In Memory of




Obituary for Philip Whitney Ashton


Philip Whitney Ashton
August 5, 1973 - August 23, 2020

Philip Whitney Ashton passed away peacefully on Aug. 23, 2020 at 47 years old after a short bout with COVID-19. He was born August 5,1973 in Summit, New Jersey, to Steven McKay and Marilyn Whitney Ashton as the fourth child of 13 biological children and 7 adopted siblings. He lived with Down Syndrome which prevented his capability to communicate with words. Yet he offered love and happiness to all with whom he associated. His contagious smile will ever be remembered. He is survived by his parents and 19 siblings.

Philip was a student in Special Education at Jordan Valley School in Sandy, Utah; Greengate School in Woodland, California; and graduated with a Certificate of Completion from Oakridge School in Provo, Utah. He competed in the 50 Yard Dash and Softball Throw events in Special Olympics during his junior and senior high school years, and he graduated from LDS Special Education Seminary. He was noted for his cheerfulness and big smile, and the way he engaged with others with his wave, handshake, high-five, thumbs up, and earnest eye contact.

After high school Philip was involved at ATEC in Orem, Utah for a few years and then with the STEPS Day Treatment Center, also in Orem. He spent many happy days with the staff and participants at STEPS, giving away “love” (hugs) every chance he got.

Philip lived at home with his parents most of his life. He transitioned to Topham’s Care Center in Orem in 2012 and finished out his life as the self-appointed greeter for the center, giving out his signature wave, handshake, high-five and thumbs up to staff, residents, and visitors. He was a favorite.

Phil’s life’s work was teaching others how to love and what truly matters in life. As his family, we learned to be more patient, understanding, fun-loving, caring, and happy because of his example. Phil was a people person. Getting him to the car from any social function took time, because he insisted on shaking hands with everyone he passed in the hall. He loved peanut butter sandwiches, baths, people, and playing with a ball. His playful teasing, signature handshakes, and sincere hugs opened people’s hearts and left lasting impressions. We look forward to the reunion we will have with him one day and to see him as he really is. He was truly one of the noble and great ones.

Philip’s funeral will be held at the Nelson Family Mortuary on Friday, August 28th at 11 a.m., with a private viewing prior to the service.

Due to the limited seating, live streaming will be available. Please click on the photos and videos tab above for the link. If you are on a cell phone, scroll down.

Interment will be in the Lindon City Cemetery.