In Memoriam - James Knox "Jim" Ashford (1937-2021)

We are saddened by the loss of College of Business graduate and 1996 MSU National Alumnus of the Year James "Jim" Knox Ashford, who passed away on Monday, September 20, 2021. He was 84. Born in Starkville, MS, Ashford graduated from Mississippi State in 1958 and completed the Harvard University Advanced Management program in 1976. He was also a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Naval Reserve.

Ashford retired as president and CEO of Case IH, a subsidiary of Tenneco Inc., and owner of investment and management group, The Ashford Group. He was also the CEO of AP Parts International Inc.

Ashford was recognized for numerous achievements and was voted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. He was awarded Outstanding Business Leader of Northwood Institute, a Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, the 1986 Outstanding Alumnus Award by Richard Adkerson School of Accountancy, was named COB Alumnus of the Year in 1995, and MSU’s National Alumnus of the Year in 1996. He served on the MSU Foundation Board for 18 years and served as National General Chairman of the Campaign for MSU in 1993.

He is survived by his wife Linda Hobbs Ashford, three children, Diane A. Denton (Bill) of Cornelius, NC; James K. Ashford, Jr. (Jennifer) of Davidson, NC; and Catherine A. Hensley (Andrew) of Charlotte, NC; seven grandchildren; Linda's children Jim Hobbs, Christy Hobbs Harpole, and David Hobbs and their families. He is preceded in death by his first wife of 52 years Jacqueline Martin Ashford and his brother Charlie Rabb Ashford, Jr.

In lieu of flowers, memorials should be made to the MSU Foundation, Inc. for the James K. Ashford Endowed Scholarship at P.O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762, online at, or a charity of your choice.

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