Elise Duvall Ashler

January 31, 1915August 15, 2013

Elise (Barrett) Duvall Ashler died peacefully Thursday, August 15 at age 98. She was born in an unnamed hamlet (as she referred to it) on the Coosa River in Alabama on January 31, 1915. After a TVA dam project put their home under water, her father packed up the family of eight and moved to Kathleen, Fla., where he had heard that there were fruit- bearing orange trees in every yard. Elise grew up on a small farm which provided butter, eggs, and oranges, but little else. She had one burning desire throughout her life and that was education. In order to go to college, which no one in her family had ever done, she enrolled in high school in Lakeland, which is 20 miles away from Kathleen, and graduated at the top of her class. Elise entered Florida State College for Women and again excelled both academically and in sports. Although a slight 5’4”, she lettered in basketball, archery and equestrian competition. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936 and moved to Williston, Florida where she taught at Williston High School. There she met her future husband, Edward Duvall, the principal at the high school who had previously taught at Leon High School in Tallahassee and they married in 1939. Edward died in 1953. Not satisfied with a Bachelor’s degree, she enrolled in graduate school to study psychology; first at the University of Florida where she earned a Master’s degree in 1948, and later, at Florida State University where she was awarded a Ph.D. in psychology in 1954, though she never engaged in a clinical practice. Following her husband’s death, Elise became a success in real estate. She was a trail-blazing innovator and leader in the real-estate industry locally, designing and building many of the outstanding homes and apartments in Tallahassee. A lifelong lover of the arts, Elise was actively engaged with FSU and its cultural activities. She was one of the founders of The LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts in the early ‘60s and she always encouraged local artists. Elise was chairman of the Historic Renovation Commission when it raised money to move the Union Bank Building (now housing the Black Archives) from the corner of Park Avenue and Adams Street to its present location at the southwest corner of Calhoun Street and Apalachee Parkway. She was active in the creation of the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Foundation and remained active in several local civic organizations. Elise met every challenge with grace and determination. In 1969 she met Retired Admiral Philip F. Ashler on a blind date arranged by former Governor Reuben Askew. After a whirlwind romance, they were married. They enjoyed an active life including extensive international travel and frequent stays at her home in Tangier, Morocco. They were married 40 years at his passing in 2009. She is survived by her five sons: Jeff Duvall and his wife Stuart Riordan, Richard and Marianne Duvall, Phil and Betty Ashler, Jr., all of Tallahassee, Robert Ashler of Destin, Florida, and Harrison Ashler of Pensacola, Florida, eight grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. Also surviving her is her sister Agnes McCalister of Ocala. Services will be held at Westminster Oaks, Maguire Center on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements are being handled by Culley’s Meadowwood Funeral Home, Riggins Road Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts or St. John’s Episcopal Church.



  • Memorial Service Saturday, August 24, 2013


  • Burial

Elise Duvall Ashler

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Mary Watson Inman

September 6, 2013

So sorry to hear of the passing of your incredible Mother. Thinking of you and your family at this time.
Mary Watson Inman
Pensacola, Florda

Bib Willis

August 27, 2013

What a lady! When I was a lowly reporter and she was the wife of a cabinet officer, she was so gracious. My deepest sympathy.

Gloria Sheridan

August 24, 2013

Elise was, and always will be, my friend, my mentor and the most important and influential person in my life. Elise was the embodiment of grace, dignity, brilliance, optimism, courage, modesty, pragmatism and good humor. She was always far ahead of her time and excelled at any endeavor. Her spirit was undauntable and was always ready to take on a challenge or adventure. She was a perfect role-model for young women. My sympathy and condolences to the family in your great loss; may she always be with you in spirit.

Diane Roberts

August 23, 2013

Elise Duvall Ashler was brilliant and beautiful. A Tallahassee treasure. Please accept our deepest condolences.
--the Roberts Family

August 22, 2013

May the family have comfort and strength from God to carry you through the journey of sadness (Philippians 4:12).

Leonard Haney Sr.

August 22, 2013

I did a lot of drywall work for Elise and Richard your mother was a fantastic Lady she will be missed may god bless you and your family.

Donna Cay Tharpe

August 21, 2013

Richard--I did not know your mother well, but our paths occasionally crossed, such as at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville when we were both there for our annual physical exam. She was a feisty, unforgettable person, and the world is bit dimmer without her. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

August 20, 2013

I was sorry to hear of Elise's passing. She was quite the example of a successful woman and I know that many will miss her. I am so happy that I visited with her st the Barrett reunion in April. She was a blessing to everyone. I send my deepest sympathy. Carolyn Capshaw

Steve Edwards and family

August 18, 2013

Please accept our sincere condolences.

August 18, 2013

I send sympathy to the Ashler Family in the homegoing of my longtime friend and neighbor Elise. She and Phil were always so kind and thoughtful of the needs of others .
With blessings to you.
Frances Robrts