John L. Ashby, Jr.

John L. Ashby, Jr.

April 27, 1931 ~ May 09, 2023

Date of Service:
June 17, 2023


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John Lafayette Ashby, Jr., beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, husband, and friend to so many, passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Vero Beach, Florida.  He was born in the small town of Mount Airy, North Carolina on April 27, 1931, and is preceded in death by his parents, John and May Ashby. He graduated with honors from Mount Airy High School where he played for a state championship football team and earned recognition as an Eagle Scout. John then attended Davidson College where he was awarded the honor of Most Outstanding Brother for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and graduated with a degree in Pre-Med. Following in his father’s footsteps, he pursued a career in dentistry and attended the prestigious UNC Adams School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. While earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery, John was the Vice President of his class and a member of the Delta Sigma Delta Dental Fraternity. Throughout his life, he proudly wore his UNC cap and attire as a loyal Tarheel alum.

Following dental school, John settled in Vero Beach with his former spouse, Patty Ashby. Together they raised three children while John operated a successful solo practice. He often provided free care to those in need and had many beloved patients who were like family to him. Even after retirement in 2001, many patients commented on how much he was missed and the tremendous impact he had on the dental community. John was also an active participant in the First Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon for many years.

In 1991, John married Dede Higdon Ashby and they spent many wonderful years traveling and camping throughout British Columbia, skiing in the Colorado and Utah mountains, as well as sharing the sports of tennis, golf, biking, and walking various beaches and nature trails. John was also an avid jogger and often seen running the streets of the barrier island in Vero Beach. He was a humble, generous, and gracious man who enjoyed spending time with his family. A supporter of Youth Guidance and the ARC of Indian River County, John will be remembered for his zest for life as well as his sharp wit and ever-present sense of humor which sustained him through life’s challenges.

John is survived by his wife, Dede Ashby, his sister Ann Helms, his nephew Gerald Houston Helms, Jr., his three children: Kimberly Ann Ashby, John Scott Ashby (Sue), and Julie Andrews Ashby Citrin (Ben), his two step children: Laurie Lee Connelly (Brian) and James Evan Higdon, III (Lori), and his nine grandchildren: Chad Ashby (Mindy), Brooke Ashby, Will Ashby (Tori), Reid Ashby (Emily), Andrew Yale Citrin, Harrison Scott Citrin, John Bradley Citrin, Benjamin Taylor Citrin, and James Clayton Helms.  He is also survived by nine great grandchildren: Caedmon, Griffin, Fletcher, Teddy, Caroline, Davis, Peter, Warner, and Amelia Ashby as well as four step grandchildren: Dalton Connelly, Claire Connelly, Chandler Higdon and Avery Higdon.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Vero Beach on Saturday, June 17, 2023. A livestream option is also available on their website

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Youth Guidance or the ARC of Indian River County.

Funeral arrangements are by Thomas S. Lowther Funeral Home & Crematory, Vero Beach.

Date of Service:
June 17, 2023


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


Eugene O’Neill - Friend

May 18, 2023, 6:05 pm

Very sorry for the loss of John. He was a wonderful asset to the community. I know he will be missed. Condolences to John’s entire family.

Bradford Jefferson - Friend of family

May 18, 2023, 8:01 pm

So sorry to the family from Jeffersons.

JD & Shirley A nderson - Patient

May 18, 2023, 10:54 pm

Dr Ashby, was a very kind& a caring dentist , he was greatly missed. Thoughts and prayers for the family.

Ryan Jones

May 19, 2023, 11:08 am

My sincere condolences to the entire family. Dr. Ashby was my dentist all the way through childhood. He was a great man!

Vicki Eckhart Smith - Community friend

May 19, 2023, 5:38 pm

Scott and family, didn’t we all go to your dad for dentistry. Vero was so small then, He was a wonderful man, whenever I go by that building where his office was I think of how my dentistry was comfortable as a child and how much I appreciate him. Men like him don’t come around to often. He was truly an asset to our community as I’m sure all of you will continue to be as you carry on his legacy in whatever ways you are gifted and wherever you may be. Sincerely ,With care and prayers for all the family,Vicki Eckhart Smith

Rene Simmons Cox - Former Patient

May 19, 2023, 7:22 pm

My deepest sympathy to the family. Dr. Ashby was my dentist from 1969 until he retired. He was the best!

Patricia G Colvin

May 20, 2023, 3:21 pm

Condolences to the family. Dr. Ashby was my dentist through out my my adolescent years until he retired. I missed him . God Bless

Mike Eckhart - former patient

May 20, 2023, 4:04 pm

I just learned this awful news. So sad to hear of Dr. Ashby’s passing, my heart goes out to you all. I remember him as a great man. I first met him as one of his patients where he always impressed me. Then meeting him later in a completely different setting in his home as the father of a high school friend I was still impressed!
I know you are all heartbroken – just wanted to connect and share my thoughts.

Dianne Watters - Former patient

May 21, 2023, 1:12 pm

My sincere condolences to his family. Dr. Ashby was my dentist from childhood until he retired. He will be greatly missed.

David Albrecht - Friend

May 22, 2023, 1:19 pm

We so enjoyed our visits with John; Our Hearts ache with yours… May His Peace comfort you.

Sheryl Foy Walker - friend of Kim's

May 22, 2023, 1:29 pm

Kim and Family, please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your father. Dr. Ashby was always such a kind man. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sharon Ferguson & Family - Friend

May 22, 2023, 3:59 pm

To be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord. May God’s strength and peace be with all the family in this difficult time. John will surely leave a void as a dear friend to all who knew him. Until we meet again.

Scott Morton - Friend

May 22, 2023, 8:05 pm

What a wonderful person he was. We are so sad for his terrific family and know that they and we were fortunate to have known him. Like so many others, Doc took care of me from childhood as well as my parents and my children. Thoughts and love to Dede and family.

Bubba and Sherry Haffield and family - Former Patients

May 23, 2023, 11:19 am

Dr. Ashby was our family dentist for years until he retired. There has yet to be found one so pleasant as he was. I still recall the time he went to pull a tooth and commented about how he had had his Wheaties for breakfast. With five children we had a running bill. When he retired he said just send me something each month. We did until the bill was finally all paid. He was one of a kind and greatly missed. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Lenora Melanson Taube - Client until retirement

June 19, 2023, 7:51 pm

Condolences to the Family. Dr. Ashby wasn’t just the most awesome Dentist this town has ever seen-He was Truly a GREAT MAN! Kind and caring to all, bringing out the best in all he crossed paths with. He was full of light and brightened many lives with his great sense of humor. This world’s loss is Heaven’s Gain.. He drove the same VW Bug for as long as I can remember. I’m certain he will be dearly missed by many. Hugs and prayers for all his family.

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