Berton William Ashman, 80, first gastroenterologist in the community

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Berton William Ashman
Berton William Ashman

Berton William Ashman, M.D., 80, of Virginia Beach, died Wednesday, March 8, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rosemary Lovejoy Ashman.

Born in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 7, 1937, Berton grew up in Norfolk and was a proud graduate of Maury High School, where he was salutatorian of his 1955 class. He attended the College of William & Mary, where he was awarded the Lord Botetourt Medal for distinguished academic achievement and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

He received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. After serving his internship and residency at the University of Virginia and completing a fellowship at Yale, he returned home in 1969 to become the first gastroenterologist in the area. He subsequently founded Gastroenterology Ltd. and the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Unit at Virginia Beach General Hospital. He practiced medicine for 37 years before retiring in 2006.

Berton was happiest when being productive. He was an avid reader and liked to be outdoors. In retirement, Berton enjoyed being with family, traveling with his wife, Rosemary, golfing and biking with close friends, and working in his garden, often with his grandchildren at his heels.

In addition to his wife, Berton is survived by his five children, Rosemary I. Ashman (Richard Pulley), Jennifer A. Duemmel (Paul), Eleanore A. Ashman, Berton W. Ashman Jr. (Meredith) and Matthew L. Ashman (Angela); nine grandchildren, Ian and Erin Pulley, Mark and Grant Duemmel, Charlie and Aubrey Ashman, and Ethan, Dylan and Taylor Ashman; and brother, Stuart Ashman.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Isabel Ashman; brothers, Murray and Norton Ashman; and granddaughter, Jordan Ashman.

Berton was loved and respected by his patients and colleagues alike for his clinical acumen, his intelligence and humor, and his kind, compassionate care. He was a loving and wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend. He will be sorely missed.

A memorial service was conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach.