ST. ALBANS – Robert E. Ashton, Jr. passed away peacefully on June 26 at the UVM Medical Center in Burlington, Vt. He was born on May 26, 1934 to Robert E. Ashton, Sr. and Dorothy Hemenway Ashton in Sheldon “Crick,” Vt. He married Paulita Marie Ferland Ashton on September 5, 1959 in Swanton. Paulita predeceased Robert on July 22, 2017.

Robert “Bob” was a resident of St. Albans for the past 59 years.

He was a 1952 graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans. After high school, Bob served in the U.S. Air Force for two years before breaking his hip in an auto accident, and then returning to the Green Mountain State, where he attended the University of Vermont and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and then a Masters in English.

Bob began teaching at Bellows Free Academy in 1960 where he dedicated himself for 50 years. During his time at BFA he was an English teacher for 40 years, chair of the English department, athletic director for 10 years, as well as a baseball, football, track, basketball, and golf coach.

Bob was the driving force behind the creation of the Vermont Athletic Director’s Association to which he was elected as president in the early 80’s. He was a recipient of the NVAC Bob Pierce Award for outstanding service to the VADA. He was awarded the National Federation Citation for his services as athletic director. Bob was inducted into the Vermont Principals’ Association Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also credited for assisting in the creation of the Collins Perley Sports Complex along with helping to start the very successful youth hockey program in St. Albans.

Beyond the facts of his life highlighted above, Bob is remembered by many of his former students for the connections he made with them. His desire to know you, challenge you and stimulate thought was his purpose in life. ”ICDI – I CAN DO IT” was one of his favorite acronyms and an integral part of his message. If he could engage you, he felt he could get you to learn. Whether through reciting the alphabet backwards, while performing a headstand, or learning and singing the school song, his intentions were pure and driven by his love.

If there was one thing almost as important, it was attending each and every game. He will be sorely missed, but not forgotten.

Bob was also an avid golfer and a Member of the Champlain Country Club for many years.

He is survived by his daughter Roberta of St. Albans, his son Mark Ashton and his wife Lori and their children Eleanor and Benjamin of New London, N.H. and his sister Margaret Montcalm and her husband Joe of St. Albans.

The Ashton family will receive family and friends on Friday, July 12, 2019, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main Street, St. Albans. 

A graveside funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 13, at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Albans Bay Cemetery, Lake Road, with family friend, Joseph Davison officiating. A celebration of his life will follow at the Collins Perley Sports Complex at noon on Saturday July 13.

For those interested in contributing, a scholarship will be established in Bob’s name. Please contact his son Mark Ashton at mgashtonpro@gmail.com for details on how to donate.

To send the Ashton family a written expression of sympathy or share a memory, please go to Bob’s on-line guest book at www.healdfuneralhome.com