Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fair Winds and Following Seas - Walter Ashe

Asiatic Fleet Historian: Walter F. Ashe, Lt.SC, USN (Ret) (91) died July 26, 2007. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, he was the son of Walter F. Ashe, Sr. and Genevieve (Ashe) Ross. Walter a decorated Navy Supply Corps Lieutenant served in WWII and the Korean conflict and retired from the U. S. Navy, after 30 years honorable service, in Key West, Fla. on October 1, 1966.

Among the many ships and stations he served, two were his favorites: the USS ASHEVILLE (PG21) and the battle-ship North Carolina (BB-55) 1941-1943. He served in all enlisted ratings, promoted to warrant officer in 1945 and selected for Lieutenant in 1961.

During WW II, he received the Navy Unit Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, China Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (9-stars), World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Philippine Liberation Ribbon (2-stars), and United Nation’s Medal.

Upon retirement from the U. S. Navy at NAS Key West, he undertook a career as a professional artist and opened the Key West Guild Hall Gallery. In 1983, he moved his family to Asheville, NC. In 1984, he organized, with the sponsorship of the Asheville Citizen-Times, a reunion for the former USS ASHEVILLE sailors who perished during battle in World War II on March 3, 1942. It became a permanent organization. He established the Naval Exhibit at the City Hall to display artifacts from the four warships named after our city. For these efforts, he received the 1992 Western North Carolina Historical Society Achievement Award. In 1986, then Mayor Louis Bisette appointed him to a committee to achieve a new warship named after our city. With his help, the members of the committee saw the USS ASHEVILLE (SSN-758) commissioned September 28, 1991.

In 1998, he relieved Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley, USN (RET) as editor of the Navy newsletter China GunBoatMan. He held that position until December 2006.

He was a member of the Asheville Fleet Reserve Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a volunteer for the Asheville Police Department, and a member of St. Eugene Catholic Church while in Asheville. He recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida to Fleet Landing to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife Adelaide Florence Brooks Ashe, one daughter Marilyn Joan (Ashe) Wilson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., a son Walter John Ashe, from Canyon Country, Cal., and grandchildren Mark Lewin, Michael Lewin, Jenna Rogers, Jaret Rogers. Ian Ashe, Vernon Ashe, Jada Ashe, Brooke Ashe, Danielle Bernal. Great grandchildren are Alan Lewin, Jessica Lewin, and Matthew Lewin.

The funeral was 11 AM July 30 at Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home, 4750 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Interment Ponte Vedra Valley Cemetery in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.