Friday, January 25, 2002

Daily Light Staff Writer

   Bright sunshine filled the southern exit of the building, and smiles and hugs were passed between those who loved and were touched by Ashley O'Rear.
   "Ashley would have loved this," whispered one participant.
   The Waxahachie teenager who lost her battle with brain cancer last year was fondly remembered during a two-part ceremony at the Civic Center Thursday afternoon.
   Ashley's parents Paul and Susan, her brother Justin, local dignitaries, Civic Center staff, state Senator David Cain and other friends and relatives gathered in the southwest wing to honor her memory.
   Cain traveled to the get-together in a special effort to read a Texas Senate proclamation to the small assembly and to present it to the O'Rears. The document was passed during the last session of the Senate and was sponsored by Cain.
   "Ashley was a joy to all those who knew her and it is an honor to be able to celebrate her life with this proclamation," Cain said.
   The 14-year-old was also honored with the dedication of a park bench in her name. The park bench graces the covered mall steps leading into and out of the southwestern doors and is designated with a small plaque bearing Ashley's name.
   That Ashley was remembered in this manner at the Civic Center was a joy to her father, Paul.

     "It is so special and so right that Ashley is being remembered this way," Paul said. "We had her funeral here at the Civic Center and she loved her community and was loved by her community."
   Paul praised the staff of the Civic Center highly and said they were an integral part of the community that had bonded with the O'Rears before, during and after Ashley's death.

   "We have a very fond place in our hearts for the staff members," Paul said. "They've been very good for our family."



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