- About Us
When Death Occurs
- About Us
When Death Occurs
The Duggan tradition of excellence in funeral service since 1889.
Ashley Melin Aguilar, born and raised in Sonoma, left us unexpectedly on Saturday, June 16.
She was 29 years of age, and a resident of Oakland. She is survived by her loving parents, David
and Wendy Aguilar, adoring sister and best friend, Kirsten Vail Aguilar and by her partner, the
love of her life, Eric McNeil of Providence, R I. She was predeceased by her grandfather Robert V.
Cole of Ohio, Aunt Mary Back and cousin Crystal Sage of Texas, and her Uncle Robert V. Cole, Jr. of
NYC. She will be missed by her grandparents Dolores Cole of Sonoma, and Col. Aggie and
Mary Aguilar of Texas; her Aunt Patsy and Uncle Harrison Gralow of Sonoma; Aunt Sandy and Uncle Steve
Brown of W.VA; Aunt Cilla and Uncle Bob Murray of Oregon; Aunt Teri and Uncle Jim Lidgey, Aunt
Becky & Uncle Tom Widlowski, Aunt Betsy and Leonard Hutchinson, and Roger Sage all of Texas.
Ashley delighted in family gatherings and reunions with her hilarious cousins and their families including:
Jennifer Elliott of Paso Robles; Rose Burns of Sonoma; David, Rachel and Megan Murray of Oregon;
Zachary Brown of North Carolina; Travis Brown of Colorado; Jeff Sage of Montana; James Lidgey Jr,
Maddie and Mitchell Widlowski of Texas. She will be missed by her countless friends whose lives
she irrevocably touched. Ashley grew up in a home filled with laughter, love and music in
Sonoma Valley. She attended Dunbar Elementary School, Altimira Middle School, and
graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2006 where she was a founding member of the
Earth Club. Ashley had an innate gift for crafts and fine arts and was always in the midst of
creating something remarkable. She played piano and violin and while in high school worked
part time at Arroyo Veterinary Hospital. An exceptional student, Ashley earned her B.A. in
English Literature and Comparative Cultures from Brown University in Rhode Island. During
her time there, she was an integral member of Finlandia, a residential Co-Op, where she lived for
four years, and also volunteered teaching under-resourced children in downtown Providence.
Ashley’s initial experience educating children guided her to her life’s passion: teaching. She
worked with AmeriCorps—the corporation for national and community service—for two years
after leaving Brown, and coordinated a Reading Partners program at Longwood Elementary
School in Hayward, Calif. This eventually led to a full-time position there, where she was a
beloved Kindergarten teacher. She will be dearly missed by the Longwood Community. Her
colleagues in Hayward will be establishing a “Kinder Play” area in her memory, to be called
“Ashley’s Corner”, as well as the “Aguilar Award,” to recognize a sixth-grade student
exemplifying her unique values. In addition to being an avid Golden State Warriors fan, Ashley
was on a first name basis with Mother Nature and enjoyed hiking, camping and fishing with
friends. She delighted in biennial visits to her Grandma Dee Dee’s’ cabin at Caribou Lake, in
Minnesota and was fond of snorkeling in Maui. A family trip to Sweden and an epic
trip to Alaska with her mother were highlights of her life. Ashley is also survived by her cats
Oscar and Lucille who provided her endless joy and her cherished menagerie of succulent plants
and cacti. Mango, her yellow lab, held a special place in her heart. Ashley touched many lives, in
many communities and was a special light in her family’s heart.
There will be a celebration of Ashley’s life and resurrection on Friday, July 6th,
beginning at 5:00 PM, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 275 East Spain Street, Sonoma, where she
was baptized; reception to follow in Buttrum Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ashley’s name are suggested to be made to Longwood
School via check; in the memo section write ‘Ashley Aguilar Memorial Fund’. Mail to
Longwood School, 850 Longwood Ave, Hayward , CA 94541.