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Ashley Melin Aguilar

June 23, 1988 ~ June 16, 2018 (age 29)

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.

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