Patrick Joseph Ash

Retired Lt Col Patrick J. Ash, USAFA Class of 1975 (“Ignotum Vincere”), died Feb. 16, 2011 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Pat was born Sept 21, 1953, in Orange, N. J., the only child of Harry and Alice Ash. The family moved to Tom’s River where he graduated from St Joseph’s High School in 1971. Following appointment to the Academy in 1971, he was a member of the Tiger 10 squadron and was active in the Catholic choir.

Following graduation, Pat earned his flying wings at Columbus AFB, Miss. and followed with B-52 training at Castle AFB, Calif. After B-52 training, he was assigned to Robins AFB, Ga, where he met and married Cynthia Leas, an Air Force nurse. Cynthia shared Pat’s journey for the rest of his life. Together they were stationed in the Philippines, Andrews AFB, Va; Tinker AFB, Okla.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; and he retired at Andrews AFB in 1995. Pat also earned a Master’s degree in Personnel Management. During his flying career, he flew the B-52, T-38, T-39, C-12, AWACS, and C-20. While at his final assignment with the 89th Airlift Wing, he traveled extensively throughout the world transporting senior government officials and doing advance preparation for Presidential Air Force One travels.

After military retirement in 1995, Pat began a flying career at FedEx, which allowed him to return to his favorite place (Alaska) in 1996. He flew around the world as an MD-11 Captain and was on the staff of instructors as the Anchorage flight simulator. Pat was a FedEx flight safety committee member and an accident investigator. He was also one of the first pilots at FedEx to qualify as a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) and worked closely with the Anchorage Police Department for FedEx FFDO training improvements.

Pat was a devoted Catholic. Blessed with a beautiful baritone voice, he was a key member of the choir wherever he lived. Pat and Cindy were also avid sports enthusiasts and supporters of the Baltimore Orioles, Alaska Aces (hockey), and Alaska Pilots (baseball). He took up hockey at age 35 and enjoyed playing in the “old men’s” leagues and later transitioned to refereeing. Pat and Cindy curled together, attended sports events throughout the US, and enjoyed scuba diving during many trips to their favorite vacation locale, Hawaii.

Pat was a caring man with a very generous spirit and had innumerable life-long friendships. He is remembered for his warmth and unique wry humor. Pat’s ever-positive outlook was an inspiration to his many friends and extended family throughout his life, especially during his three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.

Pat is survived by his wife of 33 years, Cynthia Leas; his mother, Alice Ash of Lakewood, N.J.; his son, SMSgt John (Kay) Mister, and grandsons, Jay and Ben Mister, of Syracuse, Utah; and numerous friends and extended family around the world. His father, Harry Ash, preceded him in death.

Friends, family and many members of his FedEx “family,” attended Pat’s February 21st funeral service in Anchorage. Gary Janelli (’75) spoke about his long-time friend and fellow FedEx pilot. Pat’s memorial service was held at the USAFA cadet chapel March 14th with the original choir director, Mr. Ed Ladouceur, returning to honor Pat by playing the organ alongside the current choir director, Mr. Gary DeKler. Interment with full military honors followed at the USAFA cemetery. Friends and family from the “lower 48” and many “'75ers” attended the Academy services.

Donations may be made in memory of Patrick Ash to St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 2901 Huffman Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99516.

Pat’s wife, Cynthia Leas and son John  |  April 2011

 


 

Anchorage resident USAF Lt. Col. (Ret.) Patrick "Pat" J. Ash, 57, died Feb. 16, 2011, at Providence Alaska Medical Center after a long and valiant battle with cancer.



A visitation will be at 6 p.m. today at Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home, 11621 Old Seward Highway. A service will be at 1 p.m., with visitation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.



Pat was born Sept. 21, 1953, in Orange, N.J., the only child of Harry and Alice Ash. The family moved to South Jersey, where he attended St. Joseph's High School, graduating in 1971. 



