Ashley Meagan Tootle Sparrow blessed this world with her presence June 1st, 1989. She was the calm before the storm that was hurricane Hugo. Actually, Ashley was a surprise gift from the Lord to her parents Anna and John Phillips and Horace Lindsey Tootle. But she was the happiest of surprises and proved to be the last piece of the family puzzle that no one knew was missing.
Her 5 older siblings tormented Ashley thoroughly and appropriately as all older siblings should. Hanging her upside down by her ankles over the front porch rails was just a typical Saturday. For the longest time, Ashley truly believed the milkman was her father. It was only recently she confessed she wondered why he never came to visit. Ashley leaves behind a string of siblings of great variety. Firstly, her eldest brother Jacob Tootle, the self-proclaimed sugar daddy. Amy Sauls, her eldest sister who never has a bad hair day and is married to Billy Sauls, which is Ashley's best-looking brother-in-law. Then there is older warrior sister Kelly Humphries, who always goes to bat for Ashley and is married Little Nicky, who’s current legal name is Chris Humphries. Next, there is first responder, older brother, and local hero Nathan, his prettier half (Celena Stewart) Phillips and Ashley’s other older brother gear jammer “Shine” John David Phillips who is married to the lovely “Ladybug” Morgan Phillips. And of course, who could forget the most spectacular, fabulous aunt, Michelle Brumley. Ashley was a devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews: Alex and Connor Tootle, Lily Sauls, Marissa and Jack Phillips, precious little Sadie Marie Phillips; and numerous other family members.
Ashley was independent from an early age insisting to do things herself and on her own terms. As a teenager Ashley's rebellious spirit led to many a mischievous adventure that can only be whispered in myths and spoken in legends as the pictures and evidence have been taken into eternity lodged between her bountiful bosom.
Ashley was not short on character, but she was short in stature. That lack of height did not keep her from fearlessly attacking injustices and standing up for and defending the people she loved. Her bite was just as bad as her bark, if not worse. Those who crossed her were quick to learn the truest definition of wrath. One word that could be used to describe her spirit, which is still so insufficient, is bold. That bold spirit was drawn from a generosity that was mainly rivaled by her love for all. To be Ashley's friend was to be fiercely loved with unquestionable loyalty.
To Ashley's credit her taste in movies was impeccable as evidence by her disgust for the movie The Green Hornet. However, her taste in men could be characterized as somewhat questionable as seen by her dislike of Ryan Reynolds and her undying love for her husband, Ben Sparrow.
You could always count on Ashley. There was not a time of day or night that she would not come to help if she was called. When Stinky Bubbles showed up, you knew you were in good hands and good company. Ashley was lighthearted and fun to be around, laughter came easy to her. As Charles Dickens said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” Ashley's laughter was somehow able to simultaneously captivate and spread joy throughout any room. The sense of joy her giggling brought was one of life's sweetest treasures. The loss of her laughter has left a void in our souls that will only be filled when we meet Ashley again in heaven and can once more hear her jubilant laugh.
Ashley leaves behind a red headed, spunky, energetic, and astonishing 7-year-old daughter, Sophia Sparrow. Sophia was Ashley's universe. All the attributes of mothering came naturally to Ashley (since she did learn from the best). Ashley was patient, playful, soft but firm when needed and the rock of the family. Proverbs 31:25-26 “A mother is clothed with strength and dignity, laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.” Ashley lived those words. Of all life’s lessons Ashley taught Sophia the need to understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ’s salvation was the most important. It is said that mothers hold their children's hand for a short while, but it’s their hearts they hold forever. While Sophia's hand was held by her mother’s for a shorter time than most, we know that Ashley will always hold Sophia’s heart no matter the distance between them.
Not only was Ashley a dedicated and remarkable wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend she was her mother's precious pearl. She was an angel here on Earth whose absence will be felt for lifetimes to come. There is no doubt that Ashley is rejoicing in heaven. Her salvation was firmly rooted in the gospel of the life, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While we are comforted with the knowledge that we will see Ashley again in heaven, our hearts are crushed and we are grief-stricken knowing that she will no longer be here to brighten our days.
Ashley left us a message on her Facebook page, little did we know how relevant it would become. It reads: God is saying to you today, stay strong. I am your strength. I see what you are dealing with, and I will bring you through. Trust me through each storm. I have never left you before, and I won't leave you now. Better days are coming. Trust in me.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 2:00 on Friday afternoon, August 20th, 2021, from Clyde Church of God with Reverend Jason Pope officiating. The family will be receiving friends Thursday evening, from 5-7 at Norton Funeral Home.
Norton Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Sparrow family.
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