DELMAR – Bernard F. Ashe Esq., a defender, litigator, educator, and mentor of labor law, husband, father, brother, and grandfather, passed on his 87th birthday.
Born on March 8, 1936, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Victor J. Ashe and Frances C. Johnson, Mr. Ashe received his law degree from Howard University. He served as Assistant Counsel for the United Automobile Workers (UAW) 1963-1971, and General Counsel for New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) 1971-1996. There, he and other lawyers at NYSUT were a primary force in the development of the law of public sector collective bargaining in the state of New York, litigating over 90 cases, winning almost 70% of those cases, to create a solid foundation for state and federal labor relations issues, until his retirement in 1996.
Mr. Ashe was an adjunct faculty member at Fordham University, Roger Williams University, and Cornell University. He served as Urban League board director and vice president, and as a trustee of the New York State Lawyers Fund for Client Protection and at Adelphi University.
In his four decades of involvement with the American Bar Association, Mr. Ashe served on many committees and commissions. He was appointed Chairman of the Labor and Employment Law Section from 1982-1983, making him the first African American chair of a substantive section of the ABA. Among his other ABA roles, he served on the ABA’s Board of Governors, House of Delegates, Executive Committee, and Journal Editorial Board.
Also dedicating time to serving on the board of directors for the American Arbitration Association from 1982 to 1998, Mr. Ashe was an emeritus member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a life member of the American Law Institute. He held affiliations with the National Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. He was also a 30-year Emeritus member of Sigma Pi Phi Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Happily married for almost 60 years, Mr. Ashe is survived by his wife, Nannette, sons, Walter (Wendy) and David (Rosemary); grandchildren, Ricardo, Miguel, and Aech; brother, Samuel Flemming (Mildred), brother-in-law Marlin Johnson; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. He is predeceased by parents, Victor J. Ashe and Francis C. Flemming; siblings Julius Flemming, Jr. (Mary), Cecelia Flemming -Walker, and JoAnn Flemming Johnson.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Delmar, 428 Kenwood Avenue, on Saturday, March 25 at 1:00 pm. Relatives and friends are invited to call prior to the service at the church from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the American Cancer Society, or the Howard University School of Law.
For more information and/or to express condolences, please visit applebeefuneralhome.com/.