John Ashbaugh

Profile Updated: April 7, 2023
John Ashbaugh
Residing In: San Luis Obispo, CA USA
Spouse/Partner: Patricia
Occupation: Retired
Children: Anna - born Nov. 24, 1984
Laura - born March 5, 1988
Military Service: United States
Yes! Attending Reunion

It's time for this "wolf" to come back to the den!

In each of our past reunions - 1980 through 2000 - I always looked forward to joining with Roel Koster, our Dutch foreign exchange student who everyone knew and loved, and whom I was so privileged to host for that fateful senior year. Those of us who went to the 30th reunion in 2000 recall that Roel was confined to a wheelchair, but he had survived the first ravages of spinal cord cancer. Unfortunately, that same tumor came roaring back, and Roel died very close to the Christmas holiday in 2004. We have stayed in touch with his widow, Els, and though she won't be there to join us, I look forward to sharing our memories of Roel with all of you who knew him.

I'm now working three jobs (including two part-time teaching "gigs"), but two major events have defined me life over the last five years:

1) Both daughters left home for college (and both will have graduated by the time of the reunion!) Thus, Trish and I are "empty nesters" and only two cats left to lavish our affections on.

2) I got elected in 2008 to the San Luis Obispo City Council, with a lot of help from my friends built up from 33 years of living in this wonderful community. Since then, I have found the work of a Council member to be exhilerating, often frustrating, but always interesting. It's a great place for me to exercise my passion for city planning, for preserving the quality of life that we have in this Central Coast town, and for helping people to craft effective solutions to long-term problems.

Meanwhile, in Redding my mother continues to reside at our family home, reaching the age now of 97, with a full-time caregiver and occasional visits from her three sons. She continues to be a major force in our lives, and we love her dearly. She would also be very willing to host visits from my fellow 70'ers - though of course she tires easily now, and can't be expected to "cook up a storm" as she used to do.

I am REALLY looking forward to connecting with you all again, sharing the stories we can still recall within our diminishing memories, and arguing as we always have about the strange logic of our lives.

School Story:

It is getting ominously close to that eventful milestone we sang about at the Senior Class Assembly with Scott Keyes on bass clarinet, me and Dave Anderson on drums, Kate Haake on clarinet, Steve Gunner on guitar and (probably) Rick Phillips on rhythm: "When I'm 64".

And I will never forget the time after one of our football games when the entire crew of our very attractive PomPom girls pummelled me mercilessly for having started the famous Offenbach can-can at about triple-speed. Their high-kicking routine, so meticulously rehearsed, could barely get their heels above their waists!

I'm also remembering the Veteran's Day parade in November, 1969 when I conspired with my fellow percussionists in the band and wore a black armband with a peace symbol taped onto my drumhead. That silent protest earned me a photograph in the Record Searchlight!

I reserve the right to add to these recollections as they come to me. Unfortunately, I also recognize that my legendary capacity for facts, characters, and scenes from our high school years is dimmed by creeping age and infirmity... but I'll do my best!

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John Ashbaugh has a birthday today.
Oct 04, 2023 at 1:33 AM
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Apr 07, 2023 at 12:14 PM
John Ashbaugh has left an In Memory comment for Roel Koster.
Dec 08, 2022 at 12:12 PM

On Friday, December 2, Roel's six grandchildren, three daughters and sons-in-law were gathered in the home of Els Koster, the lovely wife that enjoyed a long-but-not-long enough marriage to Roel until his death 16 years ago. The occasion? The "Round of 8" World Cup match between Netherlands and our plucky US soccer team. The Dutch won and will compete again on Saturday in the quarter-finals - and they may go all the way this year!

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Dec 08, 2022 at 12:02 PM
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John Ashbaugh has a birthday today.
Oct 04, 2022 at 1:33 AM
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Oct 26, 2021 at 8:50 PM

Posted on: Oct 25, 2021 at 10:31 PM

Good times last weekend at our Reunion! I compiled a Google Photo Album that shows the Saturday morning campus tour AND the dinner/dance at the Elks Lodge. I snuck in a picture of the Sundial Bridge too. Here’s the link:

thank you to the Reunion Committee!

John Ashbaugh has a birthday today.
Oct 04, 2021 at 1:33 AM
John Ashbaugh posted a message.
Aug 29, 2021 at 8:36 PM

Hi everyone,
I was devastated to learn last week from the family of Bill Murphy that Bill had passed away Friday, August 20 of heart failure.

Bill was one of the most thoughtful and engaging people I have ever met. We roomed together our first quarter at UC Santa. Cruz, and he struck a notable figure by commuting to his classes on a unicycle.

His career as a geologist specializing in volcanoes might suggest something about his personality, but he was a gentle soul and a committed pacifist - fiercely defending his views when challenged, but not closed to a good argument. He was a classic intellectual, a popular professor at Cal State Chico and an eager traveller whose only impairment was the addiction to alcohol that he inherited from his father.

I have been thinking about Bill often in the last few weeks as the Dixie Fire consumed so much of the Caribou Wilderness on the east side of Lassen National Park. Bill and I did a snow camping backpack trip there in 1970, an unforgettable experience that I have never been able to replicate.

We all have our memories of Bill, and I invite everyone in Class Creator share them. I may be unable to read and respond for a few days, as I have just landed at Kodiak airport in Alaska en route to a wilderness lodge where there is no Internet. It is the type of trip that Bill would have loved. Trish and I are planning a long-delayed trip to the north state in October, and I had hoped to be able to see him in one place or another - now, of course, different and difficult arrangements must be made.

Please hold Rui and Jasper in your thoughts and prayers, though Bill was indeed a committed and passionate atheist. As for me, I will be reflecting on that amazing aura that Bill projected all his life.
Plans are underway to gather near his home in Davis on September 18 to celebrate his life, and of course those of us who be in Redding on October 23 will continue to reflect on Bill, and so many others whom we have lost...

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John Ashbaugh has a birthday today.
Oct 04, 2019 at 1:33 AM
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May 05, 2019 at 6:23 AM
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Feb 02, 2019 at 4:15 PM

I will always appreciate Michelle's help when we were investigating options for my mother who need an assisted living place for a time after a severe bout of pneumonia in 2009. The place we were investigating had a room where Mom's roommate would have been Michelle's mother, who passed away a short time later. We found another place for our Mom, but fortunately she was strong enough to return to our home on Bonnie Drive for most of another year until she, too passed away in 2010 at the age of 96. We should all be lucky enough to live lives as long as our parents, and with the quality of life that we prefer.

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Dec 28, 2018 at 4:27 PM
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Oct 04, 2018 at 1:33 AM
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Feb 23, 2018 at 5:33 PM

I have been thinking a lot about Susanne Rockwell (Sway) the last few days. I recall that she was always one of those “gentle souls” that inspired us all. She had a sharp wit but never used it to “dis” anybody – just to point out the irony of our circumstances and the challenge of the directions we were taken. Her smile was huge and her laugh was infectious. 

Susanne's career in journalism and in University administration suggests that she was one of the leading products of our Class of ’70, adding value to every organization she joined. I only wish that I’d stayed in touch with her more, and gotten to know her family in Davis.

My deepest sympathies to Brian Sway and to their daughters. We all share this loss and I for one shall use it as a chance to reflect on the fragility of life.


John Ashbaugh. 

John Ashbaugh has a birthday today.
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Oct 04, 2015 at 1:33 AM
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