Benny Ashley Obituary, Death Cause – We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our oldest living member, Captain Benny Ashley who returned to quarters peacefully this morning at the age of 105. Benny was a living legend amongst us. He amassed almost unfathomable accomplishments in his career and was an oracle to our organization throughout his entire life. Benny served the Phoenix Fire Department from 1942 through the end of 1973.
Benny is an honorary member of the PFD/L493 Honor Guard and was presented an Honor Guard bell cap on the occasion of his 100th birthday. However, Captain Ashley always looked at his finest wearing his original, official, PFD Captain’s uniform which still fits him perfectly since he is always at his fighting weight. Benny was the Captain of Engine Co. 11-A at the firehouse on the southeast corner of 24th Str. and Roosevelt Str. where he served for many years until his retirement.
Benny is a military combat veteran and twice left the firehouse to serve as a U.S. Navy corpsman during the WWII and Korean wars. After returning to his firefighting career Benny led the Phoenix firefighters union as the President of IAFF Local 493 in the 1960’s. In 1968 his idea for a statewide, combined, firefighters and police officers pension system was signed into law by AZ Governor Jack Williams to create the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).
Benny served in the PFD along side his two brothers, Joe (a dispatcher) and Frank (the E5A Captain). Benny’s son-in-law is PFD Engineer Walt Lanphier (retired) who married Benny’s daughter, Anita. It brings us great sadness to lose him but great comfort to know he is finally at rest. God speed sir, there is no way we could ever repay all you have given us.