Donald Ashby


Mr. Donald Arthur Ashby was born in Newport News on Oct. 4, 1943, to Coby and Mildred Ashby.  He was raised on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where he was an accomplished baseball and football player. He cherished his time quail and duck hunting, especially with his father, Coby, his brother, Richard Ashby, and his lifelong friend and cousin, Page Ashby. Don graduated from Northampton High School and attended Duke University on a football scholarship. He graduated from Duke with a degree in electrical engineering in 1967.

Don served in the United States Navy for seven years, where he was an explosive ordnance disposal officer. His service included two tours of Vietnam, as well as participation in Project Azorian’s covert efforts aboard the GSF Explorer to locate and recover a Soviet submarine. Don later worked for more than 40 years as an HVAC sales engineer in the Tidewater area.

Don and Kay (Kathleen) met in 1971 at a Junior Officers and Professionals function at the Washington, D.C., Naval Yard and were married in Hawaii at Tantalus Lookout, Pu‘u ‘Ualaka‘a State Park, in April 1974. Don claimed they never had a fight in their almost 50 years of marriage.

Don and Kay have two incredible children, Kim and Patrick Ashby. Don was a lifelong runner, participating in many marathons and half-marathons across the United States. Watching both of his children run track at Kellam High School was a great joy, and he never missed a track meet.

Don had a fantastic sense of humor and loved to tease his children, who brought him immense pride and joy.  Don and Kay loved to travel, from hiking in Nepal, to scuba diving in New Zealand. In retirement, Don especially enjoyed his monthly “board meetings,” skeet shooting with friends, and his EOD events. He was an avid Duke football fan, maintaining season tickets when it was unclear if tickets were even required for admission – Kay tolerated their frequent trips to Durham.

Don’s intelligence, wit, camaraderie, and joy will be deeply missed by all those he knew.  Kay, Kim, Patrick, and Kai (the family’s beloved black Labrador), love him forever, and are grateful for the tremendous life that he shared with them.

A visitation will be held on April 21, 2023, at Altmeyer Funeral Homes,1801 Baltic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, from 5 to 7 p.m.

A funeral service will be held on April 22, 2023, at St. Simon’s By the Sea Episcopal Church, 308 Sandbridge Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, at 11 a.m. A reception will follow, at a location TBD, close to the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you take an unexpected moment to hug your family, enjoy a walk in nature, or otherwise care for yourself. Donations can be made to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Coastal Virginia, 291 Independence Blvd # 542, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, or online at

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