Obituary: Kirk Ashford

Former Claremont resident Kirk Ashford, known to his family as “Gramps,” died peacefully on March 18, 2018, at his home in Santa Monica, with his three children at his side. Mr. Ashford, who was 82, had struggled with health complications for several years.

A lifelong Californian, he was born in Oakland to John and Carola Ashford on November 21, 1935.

In 1940, the family built a home in Alamo, where he grew up. He attended Alamo Elementary School and graduated in 1953 from San Ramon Valley High School, where he excelled academically and lettered in varsity football and track.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley, where he was an officer and live-in member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He was also active in Naval ROTC and participated in a summer cruise aboard a destroyer in the Caribbean.

At Berkeley, he met fellow student Anne Cianciarulo, and they married after her graduation in 1960. The couple had a daughter, Michelle, and the new family lived in Palo Alto while Mr. Ashford obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University.

He was employed by Transamerica Development, which began his lifelong career in real estate development. The family built a home in Moraga, and welcomed their second daughter, Alison.

In 1966, Mr. Ashford was then transferred to Southern California, and the family settled in Claremont. There, a son, Jay, was born who would continue the family tradition by obtaining a degree from Cal, and even joining his father’s fraternity.

Mr. Ashford worked with and for many firms on projects all over the United States, and was exceptionally good at what he did, his family said.

“Kirk had a larger-than-life personality, and will be remembered for his quick wit, his musical talents, and his love of family,” they added. 

Mr. Ashford was predeceased by his sister, Carola Ashford. 

He is survived by his daughters, Michelle Ashford and Alison Ashford, son Jay Ashford; younger brother Bruce; and eight grandchildren.

Donations in Mr. Ashford’s name may be made to Claremont United Church of Christ at, or to Venice’s St. Joseph’s Center at

Services will be private.


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