NEW BERN - Charles Hall Ashford, Jr., M.D., 84, died on Friday, May 15 at his home in New Bern. He will be remembered and admired by so many for his integrity, compassion, generosity, leadership, civic service, and devotion to his family.
A native of New Bern, “Charlie” was delivered by his father at St Luke’s Hospital on January 11, 1936. The only son of Caroline Dunn Ashford and Charles Hall Ashford, Sr., he attended local schools and graduated summa cum laude from Woodberry Forest School in 1954. Charlie was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he held numerous leadership roles and distinctions such as Order of the Golden Fleece, Order of the Old Well, and Treasurer of his senior class. He later served on the Board of Visitors from 1987-1991 at UNC. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins, where he also met his future wife (a nurse), Jane Ingraham [Ashford]. Charlie underwent surgical training at Johns Hopkins and then completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Hospitals, where he served as Chief Resident in Surgery from 1967-68.
Upon completion of his residency, Charlie served as a Major in the United States Army, earning a bronze star for meritorious achievement for his service in Vietnam. Following his military service, Charlie - who was board certified in both general and cardiothoracic surgery - practiced in New Bern for many years prior to his retirement at age 55.
In his “retirement,” Charlie remained quite active. He served on the board of directors of New East Bank and also remained committed to his beloved hometown, where he was instrumental in securing the Certificate of Need to establish the heart surgery program at Carolina East Medical Center and recruited its first physicians; served as medical liaison and then interim president of the hospital; and also served as interim president of the New Bern Chamber of Commerce.
Charlie enjoyed boating, traveling, and remaining active at Christ Episcopal Church, where he was a lifelong member and served on the vestry for many years. Some of his fondest times were spent sharing lunch - every Friday - with his closest friends. His greatest joy, however, was his family, whom he loved unconditionally. He cherished special trips with his grandchildren (including one “trip of a lifetime” to the Galapagos Islands with his grandson), beach weeks with his extended family, and celebrating all sorts of holidays and reunions with relatives.
Charlie is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jane; children Charles Hall Ashford III [Kirstin Eakes] and Eleanor Stewart Ashford; grandchildren Charles “Hall” Ashford IV and Lillemor Claire Ashford; his sisters, Caroline Ashford Smith, and Octavia Ashford Roberts (Sonny), and nieces, nephews and their respective spouses.
A service will be held in the outdoor chapel at Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern on Saturday, May 23, at 11 a.m. Guests may join in the churchyard, which allows for social distancing. Jane and the family will also receive visitors on the patio at home as weather permits.
If you wish to make a memorial gift, please consider the Boys and Girls Club 621 W. Fire Tower Road Winterville, NC 28590 or a charity of your choice.