Margaret Ashida’s family hosted a reception celebrating Margaret’s life on January 17th, 2015 at the Hawkins-Carlson room at the Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester River Campus, Rochester NY.  The event included displays highlighting Margaret’s life, accomplishments, dedication to education, and lasting impact on those she encountered.  Thank you to all who contributed and attended. 

 For the good of the order


Posted by Vincent Marrone on October 13, 2014
I had the honor of working with Margaret in Albany. She was a passionate, brilliant woman who was dedicated to improving the lives of others. I will miss her dearly, and extend my sincere condolences to her family.
Posted by Jodi Atkin on October 13, 2014
Margaret was my classmate (UR 1978). So very sad to hear this news. May her memory be for a blessing, and may her influence on all of our lives remind us to reach and grow and become all we are capable of.
Posted by Mark Ezzell on October 13, 2014
Margaret was brilliant, funny and visionary role model for all of us who worked in STEM education. She had an infectious humor and unbridled passion for education, and she accomplished so many great things across the country. More importantly, she was a warm, exciting, confident person who always brought a servant leader mentality to the work she undertook. And she was funny and joyous- I can't think of much higher praise than that. Margaret will be missed, and she'll always be remembered.
Posted by Bill Marean on October 13, 2014
Dear Janet We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoguts and prayers are with you.
Bill and Judy Marean
Posted by Val Jones on October 13, 2014
I worked with Margaret at IBM. In fact she was my manager when I was in my first management job. I remember her being so supportive and encouraging. She was always there to provide guidance when I felt lost but even more than that she took the time to get to know me on a personal level. I remember our Monday morning meetings which always started with us sharing stories about our weekend and our families. I recall her passion for education and being we were both in university recruiting at the time, her drive and commitment in this area brought a level of excitement to everything we did. Her spirit will live on in so many ways and I will always remember her.
Posted by Mollie Schuff on October 12, 2014
Sweet, kind, genuine......she will be missed.
Posted by Gary Rheinwald on October 12, 2014
Dear Janet and family, We are sorry for you're loss ! we are thinking about you and praying for you Margaret and you're family.
Posted by Kim Madden on October 12, 2014
Truly a deep loss for all who knew her. Condolences to her family.
Posted by Karen Calo on October 12, 2014
We both knew Margaret from our days together at IBM. Knowing Margaret enriched our lives through her passion, authenticity and caring spirit....she will be missed by many. With fond memories. Karen and Rich Calo
Posted by Maggie McCabe on October 12, 2014
Margaret was an inspirational leader at IBM and in life. She was my manager for several years and spoke with such joy and passion about her family and her life. I recall our many chats, her sense of humor and uplifting spirit. It was an honor to know you and you will forever be
in our hearts. You will be missed by all.
Posted by Zarina Stanford on October 11, 2014
Margaret had been an inspiration, a cornerstone, and a true spirit in all aspects I've known her over the years - from my early days joining IBM learning about the Asian Diversity effort more than 10 years ago, to the many inclusion activities, rallies, LEAP, and industry gatherings and undertaking, to simply being a mentor and a friend.  Margaret, you will be missed by all whom you've touched and whose path was lucky enough to have crossed with yours.  Your spirit and energy will live on. We know it. To Margaret's family, our condolences and thank you for sharing Margaret with us.
Posted by Fatima Bustos-Choy on October 11, 2014
I had the great pleasure of meeting Margaret as part of the LEAP family where she was a staunch advocate, former Board Chair, and untiring supporter. My experience of Margaret was one of high energy, passion, compassion, laughter, and plain down to earth presence. I always felt her kind and big heart, so unpretentious, always ready to help and give a hand. Though I didn't see her much, I will miss her presence at LEAP gatherings. She clearly made her mark. I am blessed to have known her. You are missed now, Margaret. Your legacy will leave on for many of us Asian women.
Posted by Fahina Tavake-Pasi on October 11, 2014
I did not have to know Margaret to benefit from her leadership, passion, expertise, and work. I was aware of her leadership and role in moving LEAP's excellent mission forward…an organization that has made a difference in so many lives, including mine. Her rippling affect continues to move me to better serve others. Thank you Margaret for "being the change you wished to see in the world."
Posted by Albert Bunshaft on October 11, 2014
I knew Margaret from when we both worked at IBM, but we worked more closely than every recently related to STEM education. She was so welcoming and supportive when we reconnected this past year. Margaret was providing true leadership for STEM efforts around the USA. She was always so friendly, engaging and inclusive. Margaret, you will be missed!
Posted by Zane Zumbahlen on October 11, 2014
Margaret was a friend from IBM with whom I frequently commiserated. She was always inspirational, energetic, passionate, and an wonderful confidant - and a person who will be greatly and dearly missed.
Posted by Dan Sturm on October 11, 2014
I was fortunate enough to work with Margaret at IBM a decade ago. Always so thoughtful and thinking of others in her approach and dealings, she will be missed by all who knew her.  Fair Winds and Following Seas my friend.
Posted by Laarni Dacanay on October 11, 2014
Margaret was an amazing leader who I met while we planned the 2008 Asian Leadership Summit in NYC, she was with IBM, I was with GE and along with our colleagues at HSBC -- we produced one of the best examples of corporate synergy for the API community. Since then, I continued to see Margaret at LEAP events and she always had a kind smile on her face. Margaret always took the time to share her advice and guidance and I'll always be grateful for that. What a great loss for the Ashida family and our community. Thank you, Margaret.
Posted by Michele Morningstar on October 10, 2014
Margaret was first and foremost my friend and then an IBM colleague. She offered both personal and professional support to me throughout out friendship and when she left IBM before me, there was something missing. Her passion for all people, for all things science and living was beautiful and contagious. Always striving to give her everything to everything she did and all those that she touched, especially her family which we spoke about often, her nephew meant the world to her.
I made a Dragonfly pin for Margaret .. a parting gift that to me and hopefully to her went something like this.. "The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life. The adult dragonfly lives so much in a few months time and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis.

