Marc Ashton

Marc “Butch” Ashton, who has been taken by four armed men only moments earlier as he headed home for lunch

April 5, 2001
1:56 p.m.

It is said that when a person is faced with imminent death, his whole life flashes before him, and he relives it in a split second. As I wait for the bullets to tear through my body, this is partly true. But it isn’t just my own life that tumbles in fast-forward mode across the screen of my mind. I also think of my dad.

My father was Horace Dade Ashton—renowned photographer, lecturer, filmmaker, explorer, scientist, student of religion, diplomat, and artist. In my moment of peril, I see his life flashing before me, inextricably entwined with mine as it had been for most of our lives.

In this world there are leaders and there are followers. My father was a born leader. He exuded confidence and always gave the impression that he knew what he was talking about. Horace Ashton commanded respect just by being who he was. As a boy, I observed how my father influenced others, how he persuaded them to think his way or do things his way, and how he entertained the ever-present audience parading through our house with tales of his adventurous life.