Howard R. Asher, 72, of San Diego passed away peacefully at his home on Nov. 14, 2019, after a two-year journey with cancer.
Howard began his career with Pfizer as a “salesman surgeon,” not only teaching orthopedic surgeons how to use the hip and knee replacements he sold but actually assisting in their surgeries to ensure the devices were implanted correctly. From this early entry into the Life Sciences, Howard was hooked.
After Pfizer, Howard worked for Baxter Healthcare and then Bayer AG, where he was instrumental in all phases of replacing plaster of paris casts with fiberglass. The story of how fiberglass casts came to be was by far one of his favorite stories to tell as it was a pivotal moment in his life; he learned his calling was to help life science companies bring medical products from idea to market, and ultimately transform healthcare.
Howard’s unparalleled passion for being at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and pushing the industry into the future with technology innovations resulted in an impressive career that spanned four decades. As he liked to say, he was fluent in three languages: life sciences, healthcare IT, and regulatory affairs.
Howard was truly a visionary with a brilliant mind; a transformative figure in the industry—and known for his loud Hawaiian shirts. He was always looking to the future, identifying the “next big thing” decades before it happened, and disrupting the status quo. Howard was nothing if not ahead of his time with all of his endeavors.
A true leader, he communicated his passion through guiding visions, inspiring others to take action and think outside the box. His entrepreneurial optimism was truly contagious.
Howard was always willing to take risks, to experiment and try new things. He never worried about failing, knowing what was important was the knowledge he and others would gain. And it was this attitude that had him flying to China for an experimental cancer treatment and journaling the entire experience along the way. In true Howard fashion, instead of viewing his cancer diagnosis and treatment as something to fear, he saw them as opportunities for him and others to learn.
Despite his strong work ethic and unwavering devotion to transforming healthcare, Howard firmly believed in “family first.” He continuously reminded his colleagues the work would still be there in the morning, that you could always make money later, but missed moments can’t be recovered nor time after it’s gone.
Howard loved his dogs, sailing, traveling, spending time with friends, and good food and wine. But most of all, he loved his family.
Howard is survived by his wife, Anette; two children from his first marriage, Randy Asher and his wife Shelly and grandson Tyler; and daughter Srutih (Stacey Asher) Colbert and her spouse Simon and grand-daughters Ruby Blue and Muirinn who, as little girls called Howard “Grandpa Poward.” It was a name that has stuck with all children in the clan.
The family wishes to thank Elizabeth Hospice for their support and compassion in helping Howard pass comfortably and peacefully.
There will be an Hawaiian Shirt themed Aloha-to-Howard and celebration of life on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 at 2-5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to this Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/howard-asher-mission-improve-global-health.