ForeverMissed
This is the official family memorial site for Ruby T. Iwamasa who passed away on July 24, 2020 after a long illness. Please celebrate her memory here.

There will be a visitation held at Ware Smith Woolever, 1200 W Wheeler St, Midland, MI 48640, on Thursday July 30th at 1pm-3pm.  Due to circumstances, there will be a queue to enter with a limit of 10 people inside at a time, masks required and social distancing followed.  Following that will be an outside service at the same location, limited to 100 people, by Rev Dr Wally Mayton of the Memorial Presbyterian Church from 3pm-4pm.  For those of you unable to attend we will also be supplying a recording of the event shortly after words. We apologize, however we were unable to make the live stream from the venue work. 

Here is the link to the recording of the service: <<coming soon>>

Thank you all so very much for joining us, in person, virtually or in spirit to celebrate Ruby Iwamasa's life on July 30th 2020. Please continue to leave stories, pictures, videos or audio to help all of us join together in memory of an amazing woman that is already missed

Your love, friendship, and kindness all help us celebrate Ruby's life and we would love to hear from all of you.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests making a donation to the Midland Rotary Noon Club (https://www.midlandrotaryclub.org/donate and click the Donate Local button), the Memorial Presbyterian Church (https://www.mempres.org/) or Delta Broadcasting Q TV (https://www.deltabroadcasting.org/donate/), that she worked hand in hand with for so many years.

