Alison Hubbard Ashton

November 17, 1947July 22, 2020

Alison Hubbard Ashton, 72, passed away on July 22, 2020 at Duke University Hospital. Born on November 17, 1947 in Baton Rouge, LA; she was the daughter of the late Ralph Shelton Hubbard Jr. and Emma Kohler Hubbard. Alison graduated from Louisiana State University in 1969 with a degree in home economics. She also did graduate work in textiles at Florida State University. She obtained her PhD in business (accounting) from the University of Texas at Austin in 1978. Along with her husband, Alison was a professor at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University from 1986 until her retirement in 2011. Prior to coming to Duke, she was a professor at New York University and the University of Alberta, Canada.

Growing up, Alison was close to her maternal grandparents John Joseph Kohler and Amelia Will Kohler, after whom she named her daughter. Alison graduated from Baton Rouge High School as a national merit scholar. At LSU, she was among the first women to live in the Delta Gamma sorority house and served as rush chair for two years. She was briefly on the women’s rifelry team and also represented the state of Louisiana at the 1968 national college queen competition. She was among the first women to receive a PhD in accounting at Texas and she remained throughout her life a mentor for young women, later taking a two-year leave from Duke to serve as the Mary Ardrey Stough Kimbrough professor at Salem College where she led a center for women in business. Her academic research was grounded in cognitive psychology and focused on judgment and decision making issues in various organizational contexts. While at Duke, she taught management accounting and for a time served as associate dean of executive MBA programs both at home and abroad.

Alison hand-made Halloween costumes, cooked gourmet Cajun food, and celebrated all holidays and special events with style and spirit (even joining Duke undergraduates on the quad the night of the 1991 NCAA basketball championship win). She was elegant but never aloof; her warmth and compassion made everyone she met feel at home and at ease.

She is survived by her husband: Robert Hayes Ashton, of Durham; her daughter: Amelia Ashton Thorn and husband Evan, of Durham; step-daughters: Amy Ashton Lazor and husband Paul, of Austin, TX and Lee Ashton Burton and husband Lynn, of Dallas, TX; four grandchildren: Ashton and Natalie Alison Thorn and Alexandra and James Lazor; her brothers and their families: Warren Shelton (“Smoke”) Hubbard and wife Fran, of Epworth, GA and Ralph Shelton Hubbard III and wife Nancy, of Baton Rouge, LA; her Delta Gamma sisters; and by other friends and family.

Private services will be held at the Chapel of Raleigh Memorial Park Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Delta Gamma Foundation to help fund a scholarship in her name – 3250 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH 43221 or (hyperlink below).

If you would like to leave a favorite memory of Alison or a message of condolence to her family, you may do so below within "add a memory".


Alison Hubbard Ashton

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Nancy Gray Schoonmaker

November 18, 2020

Will forever spend November 17 remembering Alison with love, and reminiscing about laughter and wisdom she shared.

Alyssa Gran

November 17, 2020

I am deeply saddened to learn of Alison’s passing this summer. She was a mentor of mine at Salem College, and she has had a lasting impact on my life ever since. She encouraged me to be bold, courageous, and to never be afraid of a little style, either. She was, of course, one of the most beautiful people I’d ever met, inside and out. While our time at Salem ended together, she remained a close influence on my life for many years. I’m so grateful to have known Alison (AHA to us!) and to have met her wonderful family. My condolences to you all.

And so much love for Alison oxox

Susan Hansen-Engelhard

November 11, 2020

I remember Alison very well from our time together in Delta Gamma at LSU. She was kind, caring, and very competent in her roles in the chapter. My condolences to her family.

Ellen Cooley

August 11, 2020

Dear Robert, Amelia, Evan, Ashton, Natalie,

Please accept my heartfelt condolences with the passing of Alison.

I was fortunate to get to know Alison through my daughter, Alicyn’s friendship with Amelia and subsequently on Alison and Robert’s visits to Stanford and San Francisco when visiting Amelia.

My first impression of Alison was her intuitiveness and kindness in relating to someone she just met. That is such a unique quality and it made me like her so much and feel as if I had known her for a long time rather than a first meeting over a wonderful lunch with Robert, Amelia, Alicyn and myself on University Avenue in Palo Alto. It was a celebratory meal since Amelia was graduating. We talked about future plans that our daughters had for themselves.

We met again for tea in San Francisco, a year or so thereafter...all 5 of us..and, again, the conversation centered on what our girls were planning for postgraduate goals.

I am grateful for those moments and for Amelia and Alicyn becoming friends at 15 enabling my meeting Alison.

My love and prayers for all,
Ellen Cooley

Ellen Adams

July 30, 2020

Rex and I are truly saddened to hear of Alison's death. We both enjoyed her and Bob's company on many occasions at Fuqua. She was always charming, smiling and interesting. Rex liked working with her at Fuqua when he was Dean and found her to be supportive and helpful. Our condolences go out to Bob and the rest of her family.

Yonca Ertimur

July 29, 2020

Bob and family, my deepest condolences to you.

Amanda Laird

July 28, 2020

I met Alison and Bob when I worked at WorldStrides and accompanied them to Dubai. Alison and I immediately bonded when I told her my husband was from New Orleans. Later, when I joined Fuqua's EMBA Programs team, I would run into her in the building and at social events. I always enjoyed catching up with her. She was a smart, Southern woman who spoken her mind with grace - something I deeply admired. I am saying prayers for peace for her family and friends.

Pamela Nathan

July 27, 2020

Bob and Family. I am sorry so for your loss. Alison was such a kind a wonderful woman. It was a pleasure having the opportunity to know her. She will always be remembered. May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared, comfort you now and in the days ahead.

Pam White

July 27, 2020

Dear Bob and Family, My heart goes out to you all during this difficult time. I met Alison when I arrived at Fuqua and quickly realized that she was such a loving, amazing and caring person. She always took time to catch up when we ran into each other at Fuqua. She will truly be missed.

Tim & Karen Bell

July 27, 2020

Our heartfelt condolences to Bob and Amelia for the loss of Alison. Our hearts sunk when we heard the news of her passing. While our lives feel smaller without her in the world, our memory of Alison's grace, kindness, abundant energy, sharp intellect, and the wonderful times we had together with Bob and Alison, will remain with us forever. Thank you, Alison, for shining your light our way.