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Peter Ashman

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Peter Gregory Ashman, 61, died on August 5, 2013 at his daughter's home in Menlo Park, California, after a fifteen month battle with pancreatic cancer. He passed away peacefully with his two daughters and sons-in-law by his side.

Peter was born to Robert and Gloria Ashman in Amarillo, Texas on June 30, 1952. He was the oldest child and is survived by his five siblings: Mike, John, Mary, Paul and Rob. As a military family they traveled the world. He graduated high school in New York, studied at Dartmouth and then University of Maryland, where he received a Bachelor's degree in history. Peter had a great fondness for the book "To Kill a Mockingbird," which inspired him to attend the University of Virginia to study law.

In 1987 Peter was appointed as a District Court Judge in Palmer, Alaska. He was on the bench for 16 years and made a significant impact on the legal community of Alaska. His professional accomplishments are numerous and distinguished, culminating in the reception of the Judge Nora Guinn award in 2013 by the Alaska Bar Association for his work in pursuing aid to rural communities, especially the Alaskan Native population.

In 1983, Peter married Kay Rawlings in Anchorage. Though they divorced in 1992, they remained close friends while raising their daughters: Jenny and Elizabeth. Peter would always say that his greatest achievement in life was that of his girls, and the best choice he ever made was to be a father. He was an involved, compassionate, and loving dad. The calm, thoughtful, and just personality that permeated his courtroom was the same at home.

Peter was most alive when he was with his daughters, teaching them to love and appreciate all that he loved. While his girls were young, he made sure that they appreciated photography, poetry, music and art, taking them to museums and galleries, and always had a variety of music playing in their home. As a young man he joined the Baker's Street Irregulars, a Sherlockian society, that he remained involved throughout his life. His last great love was the ukulele. Peter was integral in the formation of a ukelele group of Alaskan judges and lawyers. While he would often say that he was an amateur at all these hobbies, his spirit and enthusiasm that drove those hobbies was that of a master.

He battled cancer bravely to have fifteen more months with his family, to walk both his daughters down the aisle, and to uphold his character as one who preservers and fights up until the very end. He will be dearly missed as a father, son, brother, friend, and colleague.

A celebration of his life will be held on September 18th at 6:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church. Reception to follow. Please bring instruments to participate in a musical tribute to Peter.

In lieu of flowers please donate to:

Mission Hospice:

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network:

Homeward Bound:

Published in from Aug. 18 to Aug. 19, 2013