Ashton Meredith Felts, Jr.

Ashton Meredith Felts, Jr.

Berlin, VA
12.19.1947 - 05.17.2020

Berlin, Virginia – Ashton Meredith Felts, Jr. (Mert Felts), 72, of Berlin, Virginia passed away surrounded by the love of his family, community, and the peaceful light of God on May 17, 2020, following a courageous 5-year battle with cancer.

Mert was born December 19, 1947 to Louise “Pudden” Taylor Felts and the late Ashton Meredith Felts, Sr. of Berlin, Virginia.  He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jean Thompson Felts; his son Ashton Meredith Felts, III (Trip) and fiancé Kristina Caroline Johnson of Suffolk, Virginia; two daughters Ellyn Felts Hassell and husband Derek V. Hassell of Williamsburg, Virginia and Taylor Felts Billingsley and husband Ryan E. Billingsley of Arlington, Virginia; his brother John Pate Felts and partner Ron Bracco of Washington, DC; and 6 grandchildren, Cayla Brittle Felts, Ashton Pate Felts, Maxton Anderson Hassell, Eva Page Hassell, Everett Meredith Billingsley, and Hazel Page Billingsley.

A faithful servant of God, Mert will forever be remembered for his deep love of family, church, and community. His curiosity, ingenuity, and tremendous work ethic extended into every aspect of his life. In all things, his gentle spirit and patient demeanor served as a bright light to all who knew him…and there was always a humorous story to tell.

Mert had a life-long love of the art and science of glassblowing. Many of his pieces are in use today at scientific institutions, and on Christmas trees and shelves of his family and friends. As a young high school student, Mert’s interest in glassblowing led to several summer internships at Phillip Morris. Under the mentorship of John Bivens, who later became a dear friend and colleague, Mert’s love of this unique art blossomed. After receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina Wesleyan College (where he snagged the love of his life, Jean) and studying scientific glassblowing at Salem County Technical Institute in New Jersey, he ventured to the State Department of Agriculture in Richmond, as both chemist and glassblower. A few years later, he and Jean returned to Berlin to help his father Meredith run their family farm in the heart of Southampton County. It was here that his love of farming and glassblowing became intertwined.

While farming and raising three children, Mert spent part of his weekends at Old Dominion University’s School of Sciences where he repaired scientific glass. Often called the Phantom Glassblower, he slipped in on Sunday evenings to fill orders for the upcoming week. As an active member of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society, he researched and applied the latest techniques. Over the years, he provided scientific glassware for Eastern VA Medical School, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, VA Institute of Marine Science, and Research Glass, among others.

Mert had a deep desire to give back. He immersed himself in local and state initiatives, sharing his knowledge and skillset. He served as President of the Virginia Peanut Grower’s Association and member of the Board of Virginia-Carolina Peanut Promotions, advocating for peanut subsidies. As a member and Chairman of the Board of Economic Development of Southampton County and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Paul D. Camp Community college, his wisdom and guidance inspired future leaders. Through his work in the Ivor Ruritan Club, he improved his community and touched many lives.

After retiring from farming, Mert marketed Felts Peanut Farm peanuts, designed original Christmas ornaments, and fulfilled glassblowing contracts with Jefferson Lab and James R. Reed & Associates. He connected with old friends from his Nu Gamma Phi Fraternity days at Wesleyan, of which he was a charter member.

Throughout his journey, Mert made time for what mattered most. He was a loyal member of Millfield Baptist Church serving as Deacon, Trustee, Sunday School teacher, Historian, RA leader, and very distinguished bass in the Millfield Choir. He was a follower of Christ and loved others deeply.

We will miss his laugh, his stories, and his calm presence. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, and friend to many. In his own words, “Slow down, enjoy the beauty of this earth, and spend time with family and friends. We only go through this life once.”

A graveside service will be held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, June 27, 2020 at Millfield Baptist Church Cemetery. The family is being served by R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 11414 General Mahone Hwy, Wakefield VA where condolences may be posted to In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Millfield Baptist Church at or Duke Cancer Institute at

Start Time

Millfield Baptist Church
31389 Millfield Road
Wakefield, VA 23888
United States


Our deepest condolences, Taylor and family. Sending lots of love always ❤️ Eileen, Anthony, Isabelle and Lucas

Eileen Avery

Taylor and family, so very sorry for your loss. I pray for God’s arms of peace and comfort to surround you through out your season of grief . Sending love and prayers.

Robin Bryant

I am heartbroken for all of you. Mert was an amazing man who followed his dreams and worked hard, and with passion. I love hearing stories about his journey. I am so fortunate that I have met and spent time with you all. It provided me with the pleasure of getting to know him and gain understandIng of how wonderful and special of a person he is. He will be missed, and I know his legacy and life will live on through all of you. Thank you Ellyn for introducing me to your amazing father.

Tammy Underwood

Our hearts and prayers go out to Ellyn and the entire Felts family during this time of loss. May our Lord bless and comfort you and your family. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Wendy Mihalcoe and family


Mike & Donna Magee

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ellyn and the entire family. What an amazing man and wonderful story.