This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly." May you forever be flying with no regrets, and IN the moment. I know I will think of you when I see my next dragonfly. With love and respect ~ Michele Morningstar
Posted by Chris Roe on October 10, 2014
I had the great fortune to know Margaret over several years as a champion for STEM, a beacon of hope, a fount of wisdom, and a fierce advocate for equity. She was witty, kind, quick with a hearty laugh and always knew how to ask the right question and when to lend a hand in support. She was also a San Franciscan at heart, and we had the opportunity to visit on many occasions when she came here to attend to her home. Her light has gone out way too early. She will be deeply missed by so many of us, but I can assure you she and her legacy will not be forgotten.
Posted by Minh-Hoa Ta on October 10, 2014
I met Margaret in Washington D.C. at the APISF Summit couple years ago and was so impressed with her dedication to NYS STEM Initiative. A kind, brilliant, sincere person and will be missed by me and so many!
Posted by Karl Rectanus on October 10, 2014
Margaret pushed me. She made me laugh. We helped each other, and we learned so much together -- to her credit much more than mine.  She gave first, always. A servant leader, a thoughtful friend, a trailblazer in almost every area. The world lost a great one.

We must continue to be inspired. And, to make time for those we love, even when we feel so rushed by the world, because it is through each other that we might elevate to a life of purpose. I think she would have wanted that.
Posted by Kang Choi on October 10, 2014
Margaret was a key reason why I joined the board at LEAP. I felt that if a fellow alumnus had such passion, conviction and care for what she believed in, maybe by just being around her that it would make me a better person..a better leader. It did and will continue to influence and guide me. Margaret, I will miss your wisdom, your company but I will try to do some justice in carrying forward your impact. Will miss you. KC
Posted by Cheryl Davidson on October 10, 2014
I first met Margaret in 2009 when she was beginning the Empire STEM Network. She was passionate,insightful, inspiring and kind. Over the years she became a mentor and friend. She was one- of - a kind leader and will be missed by everyone who had ever met her. Her impact will leave a wonderful legacy for years to come
Posted by Stacia Kato on October 10, 2014
I didn't know Margaret - at least not like many who have paid tribute here. Seeing her at LEAP events, the passion written on her face, her leadership clear, without even saying a word. And when she spoke, I hope she heard my clapping afterwards - because I always wanted to introduce myself to her and now bemoan the lost opportunity. Clearly from the tributes left here, she was a giant upon whose shoulders new API leaders are standing. Thank you, Margaret. I'm so sorry I didn't say hello before having to say good bye.
Posted by Valerie Celenza on October 10, 2014
Margaret was a special person to me as well. Thank you Margaret for being an inspiration, a cheering squad as I completed my education while I worked for you, and a mentor and friend. You are inspirational and I'll miss you. I always loved our morning conversations as you shared stories of your family.
Posted by Leslie Fatum on October 10, 2014
I had the great fortune to meet and interact with Margaret while serving as a substitute at STEM meetings in Pittsburgh and Austin. She also came here to Indianapolis to speak to our state STEM group shortly after we joined STEMx. She was so charismatic and brilliant in her capacity to facilitate authentic and productive discussion among diverse stakeholders. In addition, she was such a funny, warm spirit. I hope all who knew and were touched by her can continue to be guided by that spirit as we try to move forward without her.
Posted by Juliana Utley on October 10, 2014
Thank you Margaret for all the leadership in STEM across the nation. Your leadership is going to be greatly missed by so many.
Posted by Sara Silverstone on October 10, 2014
Margaret was a friend, a colleague, and an inspiration. We met in 2009, at the Inaugural NYS STEM Education Dialogue at RPI. Margaret was beginning the process of creating a STEM learning network throughout the state, and I was very excited be a part of that process. We continued to work together at the state and regional level, as the network of STEM Hubs grew, with Margaret's support and guidance. She was a brilliant organizer who was energized by bringing people together. Many times, when we met at conferences or other events, although she was extremely busy and in demand, she would take the time to share a walk, meal or private conversation, to let me know that, although she had moved on to the national scene, Rochester was still in her heart and she never forgot old friends.
Posted by Mary Thomas on October 10, 2014
I met Margaret as the Finger Lakes STEM Hub was forming and finding its way initially. She was someone who built the capacity of others, was patient with people, and could see the big picture. She sought out my interest and provided me and many folks in my school districts with opportunities (through grant-funded experiences) that we would never have had otherwise. She was kind, focused, and a great person. Losing Margaret is a loss to us all. I will miss her very much.
Posted by Gretchen Brown on October 10, 2014
Margaret will be dearly missed by so many, including those of us who were lucky enough to call her a coworker and colleague. <3
Posted by Drew Valentine on October 10, 2014
Margaret was a colleague at IBM. Her passion for ensuring diverse populations were versed and developed in STEM skills was boundless. Not only for the benefit of the individuals, but also the belief that their technical contributions would make the world a better place. Rest peacefully my sister.
Posted by Darcy Renfro on October 10, 2014
Margaret is one of those people you meet in life that can never be forgotten. We worked together from a distance for years on STEM, and she provided me with great wisdom, compassion and guidance. A true colleague and a quiet force of nature.
Posted by Clark Greene on October 9, 2014
I met Margaret from a distance as an audience member during regional meetings early on in the NYS STEM Initiative. Over time, emerging educational issues, and endeavors found me working with Margaret in direct collaboration. Whether as an audience member during a Margaret led presentation, or as one half of a two person deliberation with Margaret on various educational issues, it was always evident that she was a skillful, professional, compassionate, friendly, and real human being. She left the world better than she found it. Let us all aspire to such a legacy.
Thanks Margaret!
Posted by Dale Toal on October 9, 2014
Forever in our hearts, from those that will miss you. May you feel peace and happiness until the end of time. Thank you for being a friend.......
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Mary Margaret Small on June 15, 2020
Happy birthday, girlfriend! Wish you were here to celebrate. I miss you more than you could ever know.
Posted by Jennifer Topp on November 1, 2019
Tonight of all nights I thought to myself, I wonder what Margaret is doing these days. I did a google search and I am in shock - absolute shock, for the loss of this wonderous, incredible soul I knew so well at IBM. I see it has been 5 years now since she passed and my heart goes out to the family. We never get over the loss of a loved one. Margaret was one of a kind. I loved that woman! I am so sorry. 
Posted by Terry Schaack on October 5, 2019
It still seems so wrong that you are gone. Your effects on those of us still here however is not gone.
Recent stories

