Rashells' Obituary

Shared by James Young on December 1, 2010

Rashells' Funeral was held 21Nov.2010, in Chester S.C. At Cedar Grove Baptist church. Her mother and I are posting her obituary to share with all those who loved her.

God Bless

James and Betty Young


Martha “Rashell” Young (lovingly named after both grandmothers Martha M. Young and Rachel Alston), was born October, 31 1972, at 9:40 a.m. at Moncrief Army Hospital, Columbia S.C., to James and Betty L. Alston Young, currently of San Antonio Texas.   She passed away on November 6, 2010, at 8:40 a.m., San Francisco, Ca., after a long struggle with cancer. 
Rashell, lived a short, but productive life. She was an intelligent enthusiastic young lady, eager to accept the challenges placed before her. Rashell, shared a military life with her family. She attended grammar schools in Valdosta, GA. and Mountain Home, Idaho, and High Schools in Zaragoza, Spain, completing her Senior Year in 1991 at Vanden High School in Fairfield CA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in 1995, and Dual Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Public Health Care from UC Berkeley’s Walter A. Haas School of Business, in 2005.
Rashell, as a child and an adult, was a loving, caring, compassionate daughter and sister. She made life more joyous for those in her presence. Her personality endeared her to others. Her light seemed to shine on those around her, and things seemed a little less bright at her departures.   Rashell was a courageous and fearless woman who suffered quietly. She always placed family and friends first, trying to preserve the happiness of loved ones, even above the pain and stress of her own illness. Integrity was a strong point in Rashell’s character. She was a woman who did the right things even when no one was watching her. Her personal faith, hope, and belief in God allowed her to battle cancer for 9 years.  
Rashell called the Bay Area home for the last thirteen years and couldn't imagine living elsewhere. Her love affair with the Bay started in her undergraduate years. Shortly after graduation she joined the Analysis Group Litigation Consulting Firm. She soon realized that she had a knack for research and analysis. In 1999, she decided to work independently providing project management, research and analysis to litigation support firms and independent experts. Although challenged and excited to run her own business, a stint in the health care system as a cancer patient opened her eyes to a new career path. The experience alerted her to tremendous needs within the healthcare industry. She knew that this fascinating and complex business was where she could be instrumental in contributing to the welfare of others. This inspired her to return to school, earning MBA & MPH degrees. She utilized those degrees to consult with The Council of Accountable Physician Practices and with clients on numerous finance and strategic issues both within and outside the health care industry. She worked frequently with start-up biotech, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies in evaluating and quantifying future income opportunities. She also has worked in health care delivery, focusing on implementable operational strategies in trauma injury prevention and continuity of care. She has worked with Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California, Finance Scholars Group, Cogent Valuation, the Huron Consulting Group, and BDO Seidman, the national accounting firm. She has been published on accounting, finance, and integrated health care delivery topics and has been qualified as an expert witness. She is also a mentor in the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas program (YEAH) and is an active member of the Black Business Students' Association. She also served in her community helping with Meals On Wheels Thanksgiving Day dinner in San Francisco. In her free time she enjoys yoga, reading, running and traveling.

My Niece

Shared by Joanne Myers on November 22, 2010

I am Rashell's aunt and I called her Ra Ra because she was so special you had to say it twice.  As I sit her typing the tears continue to roll down  my face because she  was such a special and beautififul young woman.  I wish that I had had the the opportunity to know her better, but through the testimonies of the friends from California, Michael, Stacey and Martha, I got to know more about my niece.  I thank them for shaing with me the WOMAN Ra Ra had become.  I didn't know of all the wonderful ways she had touched so many people's lives through ordinary everyday things, such as BMW's voice activation system, or the way that she dedicated herself to helping others deal with devasting and complicated illnessess; but this I know, she impacted everyone she met.  There are no words to express our grief as a family, but the Lord has gained a wonderful Soldier and Angel in His Army and I know that we have her looking after and watching out for us forever until we meet in Heaven.  I have a little greatgrand son who died on November 11, 2008, and now Rashell has that beautiful little boy to love and call her own until we all get to heaven.  I thank you Lord for giving us this wonderful, vibriant young woman to be my niece and for loving  her enough to bring her  home, where there is only the JOY of the Lord.  Rashell I promise to help your parent's and brother as much as I can.  We LOVE you and will alway miss you until we see that beautiful smile of  your's standing beside our brother Jesus and our Father the Lord.  Always missed, but new forgotten.  Aunt Jo 

