Lawrence Ashmead, 78, editor at major publishing houses

HUDSON—Lawrence P. Ashmead, 78, of Stuyvesant, and formerly of New York City, passed away Friday, September 3, 2010 at Community Hospice at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

Born July 4, 1932 in Rochester, he was the son of the late Lawrence H. and Lillian Ashmead.

He was a graduate of the University of Rochester and received his PhD at Yale.

Mr. Ashmead was a senior vice president and executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers in NYC.

As an editor, Mr. Ashmead had a hand in shaping the careers of countless writers, editors, publishers and booksellers in the publishing industry over the past 40 years, and he influenced the reading tastes of millions of readers around the world.

During his 43 year career at publishing houses Doubleday, Lippincott, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, Mr. Ashmead discovered and famously edited authors from Isaac Asimov to Simon Winchester. His list included major bestsellers such as Tony Hillerman, Susan Isaacs, Anne Rivers Siddons, Bill Bryson, Michael Korda, Ruth Rendell, Quentin Crisp, Jack Higgins, Philip K. Dick and numerous others.

He was known throughout the industry as a generous mentor whose wisdom benefited two generations of people in the book world. The list of publishing people who count Mr. Ashmead as legend and friend is too vast to enumerate. Over four decades, an entire industry of people took any opportunity simply to be in his good-humored presence, both professionally and personally. Mr. Ashmead was one of the funniest, most colorful, most widely beloved men in publishing and a conversation with him was a unique privilege.

He was an avid collector of antiques, Roseville Pottery, Humpty Dumpty and Odd Fellows Collectables, and had an extensive collection of salt and pepper shakers.

He was predeceased by his partner of 42 years, Walter Mathews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are with the Bates & Anderson-Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home, 110 Green Street, Hudson.



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