Robert and the family would like to thank Dr. Gail Colby and staff, Dr. Daniel Danso, Dr. Adell Kahn, and Dr. Graham for their years of taking care of Ruby and more recently to Heartland Hospice and Primrose.  Thank you also to all of you that are offering kindness, friendship, love and support.
Posted by Robin Chan on July 28, 2020
I enjoyed seeing the pictures - from going to Cali not long ago, meeting George Takei, and even back to the camps. Auntie lived a long life filled with lots of joyful moments. Sending our love & support at this tough time. Love, RC and family
Posted by Etta MacDonagh on July 28, 2020
Ruby brought light and goodness into this world. She lived her life with a spirit of graciousness, generosity, and good humor. While Jon and I lived in Midland, we first met Bob and Ruby, in the late 1970’s when our sons, Matt and Andy were kindergarten friends at Woodcrest. We lived around the corner from them, and Matt and Andy hung out together through those years. This past week, our son Matt reminded me how often Andy and he would be runners - “little helpers” at the Delta fundraisers. Ruby had a way of inviting and enlisting everyone in the “cause”.  I still recall one of my first impressions when I met Ruby …”this is one incredible creative women who is fully engaged in making this world a better place”.  She developed her gifts and talents and natural flair for leadership to serve and help others. Also, I so loved how Ruby took an interest in each person she met. She had a way of encouraging others on their own journey. Her love for Bob and her family shone through.…. May her memory and the celebration of her life sustain her loved ones during these days and the days ahead. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love and blessing, Etta and Jon
Posted by Barbara Tedrow on July 28, 2020
Ruby was a leader who did color outside the lines. I have Ruby to thank for a friendship that lasted my work years in the Tri-Cities and then leaving Midland. Besides being a trusted Delta friend during the many Global Awareness Weeks, Ruby traveled to Decatur GA to introduce me to the Rotary club. Her talk helped me enter my new community, which I came to love. Yes it was her calm accepting way with people that made her special. Her family and all of her friends were fortunate to have her in their lives. Rest in peace, dear Ruby.
Posted by Robby Segal on July 28, 2020
Sending my love to the Iwamasa family... as a dear friend of Kenny Iwamasa, I must say that Ruby was a remarkable mother. Kenny is a magnificent son and truest of friends; and Kenny definitely 'makes his own coloring books' in all the beautiful and creative ways... love, love, love... eo, robby & Karla
Posted by Stuart Barbier on July 28, 2020
We send our deepest-felt condolences to the Iwamasa family on the loss of Ruby. Over these many years, I have fond memories of her tremendous kindness. When I think of her, I see her smile and can't help but smile myself.
Posted by Charlie 'Har' Shiotani on July 28, 2020
Thank you, Michigan. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, it gets me every time. One person
matched, just so, with another - massive illumination. That is how I think of
Bob and Ruby. We would receive greetings from Wherenow?! but they would
always find the time to upend family and friends here in California too.
Love you, Rube. Bob, Look up in the sky! 
Posted by Eileen Jennings on July 27, 2020
What can I say about Ruby that hasn’t already been said? Her presence lit any room or gathering. She was positive and optimistic, no matter the troubles she faced and had faced. She was a pioneer in women's leadership of Rotary and opened the doors for the rest of us. For me, her love affair with Bob was something that always warmed my heart. They were a team that supported each other – always. May you have peace, Ruby, and may the caring of everyone support you, Bob, through this hard time.
Posted by Jeff Leipprandt on July 27, 2020
Ruby was such a beautiful soul and both Kim and I are truly blessed and grateful to have counted her as a friend. As younger Rotarians, Ruby took interest in us and ALWAYS sought us out at Rotary functions to say hello and to ask how we were. In fact, she is one of the reasons that Kim and I would attend our annual District Conference year after year. She made us feel special. She planted seeds of leadership in me and watered frequently. Now I'm set to serve our District as Governor in 2021-2022 following the path that Ruby had set before us. Rest in peace friend.
Posted by Arletta French on July 27, 2020
George Saito and I only met Ruby late in life in relation to the common Japanese American heritage We are honored for having known her and our hearts and sympathy go out her her family.
Posted by Jenee Velasquez on July 27, 2020
Ruby, RUby, RUBY! Thank you for making the world a kinder place. Your warm welcome and ability to connect with everyone created a sense of belonging at Rotary, at Delta College, and in our community. Your stories kept us mesmerized... bringing a real lion to a Delta College event, growing up in a difficult time for our country, etc. You believed in us more than we believed in ourselves. You made use (and re-use) of everything around you. I cherish the scraps of gift wrap you transformed into cranes. We love and miss you my friend.
Posted by Michael Kelly on July 27, 2020
Ruby was such an inspiration to all who knew her! As Rotary District Governor she shared her enthusiasm, excitement and contagious passion for "Service above Self".  I was blessed to know her and will always think of Ruby as an inspiration about Rotary and life! Bob was always so helpful and loving to Ruby and supported her so well in all her work. I didn't know until now that we shared the month and day of our birth - February 24.  Rest in Peace Ruby !

