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.  

Remarkably Generous

Shared by Robert Cefaratti on October 28, 2014

Margaret,  splitting her time between Westchester County and San Francisco, retained her condo near Tower Market. When the health of a close friend of mine declined in the early '90s, Margaret provided open access to her SF residence which made my frequent West Coast trips easy. Such a generous and imperturbable woman.  We knew each other both at Stanford and at IBM, and fairly often and unexpectedly ran into each other when I travelled on business to Somers, NY.
All the best Margaret.
Bob Cefaratti 

Margaret will always be in Paradise

Shared by Suzanne Needles on October 20, 2014

Our friend of thirty years was very excited to be going on a well-deserved and long-planned vacation in Indonesia. Margaret flew from New York and met my husband Dale and I in the Singapore airport. She lived in airports --never holding still-- as she simply had too much living to do.  Margaret worked harder than anyone we know and played even harder.   She volunteered endlessly and held all her family, friends and colleagues closely.  She did nothing without limitless energy and passion.  With her, everything and everyone was personal.  She had that unique talent of making you feel like you were the only person on the planet when you were with her.

We flew to the Island of Sulawesi and reached Lembeh Straits on a Saturday, October 4, 2014. Her smile as we arrived at the resort was as wide as the tropical sky.  The next morning she lost consciousness at the surface of the ocean and the world will never be the same.

As the sun rose over calm waters a few short days later, the gardener was already busy preparing the soil for the Magaret Ashida Memorial Garden.  The staff of Kungkungan Bay Resort joined hands with us in a large circle and sang.  We walked the path to Margaret's cabin.  A member of the staff played the guitar softly in front of a large boulder where fronds of a beautiful purple flowering tree and several slips of red banana flowers were waiting for planting.  Several folks took turns digging into the soil and turning it to prepare for new life.  Kind words were spoken and songs were sung. We spoke of the amazing woman that she was and of all the many lives she had touched so many thousands of miles away.  
In the afternoon, we gathered in a serene room filled with tropical flowers where Margaret's favorite photo of her sailing past the Golden Gate bridge was framed by candles.  We spoke of her good life and her large heart.  Dale talked about how Margaret was the embodiment of Mahatma Gandhi's maxim, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Music and song filled the room.

At sunset, we went by boat to Serena island where we lost her and  threw blossoms into the sea as the sky changed to dusk over the waves and across the waters under the shadow of a dramatic volcanoe.  A beautiful tribute to a life well lived. The first of many for such a special woman.


Touching Lives...

Shared by Gwendolyn Maturo-Grasso on October 13, 2014

Margaret must surely have traveled on angel wings when you look at the many people whose lives she touched with her passion, whose minds she challenged with her vision and ideas for change and whose hearts she touched with her kindness. Although I first met Margaret in the fall of 2009 at Syracuse University’s STEM Dialogue, I feel as if I have known her for many many years instead of a few short years. I think Margaret made many people feel this way!

Margaret graciously accepted the offer to Co-Chair the 2012 NYS STEM Collaborative at Syracuse University and I learned so much from working alongside of her. Her business acumen and world-eyed view of STEM served to deepen the Collaborative’s outreach andgave us business partners beyond the borders of NYS. I knew our karma was in synch when I saw a quote she liked- and lived by was Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see” as I have long had that on my email tag. Margaret certainly leaves a wide path of change in her wake.  Margaret always gave the nicest “Thank you” gifts: she told me the book she gave me was one of her all-time-favorites: The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. I know I plan to open it again…to enjoy her gift one more time.

Whether you knew her for an afternoon or a lifetime- you know she touched your life with her beautiful spirit.  How fun to reread her tweets- one more time!

In memory of our colleague:

In memory of my former roommate

Shared by Jonathan Copulsky on October 13, 2014

Margaret and I shared a house (along with Bill Martin) in Menlo Park, California from 1979 - 1980, when we were classmates at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.   When I married our classmate, Ellen Barreto, in January 1982, Margaret was my "best person."

Margaret was a warm, funny, and genuine individual, as well as a great roommate and a terrific friend.

She will be missed.     

Black and White Ball

Shared by Shari Morwood on October 12, 2014

I met Margaret at IBM Technology Group in New York, but we could've met in California as well. Margaret was an amazing colleague we knew a lot of people in common both in California and New York. One day she invited me to go to San Francisco with her to attend the black-and-white ball and stay in her apartment. We had the best time ever. I can't remember having so much fun running around San Francisco my home town and seeing it in an entirely new way through Margaret's eyes. She worked tirelessly and one thing I remember about her maybe the most was how many friends she had wherever she went.

