Clear Lake- Ethan Thomas Astor the son of William “Bill” and Kathy Astor passed away peacefully with his wife Harriet and his mother Kathy by his side, on Thursday, February 16, 2023, at the age of 35. He bravely fought stage 4 bile duct cancer for two years in London, UK, while on international assignment with PwC.
A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 8, 2023, at the Surf Ballroom, 460 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake, Iowa, with Mark Doebel officiating. The family will greet friends following the memorial service until 5:00 p.m. To honor Ethan, Iowa Hawkeye, Minnesota Viking or golf attire would be appropriate.
Memorial donations in Ethan’s name can be directed to The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, a global 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to find a cure and improve the quality of life for cholangiocarcinoma patients.
Ethan Thomas Astor was born on August 13th, 1987, in Mason City, Iowa to Kathy Jean Astor and William (Bill) Thomas Astor. He grew up in Clear Lake, Iowa and graduated from Clear Lake High School in 2005 and The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 2010.
Ethan enjoyed spending time with his family and friends growing up. He loved playing catch with Dad in the backyard and the endless movie and video game sessions with Mom. He also enjoyed playing outdoor basketball and football in the neighborhood with friends.
Ethan played various sports and was on school teams for golf, football, basketball and baseball. He was a member of the Clear Lake Boys Golf State Championship teams in 2004 and 2005 and runner-up team in 2003. He was also a member of Clear Lake Football District Champion and State Playoff teams in 2004 and 2005.
Ethan excelled in academics at the university level, earning Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degrees in Accounting, as well as Management and Organizations at The University of Iowa. After completing accounting internships at Southern California Edison in Los Angeles, California, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ethan accepted a full-time position with PwC in 2010. While practicing in Minneapolis, Ethan passed the CPA exams and became a licensed Certified Public Accountant. During this time and with the backdrop of the global financial crisis, he developed an interest in the financial services industry. In 2012, Ethan transferred to PwC’s office in New York City to work in its Banking and Capital Markets practice. During his time in New York, Ethan served some of the firm’s largest global financial services clients, including American Express, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC, rising quickly from the Associate through Senior Manager ranks to become a Director at the firm. In 2020, he accepted an international post in PwC’s London, United Kingdom office to continue his work on HSBC globally, while supporting his candidacy for admission to the partnership.
In early 2021, Ethan became severely ill and was diagnosed with Stage 4 bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma). Bile duct cancer is one of the rarest, most aggressive forms of cancer and is typically only discovered at advanced stages. While cases are increasing, there are less than 10,000 people diagnosed each year in the United States and United Kingdom. The disease remains incurable and has a median overall survival period of less than a year.
Ethan handled his diagnosis with a positive attitude and his prognosis with great perspective, accepting the inevitable fate of his disease while doing everything he could to prolong his life. He was immensely grateful for the support of his wife, Harriet, and both their parents (Bill and Kathy Astor, Carl and Sally Miller, and Ken and Helene Wheeler) and their many extended family and friends. He was also appreciative of his healthcare providers in the UK at HCA Healthcare and in the US at The Mayo Clinic.
Recognizing the disproportionate level of investment research for rare cancers such as his, Ethan started a fundraiser in 2021 on behalf of Cancer Research UK and was overwhelmed with the support he received from his global network of family, friends and colleagues. Ethan’s team completed a 72- hole golf challenge in London toward the end of his first chemotherapy regimen which was followed by an event in Iowa hosted by his parents and friend, Michael Oimoen. The combined efforts raised nearly $50,000 and Ethan’s team was the top overall fundraiser for Cancer Research UK.
Ethan met his wife Harriet in New York and they bonded quickly over many shared interests. Ethan joked that he knew she was a keeper when they went to the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York (several hours from Manhattan by train) and she actually enjoyed it. Ethan and Harriet married in a small, private ceremony in London on May 8th, 2021.
Ethan enjoyed spending time with Harriet, travelling, golf, exercise, food, wine, architecture, film, reading the news, tracking the financial markets, Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings football and Formula One racing. He was a keen student of the world, always seeking to understand his place within it and curious about nearly any topic he read about. He valued getting to know people from different backgrounds and trying to understand life through their experiences, often realizing they had more shared values and similarities than differences. Living in several different cities and travelling globally afforded him a wonderful and diverse collective of friends that he cared for deeply.
In recent years, Ethan and his friend Peter Gill played several of their bucket list golf courses around the world and attended nearly every major professional golfing event. Ethan was proud of the military service of his grandfathers, James (Jim) Frampton and William (Bill) Astor, who served in the United States Navy in World War Two, and his Uncle Tim Brinkley, who served in the United States Army in the Vietnam War, receiving three Purple Hearts, among several other accolades. He greatly respected these men and believed his own leadership skills were partially rooted in their early examples in his life.
Ethan was also thankful for the presence and influence of both sets of grandparents in his life: Jim and Elsie Frampton, and Bill and Mary Astor. Ethan is survived by his wife (Harriet), parents (Bill and Kathy), parents-in-law (Carl and Sally Miller, and Helene Wheeler), brothers-in-law, goddaughter, and many dear aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and colleagues. Ethan was preceded in death by his grandparents, father-in-law (Ken Wheeler) and his dear friend Kyle DeVries.