Mike Kelly (Past District Governor - 2015/2016)
Posted by Carol Feider on July 27, 2020
I joined Rotary back in the days when there weren't that many women in the club and I wondered if I would fit in. I especially wondered if I would ever be brave enough to stand in front of the group and give my vocational speech. I confided in Ruby and she worked her magic and arranged for my speech to be "postponed." I relaxed and started enjoying the club and getting more involved and I'm still a member. Thanks to Ruby, my Rotary angel.
Posted by Louise Coe on July 27, 2020
I was privileged to know Ruby as friend and mentor through Rotary. Her enthusiasm and interpersonal skill were the hallmarks of her leadership. She will be missed but her legacy lives on in the lives of all who knew her.  We had so much fun in Rotary with Ruby and Bob. 
Dalton Coe (Past District Govenor ) and Louise Coe 
Posted by Margot Haynes on July 27, 2020
Always kind, volunteering so much (Global Awareness programs), quietly engaged, never a negative word!
Posted by Tom Garnett on July 27, 2020
My condolences and sympathy go out to Ruby’s husband Bob and to all her family. I worked with Ruby for a lot of years and considered her to be more than my boss, but a good friend. Ruby always seemed to have a smile on her face and I believe had the respect of everyone that knew her. She was truly a great lady. I am happy that I had the privilege of knowing her.
Posted by Bonnie McManus on July 26, 2020
When I moved to Midland in 1986, one of the first people I met was Ruby. Her smile, positivity and welcoming attitude was so appreciated by everyone with whom she was connected. She will be missed and warmly remembered.
Posted by Tom Caylor on July 26, 2020
Losing Ruby is a huge loss to all of us who loved here dearly. She made a significant impact on my life. I look forward to seeing that beautiful smile again someday.
Posted by Sally Arman on July 26, 2020
Such a wonderful smile! Such an open and welcoming heart! I always felt comfortable when my jr high aged son was at the Iwamasa home. Ruby was a terrific mom and even tho she showed professionalism in everything she did, those “mom” qualities were the underpinnings that made everyone love her and want to work with her.  ----  I returned to Midland in 2010 for a memorial for my husband Hal who worked with Ruby both at Delta and in Rotary. After a long day of being social, I was surprised when the motel clerk called my room to say a package had been left at the front desk. Sweet Ruby had been unobtrusively taking pictures all day and had put everything on a CD for me. I have viewed it many times with such delight. How typically thoughtful of Ruby to know I would want those memories and to have put everything together so promptly. She was a SPECIAL lady who will definitely be missed!
Posted by Pam Harkema on July 26, 2020
A mentor and friend, the most delightful smile and laugh. Ruby uplifted everyone she met. Her impact on my life remains with me.
Posted by Oliver Jenkins on July 26, 2020
The brightest lights shine on forever.
Ruby certainly was one of the brightest...
Posted by Chrissy Smith on July 26, 2020
I always felt I "knew" Ruby from seeing her so often on Delta's PBS station. So when I started working at Delta in the early 90s and Ruby walked past my office in the lower level, it felt like a TV star was passing.  She was always smiling and would say "Hi" to me as if she'd known me for years!  What a remarkable star for Delta College! I loved every minute I spent with her. Bless you, Ruby!
Posted by Amanda Oster on July 26, 2020
I was only blessed to physically meet Ruby once. I joined Midland Rotary in 2015 and Ruby was always spoken of with great respect and admiration. I saw her and Bob at a few meetings but there was always a lengthy line to get to speak to them. Smiles lit up on everyone’s faces each time they came to a meeting. It was clear to me that Ruby was a Rotarian Legend, Hero and mentor to many. I got to physically meet Ruby when I attended a Star Wars event at her sons comic book shop. She and Bob both were there to support their son, even if Ruby had to sit down most of the time. I smiled when I saw her and before I knew it I was at her side saying “You’re Ruby!”. She laughed and said yes I am! I introduced myself and explained that we were in the same Rotary club. It was a short conversation as the event was starting but I was so happy to finally meet her. She was so kind and just had this positive glowing energy about her. The stories of Bob and Ruby will forever be shared among Midland Rotarians and Ruby will never be forgotten. A true Midland Rotarian Legend. Lifting the family up in prayer during this difficult time
Posted by Mark Li on July 26, 2020
In the few moments I had the pleasure of getting to know Ruby, she exuded a positive energy that shone via her vibrant personality. Usually first interactions are a bit awkward or uneasy, but her confidence and positivity made all our interactions feel natural and welcoming. I was a pleasure to meet you and I'm sad I couldn't learn more from the vibrance you shone with.
Posted by Jack Crowell on July 26, 2020
I want to believe Mr. Rogers words--"The connections we make in the course of a life--maybe that's what Heaven is"---were made soon after meeting Ruby. Those of us whose lives she touched, well, we were lucky, we got a sneak preview of what Heaven is. Thanks Ruby. We Love You.
Anita and Jack Crowell
Posted by Peter Boyse on July 26, 2020
Ruby was such and friendly positive person. She was a wonderful asset to Delta College and especially the Broadcasting Department. She will be missed by many, many people.
Posted by Beth Arman on July 26, 2020
My condolences to the Iwamasa family. Ruby Iwamasa was an absolute legend and a good friend to our family. She will be missed but not forgotten.
Posted by David Smith on July 26, 2020
Our memories of Ruby are so many it is hard to isolate on any one or two. Each of us have our singular memories plus those we both share. Bob, our thoughts are with you and your family in this most difficult time. Cherish all of your wonderful memories and we will too. Dave and Linda Smith
Posted by Dave Arman on July 26, 2020
I've known Ruby almost my entire life. She and my father worked together at Delta. Andy and I have been friends forever. There has never been a time when Ruby didn't go out of her way to make certain that I felt special. Whether it was putting me on TV for the Delta Broadcasting telethon, or getting me little gifts from various PBS shows I like, or even at Andy's wedding when she made a big production out of how happy she was that I could attend. The world has truly lost someone amazing. I know how much I will miss her, and can't imagine the loss for the entire Iwamasa family. 
Posted by Melissa Barnard on July 26, 2020
I will always remember Ruby for her friendship and smile. She made everyone feel welcomed, including this member when I was new to Rotary. Thank you, Ruby, for your service that will continue to inspire us. May fond memories comfort Bob and family. Melissa Barnard
Posted by Murlene McKinnon on July 26, 2020
Vibrant, compassionate and caring. A wonderful gift to Delta College. Ruby was one of those wonderful pioneers that made Delta such a great place to serve. Because of her I have always been committed to Delta Broadcasting.
God speed Ruby.
Posted by Irene Roche on July 26, 2020
Ruby always wanted to present at the most current of events. I remember she insisted on seeing Barak Obama's inauguration in the freezing cold. She had to see War Horse and Lion King on Broadway even though they forecast a hurricane. She managed to see them before they closed down Broadway. She told us about the time she went to an international Rotary Club meeting in Switzerland and the room was full of cigar smoking men. They had never had a female present at any of their meetings before. She was one of a kind and I will miss her ever present smile and positive attitude.
Posted by Steve-Deb Dewey on July 26, 2020
Even in this dark time, that completely takes your breath away, and makes you still, I can feel her spirit, hear her laugh and see her smile. Some lights are so powerful, they can never be extinguished. You are forever loved Aunt Ruby and never forgotten ♥️
Posted by Dick Dolinski on July 26, 2020
I had the privilege and honor to co-host dozens of Delta College Radio and TV fund raising Pledge Drives with Ruby. She was the anchor for these drives for many years owing to her enthusiasm, sense of humor, and her passion for Delta and its public broadcasting program. Ruby also was our Rotary Club’s much beloved leader and later shared her energy and commitment to “Service above Self” as our Rotary District Governor. The group chant of “Roo-by, Roo-by,...” always greeted her arrival as a sign of the audience’s heartfelt and warm celebration of the affection we all have for her. Donna and I extend our genuine sympathy to Bob, Ruby’s family, to our entire community on the passing of this remarkable woman. She will truly be missed by all of us.
Posted by Ron Beacom on July 26, 2020
Very sorry for your loss, Bob and family. If we could bottle up what made Ruby tick, the world would be a better place. She was so fortunate to have you at her side, Bob. Awesome couple. Take care, Ron & Lorraine Beacom
Posted by Kevin Kendrick on July 26, 2020
"Ruby, Ruby, Ruby"...a phrase that will live on forever because it's what we always heard when Ruby entered a room, any room. She was a leader in every sense of the word and beyond that, a genuinely compassionate human being. Ruby and Bob have taught me so much about what it means to be a good Rotarian, what it means to be a good human being. They exemplified the power of forgiveness and in so doing, created an aura of love and respect wherever they went. I will miss you forever my friend. But I do all that I can to ensure your legacy lives. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. Always.
Posted by Andrew Iwamasa on July 26, 2020
My mother always taught me to keep my head held high, be able to laugh, and treat others with respect. If I can show my own children a path so similar I will be very blessed.
Posted by Kenneth Iwamasa on July 25, 2020
Coloring outside the lines! My mom always insisted on me not using coloring books. She told me always make my own coloring books. Make them I shall. - Kenny Iwamasa, son