Forever Young

Shared by Bill McCarty on November 15, 2010

I knew Rashell for 9 years.  We met right at the time she was diagnosed with cancer.  I was always amazed at how she handled this disease and adversity in general.  Whenever there was something new to tell about her condition she'd say that she'd spend the next 5 minutes talking about it and then on to something else.  She was straight to the point but had no need or desire to dwell on the negative.  I always admired and respected her for that.  I don't know that I could have done the same.  She had the ability to make me feel better about everything that she was going through.  All through the heartache of dealing with this loss there is one thing that's helping me keep it together.  She lived a great life.  Her time here may seem way too short but man did she accomplish a lot and live a lot.  Even through the battle of cancer she managed to keep her head up and live a life anyone would envy. 

I know we're not supposed to post copyrighted material here but this song has been in my head.  It's got Rashell's name and it rings true to her courage, conviction and spirit.  So....

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.


A few wonderful words from Diego...

Shared by Michelle Lewis on November 10, 2010

Diego Melazzi, Haas Student Ambassador in 2005 with Rashell said:

"Spent a great part of yesterday and today remembering Rashell, her passion for life, her energy and drive, and how inspirational her life was for all of us who had the chance to meet her.  But what is truly unforgettable to me is her laughter, that profound sound that emerged from her body as a whole, bursting through her mouth, and taking all of us with it...."


To the UCSF Staff...

Shared by Michael Fisher on November 9, 2010

I’d like to leave a tribute to the staff, nurses and doctors at UCSF who helped Rashell  through her many treatments, procedures and exams.  I can’t say enough about the professionalism and empathy displayed by everyone at Ida Friend Infusion Center who bent over backwards to make Rashell feel comfortable through her frequent visits. If eight-hour, marathon infusion sessions could be made to feel even a little more comfortable, they found a way.

And while Rashell barely tolerated being in a hospital (let’s be honest) the team at Parnasses, in the face of mounting odds, were simply amazing.   Through her seven tortuous days in Intensive Care and her multiple stays....right up to, and including, her final hours, the team’s concern for Rashell’s comfort and well-being was palpable and, at times, moving.

From me, from her family & friends and, I’m sure, from Rashell (aka Martha)...thank you!

The Perfect Neighbor

Shared by Scott Shafer on November 8, 2010

My partner John and I met Rashell when our condo partner sold his unit to her a few years ago. I remember at the time he said there were people who bid higher for the unit than she did, but he just liked Rashell -- and thought we would too. He was right. Although I can't say we knew her well, Rashell had a glow about her that made us like her immediately. Smart, happy and beautiful with a generous spirit. We loved her dog Tiger too! She was very easy going about condo issues -- the perfect neighbor and co-owner. Reasonable, calm, fair-minded and sweet. That's how we'll remember her. We knew Rashell had had a recurrence of cancer when she moved out, but I sensed she wanted her privacy so I didn't pry. But a few weeks ago I realized we hadn't heard from her in a while. So I emailed her and left a phone message. When I didn't hear back I was afraid something was up. We got an email from Michael today. We were shocked and of course very sad -- for her of course, but especially for those she leaves behind who will miss her terribly. We will always remember Rashell with great fondness.


Thank you

Shared by Jocelyn Berke Corbett on November 7, 2010

Rashell- You are one of my husband's dearest friends.  There hasn't been a Haas story that didn't contain your name.  Whether it was one day in Vegas, snow boarding, or a dinner party- you were always an integral part of his life. 

After Haas you were his climbing buddy, his potential real estate partner, his confidant and his friend.  As soon as he and I became serious- I was told there were two women in his life I had to meet (I think there might have been some sort of test in this).  But regardless those women were Nancy and yourself.  I remember how nervous I was to meet you!  Kev is selective about his friends- so if you were that important to him- I knew you were going to be special. 

You were electric.  Your smile lit up a room and your witty banter and smart comebacks were classic. When we were trying to pick people to be in our wedding- there was no question in either of our minds that you would be one of them.  

You were an amazing person- so much strength and indescribable courage.  You have touched so many lives- your memory will continue to live on in all those who have had the priveledge to get to know you. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to my husband.  Your passing has, and will continue to be, a tremendous loss for him.  You will never be replaced and you will never be forgotten. 

All my love-


Strength with Grace

Shared by Terry Lloyd on November 7, 2010

A former colleague, Chloé Collins, said this:


Though I didn’t know Rashell well, when our paths did cross I was always impressed by her. Impressed is not exactly the right word, but I always felt a sort of awe, admiration and respect. There she was, master of her domain, in a man’s club. The idea that always came to mind when I thought of her was strength with grace…And I’m sorry that she is gone, I know she is ok, but it’s those who are left behind, because it hurts so much to miss people.


