Ashton B.T. Smith Jr., 79, of West Chester and Montana, died Friday, March 7, 2014, at his home in West Chester, surrounded by his loving family.
He was the husband of the late Louise Mendenhall Smith.
Born in West Chester, he was the son of the late Ashton B.T. Smith Sr. and the late Katharine Moses Smith.
Ash was a 1953 graduate of West Chester Henderson High School and attended West Chester State Teachers College for 3½ years. In 1960, he graduated from Eckels College of Mortuary Science and became a licensed funeral director
He proudly served in the U.S. Navy
Air as an ECM operator on a flight crew in Argentia, Newfoundland, from 1957-1959.
Ash was the owner and operator of Joseph B. Smith & Son Funeral Home in West Chester since the death of his father in 1970. Being established in 1875 by his great-grandfather Joseph B. Smith, he became the fourth generation to operate the business. In 1994, Ash merged his funeral home with the Reilly & DellaVecchia Funeral Home and the business is now known as DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home Inc.
He was proud of the many community and fraternal organizations and committees that he served on. Ash was past chairman of the Wawaset Hunt Show, former past president and treasurer of the Chester County Funeral Directors Association, 18 years as a member and former chairman of the Civil Service Commission, co-chairman of the 175th Anniversary of West Chester, and a former board member of the chamber of commerce, all of West Chester.
His work with the community was rewarded when he received Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1982, Elk of the Year in 1982 and Small Businessman of the Year in 1992 by the West Chester Chamber of Commerce.
Ash was a member of the West Chester F&AM Masonic Lodge #322, Church of the Holy Trinity, where he was a former vestryman and senior warden, and an honorary member and a former advisory board member of the Chester County Lodge #11 Fraternal Order of Police. He also was a member of the Good Fellowship Ambulance Club, and the Rotary Club
, where he served as a former board member for both, the B.P.O. Elks Lodge
#853 where he served a former trustee, Fame Fire Company, and the West Chester Fish & Game Association, all of West Chester.
Ash always said that being born of a family that the community has been good to, it was very easy to give back some of yourself in sincere appreciation.
Over the years, Ash enjoyed collecting western art and the many friends he made at the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction and the C.M. Russell Auction in Great Falls, Mont. In 1998, retirement took him to Montana where he bought a home in Utica and lived a lifelong dream of working on a ranch, riding horses and farming at R & S Angus Ranch for three years and then Swanz Ranch until 2012. He also helped his good friends Floyd and Linda Forbes in his excavating business and making shipping crates for her taxidermy business. Ash enjoyed his workshop and the many projects he would get into. He could fix just about everything and could make just about anything out of wood.
Ash was a member of Hobson United Methodist Church, Sapphire Village Mining Association, and president of the Utica Rod & Gun Club. He previously served on the National Advisory Board for the Charles M. Russell Museum for 11 years.
Ash is survived by his loving daughter, Patricia Smith Love and her husband, Richard R., of West Chester; son, Ashton B.T. Smith III of Exton; grandchildren, Bryan Richard Love, Mark Ellis Love, Michael Ashton Love and Ryleigh Downey Smith Grady; great-grandson, Conner Cushman Love; stepchildren, Lyn C. Kunda of Barnegat, N.J., and William M. Martin of Coatesville; and step-grandson, Carl Kunda.
Relatives and friends are invited to his funeral service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home Inc., 410 N. Church St., West Chester, 610-696-1181, www.DellaFH.com.
Interment will be in Oaklands Cemetery in West Chester.
His viewing will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., with a Masonic Service at 7 p.m., on Friday, March 14, and from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, Mr. Smith has requested that contributions be sent to Camilla Hall Nursing Home, c/o Mission Advancement, P.O. Box 200, Immaculata, PA 19345. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have always had a special place in the hearts of our family and we are truly blessed for their love, support and prayers over many generations.