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Robin Chan on July 28, 2020
I enjoyed seeing the pictures - from going to Cali not long ago, meeting George Takei, and even back to the camps. Auntie lived a long life filled with lots of joyful moments. Sending our love & support at this tough time. Love, RC and family
Posted by Etta MacDonagh on July 28, 2020
Ruby brought light and goodness into this world. She lived her life with a spirit of graciousness, generosity, and good humor. While Jon and I lived in Midland, we first met Bob and Ruby, in the late 1970’s when our sons, Matt and Andy were kindergarten friends at Woodcrest. We lived around the corner from them, and Matt and Andy hung out together through those years. This past week, our son Matt reminded me how often Andy and he would be runners - “little helpers” at the Delta fundraisers. Ruby had a way of inviting and enlisting everyone in the “cause”.  I still recall one of my first impressions when I met Ruby …”this is one incredible creative women who is fully engaged in making this world a better place”.  She developed her gifts and talents and natural flair for leadership to serve and help others. Also, I so loved how Ruby took an interest in each person she met. She had a way of encouraging others on their own journey. Her love for Bob and her family shone through.…. May her memory and the celebration of her life sustain her loved ones during these days and the days ahead. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love and blessing, Etta and Jon
Posted by Barbara Tedrow on July 28, 2020
Ruby was a leader who did color outside the lines. I have Ruby to thank for a friendship that lasted my work years in the Tri-Cities and then leaving Midland. Besides being a trusted Delta friend during the many Global Awareness Weeks, Ruby traveled to Decatur GA to introduce me to the Rotary club. Her talk helped me enter my new community, which I came to love. Yes it was her calm accepting way with people that made her special. Her family and all of her friends were fortunate to have her in their lives. Rest in peace, dear Ruby.
her Life

