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Garnett Ashby

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ASHBY C.L.G. (Garnett) Garnett Ashby passed away peacefully just before dawn in his home surrounded by his family on May 14th, the morning after his and Eleanor's 56th anniversary. He is survived by his loving wife Eleanor, his three children Stuart Ashby-Fore of Atlantic Beach, Elizabeth 'Baba' Frew and her husband Peter from Watertown, CT, and Linden and his wife Susan from Milton, GA, as well as his nine grand children: Anna Lester Merkel and husband Weston, Olivia, Francis Garnett Harrison, Arthur, and Gus Fore, Amanda and Garnett Maxmillian Frew, Grace and Savannah Ashby, and his niece Ellie Slade. Garnett was born in Jacksonville on August 13, 1927, the son of Clarence and Eloise Ashby. He grew up on Montgomery Place in Avondale, taking advantage of the river and all that it had to offer. He was an avid sailor, swimmer, skier, diver, power-boater; in short, if it involved boats and water he loved it. He attended the Bolles School as well as the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. In 1945 Garnett joined the navy, and hearing about this, the Japanese promptly surrendered! After he was discharged he went on to attend The University of The South, 'Sewanee', which he loved and supported for the rest of his life. Upon returning home Garnett went to work for his grandfather, Tharp Roberts, at his company The Monticello Drug Company where he thrived, eventually becoming the president, a position he maintained until 1996 at which time he sold his interest and devoted his attentions to the Monticello Bank. In the summer of 1953 a young beauty named Eleanor Johnson caught his eye while they were both attendants in the wedding of mutual friends. Garnett wasted no time in stating his intentions, proposing, and marrying her. After returning from their honeymoon they made a decision that would change their lives; they left town and moved to Atlantic Beach where they have lived happily in the same house to this day. In 1968 Garnett bought his beloved wooden hulled Nimphus sailboat known widely in local maritime circles as the 'Staunch'. After retirement, he and Eleanor were fortunate enough to enjoy many wonderful trips around the world, often with their friends Nancy McDonald, Katherine Grant, and Anne Murphy whom Eleanor jokingly referred to as Garnett's 'harem'. In all of their travels they held a particular love for the Scottish Highlands, returning every year to their home away from home, Applecross. He was a voracious reader, and was completely contended when immersed in many books at a time. Garnett was a man of vision, often seeing trends well before others took notice. He opened a car dealership with his childhood friend Kenneth Merrill called 'The Car Store' in 1970 where they sold Datsuns, Rovers/ Land Rovers, BMWs, and Triumphs, small interesting imports at a time when people were only thinking Chevy. He built Kona Skateboard Park in 1976, which is still in operation today as the oldest, continuously operating Skateboard Park in the country. With his good friend Doug Milne and others he founded 'Florida Clearveiw Cable Company' in 1978, installing and providing cable access for communities all over northeast Florida and South Georgia before selling to Continental Cable in 1986. He was involved in charities including The Boys Club and The Rotary Club, as well as serving as a trustee of The Ida M. Stevens Foundation and The Roberts Charitable Trust, both local organizations that fund numerous causes in the Jacksonville community. He was also a founding board member of The Beaches Hospital and one of the youngest Commodores of The Florida Yacht Club. Garnett served on the vestry of Christ Episcopal Church and was a founding board member of Vicars Landing. Garnett Ashby was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word; a truly gentle man. His love and friendship touched more people than one can imagine, and he will be sorely missed. The service will be held at Christ Episcopal Church Ponte Vedra on Monday the 17th at 11:30. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Dr., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082; The University of the South, Sewanee, TN 37375; Community Hospice, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 or the charity of your choice. Arrangements are by Hardage- Giddens Funeral Home, Jacksonville Beach. Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com

Published in the Florida Times-Union on May 15, 2010
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