MORENO VALLEY, Ca.—A health education and conference center on Wednesday was formally named for retiring Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley and his wife, Mary, in recognition of their lifelong commitment to public service.
The Ashleys, both in their 80s, were surrounded by friends, family and colleagues who came to celebrate the couple’s many contributions to Riverside County and Riverside University Health System—Medical Center. The campus of the 439-bed public teaching hospital in Moreno Valley is home to the newly named Marion and Mary Ashley Health Education and Conference Center, where thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals train annually.
Mary Ashley is a founding member of the nonprofit RUHS Foundation. Since launching 29 years ago, the Foundation has raised millions of dollars to support pediatric and other programs at the Medical Center through signature events like the Festival of Trees…for the love of a child, which takes place each November in downtown Riverside.
Marion Ashley has overseen the growth and expansion of the Medical Center since 2002 when he was first elected Fifth District supervisor. He will retire from his longtime post at the end of this year. Dr. Arnold Tabuenca, chief medical officer at RUHS Medical Center credited the supervisor’s leadership for helping RUHS Medical Center successfully navigate one of the rockiest periods in its 125-year history.
Just five years ago, Tabuenca said the Medical Center was losing $1 million a week. “There were many voices in the community saying ‘close the doors’, ‘sell the hospital’, ‘let it go,” Tabuenca recalled. “I honestly believe we might not be here today if it weren’t for Supervisor Ashley’s leadership, his vision and determination to improve healthcare and access to services.”
The Ashleys, closely knit and sitting side by side as they have done throughout more than 50 years of marriage, smiled and sometimes teared up during a tribute video and the recollections of colleagues and friends. Marion Ashley called his and Mary’s decades in public life together “the journey of a lifetime”.
“It has been a journey filled with peaks and valleys,” Marion Ashley said. “One of the greatest peaks is the love and connection we have found with this Medical Center. That’s why having a building here that bears both our names means so much to us, our children and our grandchildren. We are so proud to have played a small part in the enduring legacy of this great institution.”