Shared by Frank And Lisa Littler on November 7, 2010





            First, no words can say how deep, how piercing, how irrevocable is the pain we who knew her feel at her passing. Our grief that one so promising, so accomplished, so vital has been taken has no bounds. Our grief will last forever.  Our mourning has just begun.  Her absence will be felt from now on.

            Each who knew her will remember her in his or her own way.  For Lisa and me, we remember our first meeting with Rashell on Christmas Day some nine years ago.  We greeted with an embrace, and from that first moment we felt not even a moment’s  strangeness  with her; we felt familiar, like family, as if we had known and loved her forever. 

As the years went on, we shared poignant moments: at the christenings of her three godchildren, at birthday parties and holiday meals.  Her warmth, vitality, her wit, and, oh, her smile—it would light up a room, it could light up the sky.

            We remember her giving us a jaunty ride to our hotel through the hills and streets of San Francisco in her Volkswagen Cabriolet convertible, the perfect car to express her free-spirited attitude. We laughed all the way.  She had that gift among her many others: she could get us all to see the bright side.

            So our lament for a beautiful woman who has passed too young cannot be stilled or eased.  Our celebration of her life and how it made ours better should last throughout our own lives.  I think she would want us to do that and remember her as she was.

Frank and Lisa Littler

November 6, 2010   


As a Person and As a Professional

Shared by Terry Lloyd on November 6, 2010


A client, upon learning of her passing, provided this:

"She was a wonderful human being and an outstanding damages expert."

Rashell Young: A Complete Life by Terry Lloyd

Shared by Sara Zamarripa on November 6, 2010

Rashell Young: A Complete Life
Our Loss
There is nothing I or anyone could say at this time to minimize the grief in our shared loss.  Like you, I’m fortunate that the circle of my life and Rashell’s intersected, even if briefly.  I’m passing this along only to share with you some of my thoughts about that remarkable woman we all had the privilege to know.
We at least can be grateful that the pains of this life for Rashell are over.  Personally, I don’t think of her as “gone,” only moved on.  My belief is that she has taken her great light and life and love to another place.  At the time of her passing, as in her life, she was surrounded by people she loved and who loved her.  My sadness is not that she is gone, but because she is gone from us.  My sorrow is for us: without her our world is a smaller and darker place.  Yes, she wasn’t here long enough by our measure, but I believe she may have crammed two or three lifetimes’ worth of living into her time here.
Her Enduring Example
Even in her passing, Rashell is an example to the rest of us.  I was taught that the root of the word “inspire” means not only to illuminate the mind, but also to breathe life into the body itself.  She continues to inspire me and many others.  She was not only filled with life while here, she animated the lives of others fortunate enough to come within her orbit.  She made each of us feel more alive and her light increased ours.  Isaac Newton spoke of those who came before him and said “we can see further because we stand on the shoulders of giants.”  Rashell’s frame was slight but inside she was a giant on whose shoulders we can still stand to see further.
She believed in herself and her ability to overcome.  She once told me that she had occasionally attended the group therapy sessions her physicians recommended, but she stopped going because she didn’t need the encouragement.  She already had confidence in herself and her ability to overcome—which she did repeatedly.  I expect the disease would have taken someone of lesser stuff long ago.
She became an example of faith to the rest of us.  She taught us to believe in ourselves and encouraged us to be our best selves.  I would often joke that she was my “therapist,” listening to my troubles and worries and then giving good advice in return.  For someone who never married, she seemed to understand that relationship very well.  Both my wife and I are grateful for her patiently tutoring me on the relationship between men and women.  She is a good listener and heard me whine or vent or tell the same story for the tenth time.  Because of her patience and empathy and decency, she may know more about me personally than anyone outside my family.  She and I often joked about the “spinal injections” she gave when it was time for me to stand up to clients or when moral courage was needed.  I tried to reciprocate in a small way by being her “office dad” (though I only managed to meet one or two of her boyfriends).
Her high standards even came out in small ways.  While I was usually content to eat somewhere convenient or satisfy myself with fast food, she always encouraged us to eat better, to savor even that small part of life.  She took the extra time to get the master’s degree in public health along with the MBA because she wanted to contribute.  She desperately wanted to help other people and make the world a better place.  She was a tireless true believer.