Once we were sitting at dinner with a bunch of IBM women and we started talking about an Indian wedding that I had attended. Suddenly it seemed that Margaret was filling in details about the very same wedding. I went home and found the pictures. Sure enough in one of the pictures she and I are standing next to the each other, she is on the groom's side and I on the bride's side--yet we were standing side-by-side. She didn't remember me at the wedding and I didn't remember her from the wedding but the dye was caste we were destined to meet at some point. Recently I got a call from a mutual friend and there on face time was Margaret at a meeting sitting with our friend Jill. It was great to see her and hear her voice. She will be in my heart. 

We will always remember you, Ma Fudpucker

Shared by Susan Muncey on October 12, 2014

A few days ago, I was having a massage at a hotel in Florence and I had a vision that I was underwater. Beautiful sea creatures, almost like Disney animations, were swimming around me. And they were all smiling.  I wondered what the vision was trying to tell me. I even mentioned it to my mother. On my return to London, I was so surprised to hear the sad news.  However, it is such a blessing that Margaret died doing something she loved - and I am sure the smiling underwater creatures are swimming all around her in heaven. 

Although we sometimes disagreed, I greatly admired Margaret. Ma Fudpucker, as we called her, was a force of nature. As co-skipper and skipper on our many sailing trips, Margaret was a strong and determined leader.  She was also a lioness of the sea – fearless and seemingly invincible on her long snorkeling and diving expeditions. I recall one occasion when she invited me to swim from the boat for what seemed like miles. We were accompanied by a friendly pelican, which surprised us by splashing into the water right beside us. 

Margaret was feisty, opinionated, intrepid, and, above all, great fun. She loved to take command and mother us, hence our nickname for her. She was also a great cook, who amused us by bringing Girl Scout cookies on all our sailing trips. Tonight my husband, Marcus Grubb, and I will be eating shrimp with angel hair pasta in her memory. We will never forget the fabulous meal Margaret created for us in Cumberland Bay, St Vincent.  We will always remember you, Margaret. 

Coincidentally, when I was looking for a photograph of Margaret to share on this site, the first one I found was an image of the water-baby herself (on the right) in a glass sided pool in the Caribbean. I can’t recall which trip this was on, but I think it was in 2006.

Other memorial sites

Shared by Ann LePore on October 11, 2014

We've seen other sites sharing kind thoughts about Margaret. Here are some references...


She always made me smile.

Shared by Patrick D'Amelio on October 10, 2014

It was my pleasure and privilege and to work with Margaret over the past two plus years through our partnership in the STEMx network which she so ably guided.  When I attended my first STEMx meeting, feeling mostly out of my league, I had the great luck to sit next to Margaret.  Thus began a professional collaboration and personal friendship that has truly been one of the most rewarding of my professional life.  During that first meeting (and every day since) she extended herself to me in the most authentic ways, as teacher, mentor and collaborator.  Over time, and through long conversation, wonderful dinners (usually with good wine), and our meaningful shared work -- a friendship formed.  When you work with someone, especially from a distance, these gifts sort of sneak up on you over time.  I will be forever grateful that the last time we were together we took time to take stock of these gifts and to appreciate our shared friendship and mutual respect.  Margaret was a gem.  She was smart, hard-working, warm and generous.  And, she always made me smile.  I will miss her a great deal.    

The Good of the Order

Shared by Sara Silverstone on October 10, 2014

I have been on many conference calls with Margaret over the years. She always ended them with "Does anybody have anything else to add, for the good of the order?"  I just Googled that and found it is a standard part of Robert's Rules of Order. However, that was the only part of Robert's Rules that she adopted. I had never heard the phrase anywhere else, and so I always thought of it as Margaret's trademark way of reminding us we are all in this community and doing this work for the good - to make the world a better place. Margaret will be sorely missed and I will continue to be inspired by her passion, her energy and her vision of people coming together, for the good of the order.

Family Ties

Shared by Ann LePore on October 9, 2014

I met Margaret when our families came together with the marriage of her sister, Janet, to my brother, Don about 25 years ago.  Margaret's family nickname is Miki.  My husband and I became friends with Miki over many holiday meals and birthday parties over the years. She was always interested in what the family was up to and would share highlights of what was going on in her personal and professional life.

In 2011 she offered her condo in San Francisco to my husband and I for a much needed vacation.  She flew out to get us acclimated and we shared a great weekend before she hopped on a plane back to New York for work on Monday.

I recently had a peek into her professional life when I began asking how I might be able to help promote STEM education. She helped me connect with people to  to vet my ideas.  Until her passing I was in awe of her knowledge, experience and ability to inspire people.  Now, after seeing the outpouring of support I can say I am officially blown away by her lasting impression.

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