James Wilson Ashcraft, known as “Ashcraft” and “Poppy”, died on Friday, November 17, 2023, at the age of 88.
Ashcraft was born in Abbeville, SC on December 17th, 1934, to the late Wilson Stewart Ashcraft and Marie White Ashcraft and was the oldest of six children. He graduated from Abbeville High School and Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Textile Management. In high school he met the love of his life, Lois Mary Bond. They married in 1957 and earlier this year celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.
Ashcraft joined Milliken & Company in 1958 and retired after 52 years of service. During his career with Milliken, he worked in Abbeville, Johnston, Barnwell, Toccoa, GA, and Spartanburg. As told by fellow Milliken friends, Ashcraft was hard-working, dedicated and well respected. He was an unapologetically tough, but fair manager and “ran a tight ship.” One minute he would be providing strong, resolute feedback and the next minute he wanted to know “where are we having lunch?”
At 6’4″, Ashcraft was larger than life. When he entered a room, he would always extend a firm handshake or offer a big hug letting people know they were important and valued. He had a gift for being personable and “connecting” with strangers, friends, and loved ones alike. Ashcraft enjoyed hearing about a person’s history, their activities or simply how they were doing. Poppy was a wonderful provider and supported his wife, children, and grandchildren in all their many endeavors. His grandchildren were his pride and joy and he enthusiastically and pridefully attended every sporting event, recital and school function. To say Ashcraft was an avid Clemson fan is an understatement. His blood surely runneth orange. He and his family spent many wonderful Saturdays in Clemson cheering on the Tigers.
In the past few years, he and Lois had several caregivers, and he made an impact on their lives. From financial guidance to personal relationships to education, he gave life advice daily and encouraged them to improve themselves and be the best they could be. It can honestly be said that even during the time he was homebound, he continued to positively influence the lives of others.
He is survived by his two daughters, Jane Lollis (Randy) of Greer, SC and Susan Ashcraft of Greenville, SC (Arthur Yex, Spartanburg); grandchildren, Mary Catherine Lollis, Anna Lollis (Dylan Mervis), Rachel Mack and Thomas Mack; one brother, William Stewart “Bill” Ashcraft of Due West, SC and three sisters, Sarah Margaret Burns of Durham, NC, Barbara Jean Barnett of Athens, AL, and Frances Marie Coleman of Anderson, SC, and numerous nieces and nephews.
James was preceded in death by his wife, Lois Bond Ashcraft and one brother, Franklin Lee Ashcraft.
The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Agape Hospice of Spartanburg and Home Instead of Spartanburg for providing loving care during the last months of Ashcraft’s life.
A gathering to celebrate his life will be held at a later date in Abbeville.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Samaritan’s Purse or a charity of choice.
Friends are encouraged to share their favorite memories of Ashcraft with the family by clicking on the button labeled “Leave A Message, Share A Memory” below.