Midland Daily News

Earlier today the Midland Daily News wrote an amazing article and tribute to my mother and if you missed it, I wanted to make sure that you were all able to see it. Not only did Mitchell do an amazing job at capturing her spirit but also took the time to dig through the archives to find old articles and pictures that the newspaper had done over the years. Thank you for showcasing my mother in a way that she deserves and for helping us celebrate her life.

https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/Remembering-Ruby-Iwamasa-first-female-Rotary-15437850.php



Shared by Tina Van Dam

Tina Van Dam helped supply the following information:

Ruby was a key member of the Steering Committee for the MCFTA historical exhibition VOICES:  Extraordinary Women of Midland County that was displayed from 2011-12 and was selected as an honoree. The page from the book can be viewed by clicking the pdf on the side here. She served on the Sister City Committee for many years, helping primarily with the student exchange with Handa, Japan.  Ruby was also a valued and long-time member of the Midland 100 Club.

Delta College and more shared from Pamela Clark via email

I am including below further information about her life, from Delta College’s perspective.  In July 2006, Ruby was honored by the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) for her 32 year involvement with Delta College’s public TV station.  She received the prestigious Pioneer Award on July 25, 2006 at the statewide organization’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Retreat.  Following is information from the press release sent out by the College:

Ruby was nominated due to her long term service to Delta College.  Her lifetime contributions to public broadcasting, along with her involvement and service to the community, were recognized by the statewide members of both MAPB and the commercial station members of the MAB organization.  Iwamasa had been nominated by Barry Baker, Delta’s General Manager of Broadcasting. 

“Ruby is the proverbial poster child for education.  Whether she taught in the classroom, from the public TV studio, or face to face with child care providers and parents, Ruby is tireless and dedicated to learning, “said Baker, “Ruby’s dedication to Delta College Public Broadcasting will never be forgotten.  Ruby is not retired from public television, only on a short break”.

