UPDATE: Funeral Saturday for J.D. Ashley Sr.

A memorial service for J.D. Ashley Sr. of North Little Rock, who died Wednesday and was patriarch of his family's real-estate development firm, will be held Saturday at Levy Baptist Church.

The service will begin at 1:30 p.m. Levy Baptist is located at 3501 Pike Avenue in North Little Rock.

Visitation will be held at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills, 7724 Landers Road in Sherwood, beginning Friday at 6 p.m.

Ashley was 87. The Ashley Group is among the largest commercial property managers in Arkansas, with a portfolio of company-owned projects that extended outside the state.

Ashley died after more than a week in intensive care at Little Rock's Baptist Medical Center.

He retired from the company three years ago.

Gregg Mueller, director of operations for the Ashley Co., said holdings owned in part or in total by Ashley and his family members and trusts include 24 shopping centers varying in size from 14,000 SF to 347,000 SF . They also include several single tenant buildings and tracts of land for future development.

"Mr. Ashley's keen sense of where future development is likely to occur, his both winsome and magnetic personality, and his finely developed art of negotiating a deal will be missed by his business associates," Mueller said.

Roots Near Leslie

Ashley was raised on a farm in Searcy County near Leslie, where he graduated from high school. After studying at what was then State Teachers College, he went to Little Rock to learn arc welding.

He later worked in Detriot ship yards before entering the military in 1942, serving nearly a year in the Air Force in France and Germany before returing to Leslie in 1945.

Later came entry into the restaurant buisiness and then real estate. Among his early developments were Pike Plaza and Indian Hills Shopping Center in North Little Rock.

Ashley eventually ran his business with his sons, J.D. Ashley Jr. and Rick Ashley. A third son, Todd, worked in residential real estate.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the BAPTIST HEALTH Foundation, 9601 Interstate 630, Little Rock, AR, 72205, (501) 202-1839.