Student Memories

Shared by Allison Fogarty on January 28, 2015

Margaret’s most memorable attributes to me were her smile – she always seemed to be wearing one! –her energy and her positive attitude. In her world, everything was possible and she was going to make it happen.

Margaret was a year ahead of me at the University of Rochester, and while we did not keep in touch after she graduated, I’ve thought of her occasionally through the years. She and the late Jocelyn Moran recruited me into the University’s catering department; trained me and when Margaret graduated, I inherited her position as the University Catering Headwaitress. I owe both Margaret and Jocelyn a vote of thanks – that was the start of my 35-year career in the hospitality industry.

To me Margaret will always be young – I picture her in the black and white catering uniform (we looked like Edwardian parlormaids!), dressed in medieval robes at the head table of the annual Boar’s Head Dinner, or wielding the gavel at a student committee meeting.

My condolences to her family and friends, she was great woman when I knew her, and I know there must be a gaping hole in your lives.

One of My First U of R Friends

Shared by Tod Brown on January 17, 2015

I just finished reading my current copy of the Rochester Review and was absolutely shocked when I came upon the notice of Margaret’s passing. Given that I haven’t seen her in years, I am surprised how much her death has affected me.

I met Margaret during the first week of our freshman year at the U of R in 1974. Is that really 40 years ago? Her roommate was a close friend of mine whom I knew well from my hometown and often hung out with.

I was really impressed with Margaret. It was obvious how gifted she was but she modestly tried to hide it by being a-matter-of-fact about things. Eventually, it became very clear just how talented and wise this person was. In fact, as her academic and extracurricular life at the U of R continued and later throughout her professional career, nothing she accomplished surprised me.

But even with her beautiful mind, dedication, creativity, extremely hard work and everything else that goes into the making of a great talent, it was the grace through which she carried herself and the way she made everyone around her feel comfortable that impressed me most. She was a good person.  Her humbleness, ever-present smile and appreciation for others made those around her feel valued and important. It was through these qualities that she was able to lead and change this world.

To those who have known her, this is such a devastating loss. Though she has been taken from us far too soon, in writing, I just wanted to express how proud I am to have known her as a friend and how much she touched my life as it seems she touched those around her as well. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family and other friends. Be well Margaret. I already miss you.

Tremendous mentor who has given so much

Shared by Kelly Lyons on January 8, 2015

Margaret was a mentor of mine at IBM, a tremendous mentor.  She always had so much energy and was one of the most positive people I knew.  When we were together, she always made me feel as if anything was possible.  She had such an impact on so many people.   Margaret's commitment and strength should inspire us all to do wonderful things in her honour.