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Thomas L. Ashley
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Frazier Reams
Succeeded by Ed Weber
Personal details
Born Thomas William Ludlow Ashley
(1923-01-11)January 11, 1923
Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
Died June 15, 2010(2010-06-15) (aged 87)
Leland, Michigan, U.S.
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kathleen Lucey
(m. 1967; her death 1997)
Children 3
Alma mater Yale University
University of Toledo
Ohio State University College of Law
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars World War II
Pacific Theater of Operations

Thomas William Ludlow "Lud" Ashley (January 11, 1923 – June 15, 2010) was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as a U.S. representative from Ohio from 1955 to 1981.[1]

Early life

Ashley is listed second from the top on the Skull and Bones entry in the 1948 Yale Banner.

Ludlow was born on January 11, 1923 in Toledo, Ohio and was raised on Robinwood Avenue in what is known as the Old West End. He was the son of Mary Alida Gouverneur (née Ludlow) Ashley and William Meredith Ashley,[2] who owned a small steel manufacturing firm. His older brother William was killed in May 1944, at the age of 22, when his Army bomber exploded during a training mission over Massachusetts.[3] His maternal grandparents were Harriet Frances Putnam (née Carnochan) Ludlow, a direct descendant of Lewis Morris (signer of the Declaration of Independence), and Thomas William Ludlow III.[2] Among his great-grandfathers were James Mitchell Ashley, who was also a congressman from Ohio (who left the Democratic Party because of his anti-slavery beliefs), and Dr. John Murray Carnochan, a surgeon who performed the first successful neurosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia.[4] He attended Maumee Valley Country Day School and graduated from the Kent School in Connecticut in 1942.[5] During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army as a corporal in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Following the war, Ashley attended Yale University, where he graduated in 1948. While at Yale, he was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones along with future U.S. President George H. W. Bush.[6]


Following his graduation from Yale, he worked with the Toledo Publicity and Efficiency Commission. After encouragement from Michael DiSalle, who was then mayor of Toledo and later governor of Ohio, he began studying law during night classes at the University of Toledo Law School while working at the Commission. He then graduated from Ohio State University Law School at Columbus in 1951. He was admitted to the bar the same year and began practicing law.

Ashley joined the staff of Radio Free Europe (RFE) in 1952. He served in Europe for RFE and was the co-director of the press section and later was the assistant director of special projects. He resigned from RFE on March 1, 1954 in order to wage a successful bid for Congress.[3]

U.S. Congress

Ashley was elected to Congress in 1954, beating the incumbent Frazier Reams, an independent, in a three-way race by 4,000 votes. He went on to serve thirteen terms in Congress and served as the Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy (Ad Hoc) from 1977 until 1979 and then as Chairman of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries from 1979 until 1981.[3] In 1961, Ashley was one of six congressmen who voted to cut off funds for the House Un-American Activities Committee. He helped pass the momentous 1964 Civil Rights Act and was a proponent of anti-poverty and housing legislation.[3]

In the 1980 general election, Ashley lost in an upset to Republican challenger Ed Weber.[7]

Later career

Ashley was a member of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation and served on many corporate boards including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage lenders in the United States.[3]

Personal life

Ashley was twice married. His marriage was in August 1956 to Margaret Mary Sherman but they separated shortly thereafter. He married for the second time to Kathleen Lucey (d. 1997), by her uncle, Msgr. James O'Toole, on August 26, 1967 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey.[5] Kathleen, the daughter of Charley Lucey (editor of The Times Newspapers in Trenton), was a graduate for Trinity College and the Georgetown Law School and was the Washington editor for the United States Savings and Loan League.[5] Together, they were the parents of a daughter and two sons:[3]

  • Lise Ashley, who married Steven Francis Xavier Murphy, a son of Major General Dennis J. Murphy.[8]
  • William Meredith Ashley, who married Monica Ann Manginello in 2008.[9]
  • Mark Michael Ashley.

His wife died of heart failure at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1997.[10] Ashley lived in Leland, Michigan until his death from melanoma at his home on June 15, 2010.[3] After his death, former President Bush said in a statement that he Barbara Bush "mourn the loss of a very close friend" and said Ashley "might well have been my very best friend in life."[3]


  1. "Former Congressman Ashley dies at age 87; known as 'Mr. Housing'". Toledo Blade. June 15, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 of 1880, Harvard College (1780-) Class (1920) (in en). Fortieth Anniversary Report. Harvard College. p. 233. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Zaborney, Mark (June 16, 2010). "Congressman known for aiding housing, civil rights dies at 87" (in en). Toledo Blade. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  4. "Death of Dr. Carnochan; Stricken with Apoplexy in His Bath--His Career.". The New York Times. 29 October 1887. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "T.L. Ashley Weds Kathleen Lucey". The New York Times. 27 August 1967. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  6. Robbins, Alexandra (2002). Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-72091-7. 
  7. Press, The Associated (16 June 2010). "Thomas L. Ashley, Ex-Ohio Democratic Congressman, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  8. "MURPHY STEVEN FRANCIS XAVIER". The Washington Post. October 4, 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  9. "Monica Manginello, Meredith Ashley". The New York Times. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 
  10. "KATHLEEN LUCEY ASHLEY, Editor". Washington Post. October 14, 1997. Retrieved 17 May 2019. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frazier Reams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ed Weber
Political offices
Preceded by
John M. Murphy
New York
Chairman of House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee
Succeeded by
Walter B. Jones, Sr.
North Carolina

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