Bradley “Brad” Ashman, passed peacefully on August 17th, 2019 at the age of 71, surrounded by his loving family.
Bradley “Brad” Ashman
Bradley “Brad” Ashman, passed peacefully on August 17th, 2019 at the age of 71, surrounded by his loving family. Brad was best known for his classic car and truck collection. Brad was born May 20th, 1948 to James W. and Evelyn Kathleen (nee Williams) Ashman in Lakehurst, New Jersey at the U.S. Naval Academy.
He grew up on a farm and attended Hackettstown High School. As a child he rigged up a go-cart to travel three miles each morning to milk the cows. By the time he was 14 years old, he had already assembled an impressive car collection, including a 1949 Chevrolet Coupe, 1950 Chevrolet Convertible, 1953 Cadillac Convertible, 1955 Chevrolet Convertible, and a 1957 Plymouth Fury Hardtop. This early passion for automobiles would result in the lifetime ownership of over 300 cars.
In 1968 Brad was drafted into the Army. He attended advanced infantry training in Louisiana, and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku, Vietnam. Due to a series of in-the-field injuries, he was chosen by the battalion commander to be his personal driver. After returning to New Jersey, he was married to Peggy Ackerman and they had a daughter. They later divorced.
“He was also known for his custom furniture made from pieces of 1950s era car bodies – sofas with wings and taillights!”
In the mid-1970s Brad came to Florida to race motorcycles at the Croom Motorcycle Track near Brooksville. He took a side trip to Sarasota to visit his cousin and grandmother, and when he saw Sarasota’s beaches he decided to move here. In Sarasota, Brad became known for his Mercedes 300SL roadster lifted up on a four-wheel drive truck chassis. He was also known for his custom furniture made from pieces of 1950s era car bodies – sofas with wings and taillights! Brad was an avid auto customizer and restorer. He was a regular attendee at all of the local car shows and rarely missed a show. In 2006 he served as the President of the Cars and Rods Car Club. In addition to his love for cars, Brad had a love for flying. He obtained his pilot’s license in 1984 and enjoyed flying experimental and ultralight aircraft.
In the 1980s Brad drove a bus for Sarasota County Transit and in the 1990s he drove for Danny Baker Trucking. In 2001 he became a school bus driver for the Sarasota District Schools and retired in 2010. In 2003 he took first- place in the statewide school bus rodeo. After winning the state prize he became a coach to help the other drivers win. In everything he did, he lived a little bit of his life each day.
Brad is survived by his former wife Peggy Ackerman, his brothers Scott and Michael, and his sisters Michelle, and Charlene. He leaves a daughter, Denise Marie Dixon, son-in-law Joseph Dixon, six grandchildren, Darrell, Devan, Dustin, and Susan Massengale and Ethan and Melanie Hollinger, and three great-grandchildren Dominique, Ace Ryder and Luna.
Military services will be held at the National Cemetery at 2:30pm on Friday September 13th, with a Celebration of Life and cruise-in immediately following at Historic Spanish Point Museum in Osprey.
Arrangements are entrusted to Robert Toale & Sons Funeral Home at Palms Memorial Park. For more information, you may visit www.PalmsMemorial.com.