” Sheriff Steve Cronic said Sunday evening.

“For me personally, I will always remember Jim as a brother in Christ, a dear friend and a valued colleague, and he’ll be sorely missed around the sheriff’s office.”

Visitation was held Sunday and is set for 6-8 tonight at Memorial Park Funeral Home for Ash, who died Friday after a six-month battle with brain cancer. He was 57.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home, which is at 2030 Memorial Park Drive, Gainesville. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Mausoleum.

A Walton County native and Gainesville High School graduate, Ash joined the Hall Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in November 1973.

He rose in the ranks to captain, serving as jail commander for many years before retiring in 2003.

Cronic, who is in the middle of a third four-year term, said he sought Ash’s counsel before seeking office and “hundreds of times after being in the office.”

“He had kind of a down-home wisdom that was tempered with years of experience that enabled him to relate to everybody at every level,” Cronic said.

Ash was lured out of retirement to help with construction of the new $54 million, 1,026-bed jail off Calvary Church Road.

“If I was going to attribute anyone to the success of that, he would be first and foremost the person who deserves credit for that facility coming in ahead of schedule and under budget,” Cronic said.

During that effort, he also served as major and commander of sheriff’s services.

Ash traveled extensively during his retirement. He was preparing to visit Israel for the second time when he was diagnosed with cancer.

He was a member of the Gainesville Lions Club and St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, among other organizations.

Ash is survived by his wife, one daughter, one son and four grandchildren.

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