We Remember ... Heroes of the Faith at St. Michael's - Edmund and Joan Williams Ashman
17 June 1921 – 28 April 1990
The son of a clergyman, Edmund was brought up in a number of East End parishes and attended City of London School before being called up into the army. After the war he trained to become a chartered accountant, then married Joan in 1951 and moved to Chiswick where they soon became regular worshippers at St Michael’s.
Edmund was widely read and loved literature and the arts. His book collection included many biblical commentaries and works on Christian beliefs and values, and his love of George Herbert’s poetry was the inspiration for his memorial window, which was dedicated in 1995 and includes a dedication to his younger son Andrew, who died in 1994.
Over the course of almost forty years, Edmund filled many roles in the church – unofficial welcomer, occasional quizmaster, sidesman, member of the PCC and deanery synod, treasurer and churchwarden - and he was unfailingly generous with his time, talents, friendship and hospitality, both at St Michael’s and in other areas of his life. In all of this, he was ably supported and encouraged by Joan. He was always a welcoming presence at St. Michael’s, both to new and regular churchgoers.
The combination of his wisdom, financial acumen and unwavering faith made Edmund the ideal person to spearhead the parish stewardship campaigns; he also served on a diocesan liturgical commission and gave several talks to a variety of audiences in this church and elsewhere. His death at the age of 68 deprived St Michael’s of one of its most loyal servants.
25 June 1923 – 14 November 2012
Joan and Edmund moved to Chiswick after their marriage in 1951 and soon became regular worshippers at St Michael’s. As her three children grew up, Joan became increasingly involved in the life of the church and was also an unfailing source of strength and support to Edmund, who was renowned for befriending newcomers to the church. Joan always welcomed them warmly into her home, extending her love and hospitality to them all. She was a true and loyal friend and her quiet but steadfast Christian faith was an inspiration to many. It was this faith that guided her through the dark days following Edmund’s death in 1990 and the death only four years later of her younger son Andrew.
Over a period of sixty years, Joan served St Michael’s in countless different ways. She led the Sunday School for many years, served on the PCC, coordinated the collections for Christian Aid Week, arranged flowers and used her culinary skills on numerous occasions, ranging from running soup lunches in the church hall and organising lunches for the homeless at the Day Centre to helping with catering for parish lunches and garden parties. She was always generous with her time as well as her talents and had an exceptional ability always to see the best in other people. Granny Jones, as she was called in the Sunday School, will be remembered fondly by young and old alike and on this anniversary we thank God for everything that Joan did here at St Michael’s and for all that she meant to so many people.