Dr. William Heber Ashbaugh, age 90, of Butler, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by loved ones on Sunday evening, September 10, 2023.
Bill was born in Grove City Hospital on June 26, 1933 to Richard and Margaret Dill Ashbaugh, of Butler. He graduated from Butler High School in 1951, from Wooster College in 1955, and from Jefferson Medical College in 1959. His plans were to join the armed services and run a hospital on an Indian reservation. However, after undergoing a physical it was determined that Bill had Type 1 Diabetes, which abruptly put a stop to the armed services and his westward plans. He changed course and decided to practice pediatrics in Butler County.
While working in the emergency room of Butler Memorial Hospital, Bill met his loving wife, Patricia McNallen Ashbaugh, who was a nurse there. He drew Patricia in with how he treated his patients with kindness and caring. He and Patricia were married in Chicora on August 5, 1961, a commitment that lasted more than 62 years.
At the start of his career, Bill worked with Dr. John F. Burns before opening up his own pediatric practice in the mid-1960s. He was overwhelmed with patients until Dr. Albino Tiburcio became a valued partner and “saved him” as he would say. As the practice grew, also joining were Dr. Stephen Gershenson, and, later, Dr. Sakineh Ghorbanian and Physician Assistant Sean Archer. Bill and his partners continued to serve the community of Butler as pediatricians for more than 50 years, giving wonderful care to countless children throughout the county. After first going part-time and then retiring fully from the practice, Bill kept his hand in medicine by reviewing charts and assisting with Quick Care Pediatrics for a few more years. He was a one-of-a-kind doctor, friend, brother, uncle, father, and husband. “Doc Bill”, as many knew him, was an old-fashioned physician who would tell you to “…go to the emergency room and I will meet you there”. He cared about all of his patients and was truly committed to them.
Besides dedicating himself to his medical practice, he loved the outdoors. His children fondly remember many camping trips to his beloved “farm”, an old farmland property in the area. Later in his life he became a Master Gardener to foster his great love of trees and plants. One of his favorite flowers was the impatiens which he enjoyed growing from seeds in his basement. He shared them with family, friends, neighbors, and any one that would take them. He passed on this love of nature to his children that they all continue to carry with them.
Bill also loved playing tennis with his kids, good friends Fred Callahan and Dick Shaffer, brother-in-law John McNallen, and especially the grandkids in his later years in life. He always said it was a sport that you could play forever and encouraged everyone to do so.
He had a great love of stamps and was an avid collector. He spent many hours poring over his stamp collection. He especially loved looking for stamp freaks and errors. He often appreciated the beauty of unusual things.
Bill was very dedicated to his family and particularly enjoyed the grandkids, loving many late night food runs to the local diner to grab a bite with them as they got older. He also loved challenging them with trivia questions and “word of the day”.
Bill is survived by his loving wife, Patricia, and five children; Father Bill Ashbaugh, of Ann Arbor, Mich., Tim Ashbaugh and wife Bridget (McCarty) of Doylestown, Barb Nuttle, of Plum, John Ashbaugh and wife Christine (LaRoche), of Houston, Texas, and Mary Beth Gareis and husband William, of Mars; grandchildren, James and Yulia Ashbaugh, Alexander, Michael, Jonathan, and Benjamin Nuttle and wife Chelsea (Silberglied), Matthew Ashbaugh, and Zachary and Jacob Gareis. He is also survived by two sisters, Ruth Ann Dodd, of New Jersey, and Martha Hayes and husband Hamp, of Michigan. Bill will be greatly missed by all.
The family thanks the staff who work at Butler Memorial Hospital’s 6-Tower wing, the Concordia Visiting Nurses and therapists, and the staff at Palliative Care for the support and compassion they provided Bill during the last several months.
The family also thanks the wonderful staff of Butler Pediatrics for all of their support of the practice through the years. Dr. Ashbaugh and his partners would not have been able to provide the great care and service to their patients and families without them.
Friends will be received in the Martin Funeral Home, 429 Center Ave., Butler, on Sun., Sept. 17, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Mon., Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. from All Saints Parish, Saint Andrew Roman Catholic Church, 1660 N. Main St. Ext., Butler, with Rev. William Ashbaugh, Bill and Patricia’s son, officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at jdrf.org or Butler Meals on Wheels, 218 E. Jefferson St., Butler, PA 16001; https://butlermealsonwheels.com