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February 25, 2014

Construction attorney David Ashbaugh dies

Journal Construction Editor


Seattle attorney David L. Ashbaugh died last Thursday after a bout with cancer. He was 73.

Ashbaugh was one of the founding partners of the law firm now known as Ashbaugh Beal. He was a pioneer in using mediation to resolve litigation disputes, and frequently acted as a mediator himself. He also was a mentor to many attorneys during a career that spanned about 40 years.

“David was an inspirational figure in the firm,” said John Riper, managing partner at Ashbaugh Beal who worked with Ashbaugh for 35 years.

Ashbaugh began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Revelle in King County Superior Court. After several years in private practice, he became a partner in the Oles, Morrison, Rinker, Stanislaw & Ashbaugh firm in Seattle. In 1987, he left to form his own firm, where he continued to practice until his death.

Riper said two of Ashbaugh's bigger cases involved the L-P siding litigation and the Fen-Phen weight-loss drug litigation. About 80 percent of his work involved the construction industry and his practice took him to far-away places such as London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Cairo.

Riper said perhaps Ashbaugh's greatest professional accomplishment was practicing law with his daughter, Becki Ashbaugh, who became a partner in the firm last year.

David Ashbaugh was born and raised in Tacoma. He attended Washington State University and the University of Washington before earning his law degree from the University of Idaho.

He got his first taste of construction while working as a laborer at Tucci & Sons, an asphalt paving, earthwork and utility firm in Tacoma.

Annie Lombroia, director of marketing and business development at Ashbaugh Beal, said David Ashbaugh believed in giving back to his customers and their industry, making that part of the firm's culture.

“He was inspiring in giving back to the community,” Lombroia said. “David gave back so much time to the construction industry.”

At the Associated General Contractors of Washington, he was a board member, participated in its committees, and spoke at many events. He also served on the AGC Education Foundation board and was on the University of Washington Construction Industry Advisory Council.

In an email, AGC of Washington Executive Vice President David D'Hondt wrote that Ashbaugh had an “ubiquitous, vibrant and uplifting presence at AGC events.”

One of the few things Ashbaugh didn't excel at was golf, according to Bob Marconi, a partner at Ashbaugh Beal who knew him for 25 years.

Marconi said he used to imitate Ashbaugh's golf skills by swinging his club and, in the same motion, grabbing a second ball from his pocket because the first ball was likely in the woods.

But Ashbaugh was a big sports fan, attending football, baseball and basketball games at the high school, college and professional levels.

Lombroia said he was one of the first Seahawks season ticket holders. He also was a big fan of the Washington Huskies, and his office and home were filled with sports memorabilia.

Another love was collecting classic cars. Lombroia said he sold a 1955 Chevrolet convertible last month at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Arizona.

Ashbaugh is survived by five daughters: Cathy Fullerton, Julie Teske, Teri Ashbaugh, Becki Ashbaugh and Amy Ashbaugh.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. March 3 at Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Swedish Medical Center Foundation and the ALS Association.


Benjamin Minnick can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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