It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Avrum (Avy) Ashery in Rockville, Md., at the age of 79, a remarkable individual whose life was a tapestry of art, service and unwavering friendship.
Avy left us on Dec. 3, surrounded by his loving family and friends, leaving behind a legacy of cultural enrichment and dedicated public service.
Born on Feb. 21, 1944, in Louisville, Ky., to Cantor Irving and Dorothy Ashery, and predeceased by his sister, Miriam, Avy’s early life was marked by frequent relocations. Despite growing up in fourteen different cities, he had the unique ability to forge lasting friendships wherever he went, maintaining these bonds until his final days. Avy’s passion for art and design led him to the University of Tulsa’s Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, setting the stage for a career that seamlessly blended his artistic talents with a commitment to public service.
He served as the art director at Walter Reed Medical Center and the National Institute of Mental Health, eventually retiring as a senior publications consultant with the General Accountability Office after over four decades of federal service.
Beyond his professional achievements, Avy’s private contributions were equally significant. He served as a design consultant to notable institutions including the President’s Commission on the Holocaust Museum, Embassy of Israel, National Jewish War Veterans, B’nai Brith International and various Jewish federations, synagogues and day schools.
In 1976, Avy presented the only Jewish Bicentennial Design to the White House, a work now proudly part of the Smithsonian’s Bicentennial Collection. His design “The Prayer” played a pivotal role in the Soviet Jewry movement, its discovery in Natan Sharansky’s apartment leading to the banning of his work in the USSR.
A staunch advocate for Jewish arts and culture, Avy was instrumental in the U.S. Postal Service’s issuance of a Chanukah commemorative stamp, a first of its kind. He tirelessly lobbied Jewish leaders to include art and cultural programs, often lecturing on their importance to Jewish identity.
Avy leaves behind his beloved wife, Susan Cohen, his sons, Elie and Barak Ashery, his stepchildren, Lisa Straus and Scott and Corey Josephson, and his cherished grandchildren, Lilah and Samuel Ashery, Joshua and Noam Straus, Jack and Sam Josephson and Joey and Adam Josephson. His departure leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew him, but his legacy will continue to inspire and influence generations to come.