Adam Ashworth Obituary, Death – On Friday afternoon, a group of family came together at Town Square Park to dedicate a space to a member they had lost to COVID-19. Capt. Jeff Bahlmann speaks alongside St. George Police Officer Adam Ashworth’s family at the dedication of a memorial bench in his honor at Town Square Park, St. George, Utah, March 18, 2022 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News That family was the St. George Police Department and the community they served. And that member was Officer Adam Ashworth. A memorial bench and plaque were dedicated to the 39-year-old officer and father of three who died of COVID-19 last July 22 in front of more than 50 members of the police force and the community, as well as Ashworth’s widow and family.
In dedicating the memorial, which sits just to the west of the park’s carousel, police Capt. Jeff Bahlmann spoke of the sense of family between officers. “Adam was one of us. He was somebody that I go to calls with. He’s somebody that, that I would go through a door with and really just go out and help people,” Bahlmann told St. George News. “He’s somebody that I knew personally. I knew his family and those types of things. And so it really does hit closer to home and, and really makes me appreciate it for the support and love that we have for each other.” While no St. George Police officer has ever lost their life in the line of duty, Ashworth’s death is the closet the department has come to that. The Officer Down Memorial Page considers police officers who died of COVID-19 as dying in the line of duty, and Ashworth is included.
Along with honoring Ashworth, the metal bench and plaque are the first permanent memorial in Southern Utah dedicated to someone who died of COVID-19. As of Friday, 611 people locally have died of the disease since the first death in March 2020. Still to be added to the memorial will be the ability for people to get a visual presentation of Ashworth and his life’s work using their mobile device. A QR code will be on the memorial that people can scan with their cell phones. The code will activate a video montage showing Ashworth on duty as well as his non-officer side through family photos. Ashworth’s widow, Bobbi Anne, said she wanted the memorial to be more than just a place for people to sit. “We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a bench or just a plaque that was just passed by and people are like, ‘Well, I don’t know who this guy is.’” Bobbi Anne Ashworth said.
As a bicycle officer, Ashworth patrolled the park where the memorial now sits. He later became an officer who helped lead the training of other officers and a member of the department’s honor guard. The bench started as an idea by Bobbi Anne Ashworth to have a place to remember her husband. He was cremated without a burial plot. But the Ashworth family learned that they had an extended family of police officers who wanted to help. “We didn’t have a place where we could go to remember him, to grieve for him, to just visit and feel his spirit there. So I had mentioned, I wanted a bench somewhere,” Ashworth said. “I initially thought it would be at a cemetery or something like that, but then the police department and the city came and said, ‘Well, we would like to do that for you and why not in the place where he rode his bike and was more a part of the community than anywhere else.’”
There also might have been something appropriate to have the memorial right near the carousel. Especially when he was a bicycle officer, Ashworth was known for his interactions with kids, handing out stickers and candy. “He just had a special, special place in his heart for kids because they were so mesmerized by the police department, the police officers,” Bobbi Anne Ashworth said. “Especially during this day and age where there’s so much scrutiny on the police, he just wanted to inspire the younger generation to see them in a different light. It’s just not putting on a uniform and being a hero. It is an everyday man who was to do good in the world.” At the same time, Ashworth’s widow spoke during the ceremony about her late husband being the kind of person who didn’t want to have a big fuss made about him. She said if he was there, he would have been “way in the back.” Bobbi Ashworth smiled. “He’d be like, ‘Bobbi, what the hell? I don’t need this. Like just remember me, I’m good.’”