“Ash” grew up in Newark and Far Hills, New Jersey and graduated from Kent School as Sixth Form prefect and varsity crew oarsman.

At Princeton he joined The Ivy Club, St. Paul’s Society, and the Right Wing Club.  He played freshman football and rowed varsity crew. He received the Lyman Biddle Medal and served as an undergraduate deacon.  His freshman roommate Bob Blair, friends Max Mayo and Toby Hilliard each eventually godfathered John’s children.  The ’45 associations a freshman semester before Pearl Harbor remained a lifelong bond.  He enlisted; commissioned Ensign, Fighter Pilot, Naval Air Arm, and returned to campus grateful for the GI Bill and a BA in Economics. 

After a brief banking stint on Wall Street, he ventured to the oil fields of West Texas, roughnecking on a rig, then an oil lease broker.  John married Ann Bruce “Brucie” Whitaker and their four children were embraced in wonderful communities of friendships.  After seventeen years in happy successful partnership Ashmun & Hilliard exploration was followed by the independent frontier of Western Canada oil production.  Wainoco Oil & Chemicals Corporation headquartered in Calgary, Alberta for six years. In 1972 WOL (NYSE) expanded and moved to Houston, Texas.  John later formed AYCO Energy  with his son-in-law Rusty Yates and served as President until his death.

John was a founding member of the Episcopal Day School and YMCA in Midland, serving Boards of Trustees at Princeton University and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX.  He embraced PU activities once back in the States including hosting the Golf Team and Texas affiliations rekindled. As Class Agent in Annual Giving letter campaigns 70 years later, he was pleased to share his commitment with enthusiasm and pride.  He relayed to family with affection after a campus reunion attending Chapel in tearful recall of many fond relationships that sustained a grateful New Jersey son.

John passed away Jan. 7, 2019 after a fall at home.  He was predeceased by Brucie, and is survived by his daughters Mary Gilbertson, Ellen Yates; his sons John, Jr. and Stuart, and 11 beloved grandchildren.

Undergraduate Class of 1945