Michael Dunning Ashworth, 76, left his earthly life for his celestial reward surrounded by family on Sunday, July 12, 2020. He was born on May 18, 1944, as the first of three children to Ernest & Dorothy Ashworth. Michael spent his early years on the family farm in Jewett, Texas with his two younger sisters. The family moved to Tomball, where Michael excelled in school and developed a love of music and singing. His goal at an early age was to be a pilot. His Mom told stories of him carrying pictures of airplanes in his wallet as a teenager. He was accepted to the Freshman class of Texas A&M in 1963 and was a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
Michael started working toward his goal of becoming a pilot with the United States Marine Corps on July 26, 1968. After graduating in the top ten percent of his class at Officer Candidate School, he was given the option for pilot training with the Air Force at Laredo Air Force Base, where he received his Air Force Wings and was sent to Yuma Marine Corps Air Station to complete carrier landing qualification to receive his Navy Wings and training in the A-4 Skyhawk. After serving in Vietnam, flying over 300 missions and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, he was sent to Aircraft Maintenance School in Tennessee and then back to Yuma where he served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Michael graduated with a degree in aviation management from Auburn University in 1976 and was sent to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina.
During his 20 year career in the Marine Corps, he served as the Commanding Officer of several air squadrons with the call sign ‘Blue Chip’. He achieved multiple metals and decorations for his dedicated service including being selected as a trainer at the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, commonly known as ‘Top Gun’. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1986 to Monticello, Florida.
During his career, he developed a love for running and ran three marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. In addition to running, he continued his love of music and singing. He taught himself to play the guitar early in his career and loved playing and singing around a campfire on the many camping, fishing, and hunting trips he enjoyed with family and friends. He taught his two sons to hunt and fish, which they continued to enjoy with each other right up to his last hunting season.
After retiring, he built his dream log home on a pond in the country. Although a different location, it was his return to a life similar to his early life in the country, fishing in his pond, and watching sunrises & sunsets from his deck with his high school sweetheart and wife Anita by his side. Together they contributed many volunteer hours to the community and their church, First United Methodist, Monticello. Michael was involved in every aspect of his church from worship, staff parish, pre-school advisor, Methodist Men, and choir.
Michael is survived by his wife, Anita; sons, Marcus Alan Ashworth (Leigh), Brian Keith Ashworth (Dawn), step son Jeffery Todd Hay (Gemma);, grandchildren Anna, Jeffrey Mark, William, James, Hayden, Andrew, and Sophie; two sisters, Eva Hunnicutt (Lee) and Sylvia Ashworth; and niece Nicole. He is also survived by many close Marine Corps friends and families and will be missed by all.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Tallahassee National Cemetery Pavilion Friday, July 31, 2020 at 10:00 EST. Summer casual attire is acceptable.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 325 West Walnut St., Monticello, FL 32344 for Methodist Men or Chancel Choir-music.