Family of Ashley Hardin gather in memory of her birthday
Ashley Hardin would have celebrated her 38th birthday on April 8, 2023. Instead, her family celebrated her memory. The mother of three children was murdered on July 22, 2022. Her body was found behind Ecolab, 5151 Rockton Rd, in Roscoe.
Ashley’s ex-boyfriend Rayshawn Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping on Oct. 27, 2022. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Smith died by suicide on Christmas Day, 2022 in the Stateville Correction Center.
Ashley had previously worked at Ecolab Corporation. “We were all shocked and saddened by her death,” plant manager Tom Ramsden said. “The company and our employees wanted to find a positive way to honor her.”
Ecolab and their employees raised money to install a bright blue commemorative bench along Stone Bridge Trail in Roscoe. Roscoe Township assisted in placing the bench. Additionally, some of the funds will supply Christmas and birthday gifts for Ashley’s children.
“When people sit on the bench, hopefully they will reflect on a beautiful life that was lost,” Ramsden said.
Ashley’s parents David and Kimberly Hardin, from Sterling, IL, her siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends gathered around the blue bench to remember Ashley and celebrate the day of her birth, April 8, 1985.
Ashley’s friend Travis Lane sang a special “happy birthday” to Ashley.
“She was an amazing sister and friend,” Ashley’s brother Josh said.
Those who knew Ashley remember her beautiful singing.