After high school, Pat received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., graduating in 1975. Pat began his career with pilot training, becoming qualified as a Strategic Air Command B-52 pilot. After pilot training, he was assigned to Robins AFB, Ga., where he met and married Cynthia Leas, an Air Force nurse.



Cynthia shared Pat's journey for the rest of his time in this world. Together they were stationed in the Philippines, Andrews AFB, Md., Tinker AFB, Okla., and Elmendorf AFB; he retired at Andrews AFB, Md., in 1995. During his flying career he flew the B-52, T-38, T-39, C-12, AWACS and C-20. During his final assignment with the 89th Airlift Wing, he traveled extensively throughout the world transporting senior government officials and doing advance preparation for presidential travel on Air Force One.



After military retirement in 1995, Pat began a career at FedEx, which allowed him to return to his favorite place, Alaska, in 1996. He flew around the world as an MD-11 captain and was on the staff of instructors at the Anchorage flight simulator. Pat was a FedEx flight safety committee member and an aircraft accident investigator.


Pat was a devoted member of the Catholic Church and his community throughout his life and at all his homes. He enjoyed his time at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Anchorage and glowed when sharing his gifted voice as a member of the choir. 


Pat and Cindy were also avid sports enthusiasts and supporters of the Baltimore Orioles, Alaska Aces and Alaska Pilots, among other teams and sports. He took up hockey at age 35 and enjoyed playing in the "old men's" leagues, transitioning to refereeing. Pat and Cindy curled together, attended sports events throughout the U.S. and enjoyed scuba diving during many trips to Hawaii.



Pat was a caring man with a very generous spirit. He is remembered for his warmth and unique wry humor. Pat's ever-positive outlook was an inspiration to his many friends and extended family throughout his life, especially during his 3 1/2-year battle with cancer.



Pat is survived by his wife of 33 years, Cynthia Leas; his mother, Alice Ash of Lakewood, N.J.; his son, Senior Master Sgt. John (Kay) Mister, and grandsons, Jay and Ben Mister, of Syracuse, Utah; and numerous friends and extended family around the world. His father, Harry Ash, preceded him in death.

Alaska Daily News  |  February 19, 2011 

 

Photos
Fourth Class Portrait

 
   
   
Remembrances

I was up in Anchorage,  Alaska when Pat passed away last Wednesday.  I went to the hospital to visit him, but found that his condition was deteriorating rapidly.  I spent most of the day there with his wife Cindy, Gary Janelli’s wife Rebecca, and Michelle, who was the wife of Pat’s cousin.   Gary Janelli (CS-31), who was arguably Pat’s best friend, was in China on a FedEx flight assignment.  Gary made a beeline back to Anchorage to help Pat’s widow when he was advised of Pat’s death.   What a selfless 75’er.

Pat had a three-hour heartfelt funeral mass in Anchorage on Monday.  There were many FedEx pilots in attendance and a few 75ers too.  Gary Janelli and I were part of the pallbearer team and Mark Risi and Claude “Hoss” Erving were there too.   Pat was a religious and friendly guy who befriended two local priests.  They both spoke at length about Pat at the funeral.  Gary spoke for the family.   Gary still managed to have a lot to say.

I knew Pat at the Academy.  We were friends, but not “best buds”.  After UPS put me in the Anchorage domicile, I rekindled my friendship with Pat over the last three years.  I am a better man for it.  Pat fought lung cancer for three years and eight months.  He was relegated to being home-bound for much of that time, but had a rich life despite this. 

He had friends visit, bring lunch, chat, watch sports, etc.  He was quite brave.  Not once did he lament his lot in life to me.  He complained to no one as it turns out.   As a matter of fact, he was still a hoot to visit with his sharp wit and fun outlook. 

Our lives can be summarized in a few paragraphs, but you know there is much more to say.  Pat’s twenty year Air Force career could fill a 250 page book.  So this local obituary just touches the surface of a fine man, officer, friend, spouse, father …

– Henry E.


USAFA

     
     
     
     

       
 
 
Benner