Having moved to Midland, Michigan in 1967, Ruby became an advocate, teacher and administrator in the cooperative pre-school movement while raising her three sons.  She taught at St. John’s Episcopal Cooperative Nursery School and the Beehive Nursery School, both in Midland.  She served as a teacher-consultant to area Kinder-Kare Preschool Centers, and also as President of the Mid-Michigan Council of Cooperative Nursery Schools and the Mid-Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children. 

As a preschool teacher, Ruby discovered a passion for public broadcasting and eventually became a volunteer at Delta College’s WUCM-TV, Channel 19 (current call letters WDCQ-TV) for 12 years.  In 1983, Ruby officially joined the Delta College staff and over the years has been involved in most all aspects of the station, including interim General Manager.

Ruby volunteered on WUCM Channel 19’s first auction in 1971, and participated in all 17 years of this annual on-air fundraiser for the station.  She worked as an auctioneer, emcee, and Midland County Chair.  She also worked as a Producer on the public affairs program “Day By Day” with host Andy Rapp.  Ruby was a recipient of WUCM’s highest honor given to a station volunteer when she received the “Orthy Award” in the 1980s.

In September of 2003, Ruby retired from Delta College Quality Public Broadcasting to prepare for her role as District 6310 Rotary Centennial Governor, which began July 1, 2004.  Before retirement, she served as Assistant to the General Manager as well as Manager of Educational Services and Outreach.  In that role, she established partnerships with teachers, parents and community organizations to fulfill the educational mission of the station.  Through various initiatives, such as the PBS Ready To Learn Service, she championed the educational uses of public television programming while nurturing the love of learning and literacy in all ages. 

In 2003, Ruby received the Outstanding Hispanic Advocate award from Delta College’s Multicultural Services Division.  This award recognized the long-standing partnership that was established between the Summer Migrant Programs, the volunteer readers/mentors from Delta’s Hispanic community and Q-TV/PBS Ready To Learn.  Ruby also returned to Delta Broadcasting from 2003 to 2005 to continue her work in education as a Ready To Learn Specialist on a part-time basis.

Ruby is a member of the Rotary Club of Midland, is an Alumni of the Midland Leadership program (class of 1991), and is currently assisting to raise funds to help build and open the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum in Saginaw.  In February 1997, the Delta College Board of Trustees honored Ruby for her “service to Delta College and the community it serves” through a special resolution and proclamation.

Ruby Iwamasa received her Associate of Arts degree from Hartnell Junior College in Salinas, California and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in Speech Correction, from San Jose State College.  She has taught in California, Maryland and Michigan.  Ruby is married to Robert Iwamasa who is retired from the Dow Chemical Company.  They have three grown sons, Kenneth, Jonathan and Andrew.

I have added a number of photos of Ruby to the memorial website, so feel free to take a look.  They were taken during her many years at Delta College Public Broadcasting.  One of her funniest stories was about “the day I thought I’d get fired from Delta College!”  As she told it, there was a dedication of the new WUCX TV-35 transmitter in Ubly, back in 1986.  President Don Carlyon would be attending, along with Betty and many others.  Ruby hired a lion tamer to bring along a live lion, as a surprise for Don, since it was part of his family crest.  Long story short…. “once the lion bit down on Don’s cowboy boots, I knew it may not have been a good idea!”  Oh, to hear her tell the story though, she had everyone laughing.  And luckily, Don’s foot was saved by those ever present boots.

On a personal level, I don’t believe Ruby had a negative bone in her body.  She was always positive, bubbly and gave a smile to all.  She will truly be missed by everyone who knew her. 

