Charles Ash

Charles Joseph Ash

Sunday, July 27th, 1930 - Monday, August 24th, 2020
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Obituary for Dr. Charles Joseph Ash, MD - 7-27-1930 to 8-24-2020

Charles ‘Doc Charlie’ Joseph Ash died at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri , August 24 after a long battle with congestive heart failure. He was 90 years old. Orthopedic surgeon, pianist, medical researcher, disability rights advocate, golfer, infinite flirt—he lived his life robustly and with verve.

He is survived by his three children Carol Ash Widder, Michael Joseph Ash and Cynthia Joan Ash, as well as his brother Kenneth Ash, two sisters Lucy Klee and Eileen McAlister, three grandchildren Kathryn “Katy” Henriksen (nee Widder), Heidi Widder and Diana Ash, as well as three great-grandchildren.Preceding him in death are Patricia Ann Corcoran Ash, his first wife and mother to his three children, his second wife Maxine Andrews Ash,his final soulmate Clara Hubbard, his brother Larry Ash, an infant sister StellaMary Ash, and his parents.

From a lifetime of playing piano—until a year ago he spent Monday nights with dear friends in band practice—whether in the Dixie Docs, his big band Caduceus or a little George Gershwin, Scott Joplin or a jazz standard on the piano in the living room to entertain the family, music was always a key passion.

Born in Denver on July 27,1930, he graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs in 1948 and enrolled in Regis College, where he was debate team captain and graduated in three years, going on to medical school at St. Louis University. In June 1955, he married Patricia Ann Corcoran and they moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he completed his surgical internship and had his first daughter in 1956. They returned to St. Louis where he started his three year residency in orthopedics. In 1960 they settled in Springfield where he started his surgical practice at Smith Glynn Calloway. He remained in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon from 1960 to 2018.

A lifelong dedication for disability rights began when his daughter Cynthia was born with Cerebral Palsy. He advocated to makepublic schools accessible to those with disabilities and helped form the Springfield Cerebral Palsy Center, where his daughter attended. He also opened the first public school scoliosis clinic in Springfield.

As a medical researcher he served as president of Greene County Medical Association and published research on heat stroke in Oxford Academic and other medical journals. In his time as an adjunct professor at Missouri State University he proved that use of thermography as a medical measurement of pain was invalid and a monetary waste. His ethics were golden and he truly lived the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm.”He helped pass state laws requiring physicians to take their fair share of Medicaid patients, never collected on a delinquent bill, would not charge for office visits after surgeries and--until he was forbidden to do so--often bartered, most notably for a baby pig that he brought home for a pet.

Doc Charlie loved golfing, table tennis, fishing, water skiing, scuba diving, dog training, magic tricks, and was a Lifetime Bridge Master. He cherished coaxing his granddaughter into singing along to his piano accompaniments, winning medals for his prized Boxers, solving a Rubix Cube and telling dirty jokes. His boisterous and uncompromising love of friends, family and life will be sorely missed.

A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 am Friday September 18, 2020 in St. Elizabeth Ann Catholic Church with Fr. Mike McDevitt, celebrant, under the care and direction of Herman H. Lohmeyer Funeral Home in Springfield, Missouri.

Committal Services will be at 12 noon Monday September 21, 2020 at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Donations in his memory may be made to United Cerebral Palsy or the Caduceus Big Band of Springfield.

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Memorial Program

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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, September 18th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Friday, September 18th, 2020 11:00am
    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
    2200 W. Republic Road
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Fr. Mike McDevitt
  • Interment

    Monday, September 21st, 2020 | 12:00pm
    Monday, September 21st, 2020 12:00pm
    Calvary Cemetery
    5239 W. Florissant
    St. Louis, Missouri 63115
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence


Posted at 09:48pm
Remembering you and "Charles Ash" in our minds and in our hearts.
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Marie Alberti-Thomson

Posted at 09:32pm
What a wonderful family. I am so honored to be included in their special events. Music is always a BIG connector and especially with Dr. Charley. Passionate is a true description of him. He will be SO missed. Thank you for giving the world Carol and Mike.
Love you guys.


Phil Monroe MD

Posted at 02:24pm
He was always there to help care for the citizens of Missouri with a dedicated concern. He will be missed. Phil Monroe, MD

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