A businessman honored by the Archdiocese of Louisville during its “Salute to Catholic School Alumni” on March 18 made a special point to credit an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph for helping him become a success.
John S. Asher, primary spokesman and vice president for Racing Communications at Churchill Downs since 1997, was honored with the Community Service Award at the ceremony held at downtown Louisville’s Galt House. Upon receiving the award, Asher made sure to acknowledge the impact that Ursuline Sister Mary Matthias Ward, his grade school teacher at St. Paul School in Leitchfield, Ky., had on his life. Sister Mary Matthias was present for the ceremony.
“I taught John Asher in grades 6, 7 and 8,” Sister Mary Matthias said. “He was a student always wanting to excel, always willing to take suggestions. The school had no athletics so learning was important. We did a lot of creative things such as: science fairs, history fairs, spelling bees, math contests and acting out scripture,” she said. “I tried to make learning interesting and fun. John didn’t have a ‘live in father’ so he was fathered by uncles and male cousins. He seemed to never suffer from that.”
The two have stayed in touch through reunions at St. Paul or deaths of loved ones. She learned how much Asher credited her for his education after he mentioned her during a speech he gave at a national convention.
“John is a hard worker, a brilliant young man, a lover of family and friends,” Sister Mary Matthias said. She now serves as director of Local Community Life at the Motherhouse in Maple Mount.
Asher serves on the board of television station WLKY-32’s “Spirit of Louisville Foundation,” which oversees the annual Bell Awards for community service. He also serves on the boards of Simmons College of Kentucky and GuardiaCare Services. He has received multiple honors through the years for volunteer service and leadership. He and his wife, Dee, have three daughters.