Dr. John W. “Bill” Ashworth

Class of 1931 / Inducted 2018 / Certificate of Appreciation

Dr. John W. “Bill” Ashworth graduated from Emory & Henry in 1931, and served as the Emory & Henry campus physician and the Emory community doctor for many years.  All who were lucky to know him remember a twinkle in his eye and a keen sense of humor. And we fondly remember a purple pill that fixed almost anything.

Honored with the Certificate of Appreciation as a team doctor, but it is also worth mentioning that he was a three-sport athlete – playing football and basketball and competing in track & field. He was also an honor roll student, president of the Kappa Phi Kappa honor society, a member of Blue Key Honor Society and Pi Gamma Mu honor society. And he was a member of the Hermesian Debate Society.

After his student days, he graduated from UVA Medical School. He spent the bulk of his medical career practicing as a surgeon in Baltimore. He also had a meritorious military career. In World War II he served as a hospital commander in the Pacific Theater. During the Korean conflict, he served in that same role while stationed in Germany.  Dr. Ashworth actually played a very famous role in history: he was the surgeon who operated on the Prime Minister of Japan after he tried to commit suicide at the end of World War II.

Once Dr. Ashworth returned to Emory & Henry, he and his wife Helen were fixtures in the community. Their home, now the bed and breakfast across the street, even had a little office in one end so he could receive patients at the house.

On the sidelines of the football team, Dr. Ashworth took over for Dr. Hunter Wolfe. Dr. Ashworth’s professionalism and calm demeanor were welcomed by players and coaching staff alike. And Dr. Ashworth must have found it fun to be connected to the Emory & Henry football program again.

As someone who knew him, I can tell you he always made time for everyone. He loved Emory & Henry and he lived a life of service to both our E&H family and our community.  Dr. Ashworth brought honor to himself, his family, and his alma mater. He was a champion for our E&H athletic program who gave time to every athlete on our campus. In 1980, he was awarded the William and Martha DeFriece Award in recognition of his service to the U.S. Army, the city of Baltimore, and Emory & Henry College.