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Dorothy "Dee" (MacDonald) Ashbaugh

February 15, 1951 ~ May 7, 2020 (age 69)


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Dee, who departed this world May 7, 2020. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt and great friend. Dorothy G. Ashbaugh, 69, of Elkhart passed at home surrounded by family after an admirable battle with leukemia. 


No matter how sick she became, Dee was determined to not stop fighting, just as she lived all other battles in her life. Dee stayed strong and was always looking for the F-U-N in life. Through her examples, we have seen what resilience and perseverance truly look like. There was no quit in Dee, and rather than saying she lost her fight, she would want us to know she WON the greatest gift of all- freedom from her illness and eternal F-U-N in heaven.  


Dee’s accomplishments had an impact on her community in numerous ways. As Owner of City Fitness Club in Elkhart, she encouraged many people to become the healthiest, best versions of themselves. Dee broke through barriers to become the first female to purchase Nautilus equipment for fitness facility use!


Dee’s love for both indoor and outdoor rowing led her to transform the Elkhart rowing community. Dee organized and promoted annual Indiana Indoor Rowing championships with competing athletes going on to national and world championships. Dee did not do anything small, and after success in growing the indoor rowing community, she pressed on to organize many outdoor rowing events on Elkhart’s upper St. Joseph river. Dee founded the annual “Head of the Elk” regatta, which drew countless collegiate club and teams to race.


Dee had sizeable plans for the rowing community in Elkhart and never let anything get in the way of her goals – she organized numerous pre-Olympic training camps beginning in her backyard. One of the greatest highlights of her careers was winning Elkhart’s upper St. Joseph river as The U.S. Women’s Rowing Team training site just prior to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. As a result of Dee’s efforts, many in the community got to “rub elbows” the world class Olympic athletes and coaches. Dee seized this opportunity to strengthen her community, encouraging local restaurants to feed athletes, and local families to open their homes to athletes and coaches.



Dee was awarded US Rowing’s “1997 WOMAN OF THE YEAR” in recognition for her outstanding contribution to the sport of rowing. She remains highly esteemed and will be deeply missed by the numerous athletes, coaches, and friends internationally who became her “rowing family”.  Dee’s efforts and her passion were not unnoticed by her community, and in 2005 she was honored with a key to the city by Mayor David Miller for her commitment to building camaraderie, community and strengthening Elkhart through the sport of Rowing. 


Dee loved to travel and one of her favorite places on earth was Sedona, Arizona. She visited Sedona with numerous special family members here to share her love of the red rocks and vortexes. Dee was always asking questions about life and continually studying different methods to improve her physical body through supplementation and practicing mindfulness to feed her brain. She became a certified Neuro-Linguistics practitioner and successfully completed the highest degree of behavioral competence in Design Human Engineering. She loved sharing with people what she had learned and the concept of changing one’s life by changing one’s mind.


Her strength, resilience in the face of every adversity, and the ability to share her vision without recognizing obstacles is a trait that will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Her family will remember her for being “larger than life”, wildly extravagant, loving, and most of all, F-U-N. 


Dee was preceded in death by her father Paul Edward MacDonald, her niece Kari Ann Kauffman and survived by her mother Dorothy Young MacDonald Neibling; her children Lori Harris, Paul Jenkins, Casey Jenkins; her grandchildren Drew Vergonet, Luci Harris, William Harris, Benjamin Harris, Lucas Jenkins, Brannigan Jenkins, Courtney Toby; her siblings David MacDonald, Michael MacDonald, Joseph MacDonald(Celeste), Lois MacDonald, Thomas MacDonald(Anna), and Susan MacDonald. 


Visitation for Dee will be held July 2, 2020 from 5-7PM at the funeral home. A private family service will be held.  Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Memorial donations in Dee’s name can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy "Dee" (MacDonald) Ashbaugh, please visit our floral store.


July 2, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home Inc.
403 W. Franklin Street
Elkhart, IN 46516


Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256
Tel: 1-877-832-6997

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