Recent stories

Adventures

Shared by Matt MacDonagh-Dumler on July 27, 2020
I woke up in the night last night and did something I haven’t done in a long long time for no reason in particular. I logged onto Facebook. That’s when I saw the message that your Mom had passed away. Andy (and Jon and Ken and Mr Iwamasa) my heart goes out to you. Your Mom / Wife (Mrs Iwamasa to me) was such a wonderful person. I have been thinking all day about growing up with the Iwamasas. 
Your house was my second home. And your Mom always made me feel so welcome. We had amazing adventures at your house. All the sleepovers and double sleepovers. Getting to your house from mine through the woods was even an adventure. Trails and secret paths. How we’d sneak in through the Puppy-chow door behind the furnace and eat pop tarts, gold fish and drink coke. Our games of hide and seek. I was always amazed at how Jon could scale up the walls of the stairs and climb onto the top of the cabinets. Then there was honing our fort building skills which, as a parent now, I realise is a euphemism for wrecking a place. But God, it was fun; and I always felt like t We’d make such elaborate, multi-chamber lairs (complete with an area for food stuffs) using the long interlocking timber blocks and bed sheets. Exploring your backyard. Climbing trees. Though, that big one in the back - I mostly remember watching you and Jon scale up that tree. I can’t quite remember, but I don’t think I could get to the lowest branch very well. And of course the long long sessions of D&D over many many years. 
Behind it all was a home your Mom and Dad created. A home for adventures, exploring and fun. What a magnificent place! I am grateful to you and your Mom and Dad for giving / sharing with me such a wonderful childhood. Sometimes things weren’t so fun. When we’d go ‘help’ your Mom with the Delta phone-a-thon as a runner, I’d eat the Burger King. They had those tables with loads of Whoppers on them and I think it was orange drink (but I could be wrong). It seemed like every time I did, I’d get sick in the middle of night at your house. Your mom is one of the few people who has cared for me puking (repeatedly). She was so kind.  
I can only imagine how much you all must miss her. If you get the sense that someone is sending kind thoughts from far off to the east and over the waves, that’d be me.
With much love, Matt

Together

Shared by Andrew Iwamasa on July 26, 2020
Distance, varied opinions, different theology, different values, different heritage or simply a different point of view. These are all things that separate us, but they are all things that never mattered to my mother. It never was about the things that make us different, but the things that bring us together. The bonds that connected us, the laughter that we could all share if we just pay close enough attention.

I know that we all are experiencing our own overwhelming emotions, thoughts and fears, but if my mother, Ruby Iwamasa, taught me anything it is that these are the times that we need to rely on each other more than any other. That there will always be shadows, or conflict or frustrations at not knowing what the perfect thing is to say or do. The thing is, there isn't a perfect thing to say or do in almost any situation, let alone a time like now.

But looking closer. Taking a moment to see the details in the bigger picture. These are the things that she was a master at noticing. At being able to see the light in any situation and to use that light to illuminate the world around her, not for herself, but for all of us that stood by. She has always been a beacon for me, and will continue to do so through out my as I attempt to help my children (and myself) be able to find those details, no matter how small, every single moment of every single day. 

My mother wasn't perfect, but she was perfect for me. Even now I find myself learning from her, and hearing her voice in my head guiding me to be better than I am, even when I falter. 

I need you all more than ever, and I know that all of you need us more than ever before. We are all feeling the void in our lives and the world is a little bit worse for her not being in it. But it's times like these that she would remind us of a story that made us laugh, an important time in history, or even just something that would make us wonder what the heck she was talking about. Her impact on the world has been huge, changing the tides of oceans and if I am smart enough, I will continue to let her guide me every single moment of my life. 

Every single one of you reading this has been impacted by my mother in some way, and please know that I share your grief and sadness as we celebrate her life, her passion and her love. Know that in turn, each and everyone of you impacted on my mother's life, and made an impression on her. She saw the special details in all of us that shine if we allow them to. Continue to reach for the stars and know that with love like that, nothing will ever keep us from our goals, no matter what obstacles may be in our path, and that together we are stronger. And together is how we will continue to grow.

I love you mom.