She also set a standard for us as professionals.  Much of our work is in financial disputes and typically it was Rashell who would remind us what was fair or right or just.  She was a conscience in settings where people need one.  She would also give us courage to do the right thing or tell someone “no” when that was the right answer.  Even when we had the facts or just more resources on our side, she always counseled fairness and decency.  In law they call this “equity,” but with her it was an innate sense of care for others, especially the weaker among us.  Sometimes we would be discussing a questionable issue and she would simply look me in the eye and just shake her head “no” and I knew what needed to be done.  She was the reliable standard of decency.  She still is, I believe, just in a different place.  
She was a calming influence personally and professionally and she always took pride in the way she looked and sounded.  She also did her best to keep me a little in touch with pop culture and technology.  She was the one who introduced me to booking air travel online, software upgrades, iTunes, and much more.
Intersecting Lines
Our professional pairing was an unlikely alliance.  She and I would joke that we lived in the same world but on different planets.  I am the middle-aged white guy who lives in the ’burbs—sort of a contemporary version of Ozzie and Harriet.  She was the modern single professional woman; always cool and enjoying the urban life and traveling the world.  We did have a few things in common, though.  We both lived in Spain when we were younger and we both have a respect for the military. Some of my family, like her parents, were also military.  I never heard her say it, but I felt the love she had for this country and the best things it stands for.
Our paths intersected by accident—or fate or divine intervention.  I’m not sure which, but I’m grateful it happened.  Back in 1996 she had recently graduated from Cal and was working at Analysis Group when we first met.  Marc Vellrath, her boss at the time and my colleague now, has always been good at spotting talent.  I expect he saw the latent gifts and work ethic in the new grad.  Over the years our relationship, like her career, would grow.  She would move up from her entry-level position to become an analyst, a case manager, and—eventually—a testifying expert.  Much of her education was self taught.  Her on the job training included computers, accounting, finance, economics, and project management, though as an “old soul,” I don’t think she ever had to learn about dealing with people.  On that she tutored the rest of us.
Over the years, I would come to rely on her not just for numerical analyses, but for perspective and wisdom.  Almost no professional task (or person) could intimidate her, even a new equation or concept or situation.  I called her “Chief Young” because she knew what needed to be done, mathematically, personally, organizationally, or ethically.  (I understand she may have inherited that title from her parents.)  I don’t know if she was completely fearless, but I never saw her scared—not when confronted with complex accounting issues or even the disease that eventually took her from us.  I have never seen so much fight, so much heart, packed into such a small frame.  (She once told me of how she stood up to two obnoxious guys on the bus.  That story didn’t surprise me but only confirmed the size of her spirit.)  She always stood tall because she always stood for right.  Even at the end she never sought sympathy or favors—only the chance to do her job and contribute.

Many Gifts
Her academic degrees showed she had been blessed with brains, but it was her understanding of people and her ability to see the bigger picture that really set her apart.  She simply could see things the rest of us did not.  Maybe that came from having lived in many places and seen so many things.  Her natural curiosity and travels led to an appreciation of other peoples and cultures.  I think her enthusiasm for life and adventure may be bigger in her than anyone I’ve ever known.  She and I debated many topics, including contemporary society, but she always was open and respectful, never condescending or dismissive.
An Inspiration
Over 300 years ago, writing in allegory, John Bunyan described someone on a journey—a pilgrim—in his work The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come.  As the journey of our friend and fellow pilgrim, Rashell, has taken her from us, I believe that for her—in Bunyan’s words— “all the trumpets sounded on the other side.”  I believe she has gone on to a new life, free from the pains of this world to more adventures and yet more friends.
The word “departed” originally also referred to sailors going to sea, those on ships who slowly moved over the horizon and eventually from our sight.  I believe that, like the sailors, Rashell is not gone, but gone only from our limited view standing here on shore.  A motto for many sailors in more uncertain times was “safe home.”  One poet writes
Beyond the dim horizon’s rim
Resound the welcome drums,
And while we’re crying, “There she goes!”
They are shouting, “Here she comes!”
We’re built to cruise for but a while
Upon this trackless sea
Until one day we sail away
Into infinity.
The Bible contains these words that we can now attribute to Rashell: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.”  We move through this life in half light. But we have one fixed point to guide us that Rashell did not: we have her example of courage and faith.  I’m grateful that during my time here, the path of my pilgrimage could intersect, even briefly, with hers.  My life—our world—is better because of her brief time among us.  I will keep her memory alive and honor her by trying to live my life with her courage, her strength, and her sense of right.

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