Steven W. Ash
August 26, 1946 – September 22, 2016
Steve Ash, husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, peacefully crossed the river with family and friends at his side September 22 at St Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, MT as a result of complications from cancer.
Steve was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Bill and Helen Ash. He graduated from Ypsilanti High School in June, 1964. Following high school, he attended Olivet College and Eastern Michigan University in Michigan. He married Anita Ferrer in 1967.
His education was interrupted when he was drafted into the US Army in 1968. Steve served in Korea with the 7th Division from 1968-70 and was honorably discharged in 1970.
When he returned to civilian life, Steve resumed his undergraduate education at the University of Colorado in Boulder and graduated with a degree in business in 1971. He and Anita had two children and were divorced in the mid-70’s.
Steve spent his adult life in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana working in banking, real estate and investments. He had lived in Billings since 1993, where he met and married Masae Aheui Kang in 2000.
Steve was a lifelong athlete. He played high school sports and was a member of the 7th Division All Stars baseball team while stationed in Korea, traveling throughout the Pacific Theater to play baseball. He continued to enjoy golf, skiing and other active outdoor pursuits as an adult. He was also an excellent fly fisherman and fly tyer. He enjoyed listening to music, his favorite being live folk and bluegrass.
Steve’s favorite city in Montana was Red Lodge. He loved the small town atmosphere, its sense of community and the skiing and fishing opportunities it offered. He eventually bought a lot and built a second home there. You’ll recognize his place just off of Main Street… it’s the one with the fence made of skis.
More than the things he did, Steve was defined by how he did them. He had an intelligent approach to life, but his heart always had the last word, tempering his actions and decisions with love and understanding. When life presented adversity, Steve saw the positive side of things, believing in the basic goodness of people. As such he was incredibly resilient and managed to retain his ready sense of humor throughout. When cancer began to limit Steve’s options, he stayed positive and narrowed his goals to those attainable in the short term.
Steve was a care-taker, choosing to focus on others in his relationships rather than on himself. He put his family’s interests before his own and in his business dealings he saw his clients’ best interests as his greatest obligation, seeing no distinctions between how one behaved toward people privately or publicly.
All of these qualities helped to make Steve a wonderful person and a solid friend. He built his life on strong, positive relationships; they were central to who he was. The strength of these relationships was especially evident in the last months of his life when a flood of friends and family took time out of their lives to travel and spend time with Steve.
The example he set by how he lived will continue to be paid forward by all those whose lives he has touched. His depth of character, strong and understated, was simply amazing. He continued to lead even toward the end of his life, showing us all how to approach the end of life with style and grace. We who have known him are all the richer for having had him in our lives.
Steve is survived by his wife Masae Ash, daughter Nicola (Nick) Hooker of Portland, OR, son Andrew (Kelly) Ash of Breckenridge, CO, stepdaughter Yoshie Atkins of Montevideo, Uruguay, brother Chuck (Marsha) Ash of Anchorage, AK, sister Cindi (Rick) Bousley of Dexter, MI, niece Erica Ash, nephew Chad Bousley, grandsons Eli Ash and Skye Atkins, granddaughters Amelia Hooker, Taylor Ash and Gaia Atkins, plus a host of good friends including his long time close friend Steve Edwards, who was present with Steve at the end.
At Steve’s request no service will be held. Instead, there will be a celebration of his life held in Red Lodge, MT during July 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations to Steve Ash Memorial Fund https://www.youcaring.com/steve-ash-memorial-fund-657727.