Denise Kadilak

We are so saddened to hear of Mert's passing. Jean, if you need us for anything, feel free to call us at the store, or at home.
Mert gave it his best fight and now he's in the Lord's hands. Our fondest sympathies to each of you during your time of mourning. We feel confident he is surrounded by family he previously lost and a reunion is in the works.
Take care of Aunt Pudden, as this has to be difficult for her. Give her a hug from us.
Again, if you need us for anything, just pick up the phone. We are here for you.

Chuck Kolb and Brenda Layne

Reid and I send our utmost condolences to this loving family. We have been enjoying stories Reid has been sharing with us about his cousin Mert. Our girls adored Mert. Logan loved speaking about chemistry formulas with him and having conversations that were over everyone else’s heads!
We have displayed his ornaments today in his honor. We will miss him - we loved being around him.
Love to his wonderful family.

Holly Miller

Pate - we are so sorry to hear about your brother. We would have loved to have known him - he sounds like a wonderful man - just like you. We are holding you and your sweet family in our hearts with lots of love. ❤️ Love, Mark and Joi Pryor

Mark and Joi Pryor

A ridiculously great man. You will
be missed my friend!

Edward Railey III

Mrs.Felts and Trip and family we are very sorry to here about Mr.Felts .Our prayers are with you and your family.

David & Susan Cook Smith

Prayers and condolences to Mert's family - yes, a man of gentle spirit and patient demeanor who was so very helpful as a neighbor and Ivor Ruritan Club member when our family lived in the Corinth community!

David K. Hobson

My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Felt's family. I hope the many happy memories of a life lived well can serve to assist during this difficult time. Pate, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss and extend my warmest regards. The content of the obituary was a joy to read and a true testament to the abundance of values your family possesses and practices. I'm glad your mother has you by her side.

Michael A Rawson

We are so sorry for your loss, Taylor and the Felts family. We will be keeping your entire family in our prayers.

Jenny, Justin, Olivia, & Jackson Luecking

Jenny & Justin Luecking

Jean, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

Laura Vick

Jean and Family,
I am deeply sadden to learn of Mert's passing. We had a great time at Wesleyan and I proudly called him my fraternity brother. I followed his career and love of glass blowing over the years. May he rest in peace after a long fight.

Quinton White

Quinton White

Meet was an amazing guy to all who had the pleasure of knowing him. We met in 1969; my freshman year at NC Wesleyan. We became fraternity brothers later that year. In 1973 Mert donated much of his chemistry lab equipment to Southampton Academy, where I had just been hired to teach. I last saw Mert and Jeanie at a Nu Gamma Phi reunion a couple of years ago and we had a blast.

M. Scott Polley

Felts family- We grieve with you over the loss of a great friend. Mert was a wonderful man who was a true giver at heart. He will be missed but we rejoice in knowing he’s with Jesus! Mel and Wendy Bass and family

Mel and Wendy Bass

Jeanne and family, our sincere condolences. It is with heartfelt saddest to hear such sad news. We will miss our beloved classmate, friend and Fraternity Brother.
Dee and Jerry Merritt

Dee and Jerry Merritt

Sending love and prayers to your family. I fondly remember our days at N C Wesleyan College.

Beverly Alford

I was so blessed to know this wonderful man who left us way too soon. Grace, mercy, and peace to Puddin, Jean, Trip, Ellen, Taylor and the rest of the family.

Wellford Tiller

I can remember him teaching us in Sunday school class talking the talk and all week long till the next Sunday walking the walk as they say. He was a true witness to be be atmired and now missed. Good speed Mert

Chuck Wrenn

Jean, Brenda and I were sorry to hear of Mert's passing. He was a great dorm neighbor, fraternity brother and friend at NCWC. He, to this day, is the only person I know who liked the unlikely combination of Vienna Sausage and peanut butter.
May he Rest In Peace.

John and Brenda Kordulak

James River Hunt will miss Mert’s smiling face on Hunt mornings. He was very supportive of our Fox Hunt and would greet us on cold early January mornings to see us start the hunt and take pictures . He was such a kind soul and he will truly be missed.

James River Hunt

To all of Mert's family:
We are so sadded to learn of his passing.
During the late 70's into the late 80's, Mert and his talent for scientific glassblowing were integral to the success of our pharmacology research lab at EVMS. No problem was too small or too complicated for him. He was always interested in what we were doing. Our work, supported by the American Heart Association and by the NIH, could not have been done without his support. In addition, he was such a nice man.
May your fond and loving memories sustain you during this difficult time.

Patricia B. Williams, PhD, EVMS retired Professor of Pharmacology and Ophthalmolog

I was so sad to see Mert's obituary in the paper, but it brought back such a rush of good memories of singing with him and Jean in the NCWC Chapel Choir, including at Ivor Methodist Church on one of our tours. Every time I drove through Ivor on my way to Edenton, I would think of him and Jean and those happy days. May God bless Jean and the family with happy memories during all the days to come.

Barbara Epps Tuttle

Very sorry to hear of Mr. Felts passing. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. With heartfelt sympathy. Tom,Dana and Hunter Britt

Dana W Britt

Mrs. Felts, I would be remiss to not mention how much the Kello family appreciated Mert's efforts in preserving Kello family heritage. What seemed like a long trip up country seems so much shorter now.

George Kello

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.