Party celebrates Ashwill's 90th birthday


by: Submitted Photo - Mel Ashwill plays on Mrs. Custer's piano at the Custer Museum in North Dakota.

   The family of Melvin Ashwill welcomes anyone who knows him, and wishes to congratulate him on his 90th birthday, to a birthday party from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, at his home at 940 S.W. Dover Lane, in Madras.
   Ashwill, his wife Betty and his children, David, Forest and Leslie Ashwill moved from McMinnville to Madras in 1964. He was a band and choir teacher at the Warm Springs schools.
   He taught there for 12 years and very much enjoyed his time there. He also taught many Outdoor School classes on geology and paleontology.
   Ashwill began his second career as an amateur paleontologist, after taking classes in Bend. He became well-known in national paleontologist circles when his materials and research helped professional paleontologists with their findings regarding the Central Oregon region.
   He was honored with the Harrell L. Strimple Award for his contributions to paleontology in 1991.
   Ashwill created a small "museum" of all his geological findings in a small building on his property. He has hosted a number of field trips.
   Bev Ashwill once asked a Madras resident if he knew Melvin, who was an amateur paleontologist. The gentleman said, "Melvin? I sure do know him; he's an amateur everything!"
   A musician, teacher, rockhounder, geologist and paleontologist, Ashwill is well-known in Madras and Warm Springs. His latest interest is art, as he has taken up painting.