Ashley Ann Kuzma
1987 - 2019
When you have recurrent laryngeal cancer that just won't take no for an answer, you have a lot of time to think about death. The good thing is I no longer have to worry about saving for retirement, paying off student loans, or trying not to get skin cancer??? One positive outcome from having recurrent cancer was that it taught me to let go of the insignificant things and to just enjoy the people and places. After three recurrences, my body finally had enough and I passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Cleveland Clinic.

I was born on May 21, 1987 in Beaver County, Pa. I grew up in Conway and attended Freedom Area High School (class of 2005). I earned a Bachelor's in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh (class of 2009), where I also became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. I completed my teaching certificate and Master of Education degree at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After I graduated high school, my family moved to Erie. While I spent a few years teaching in Lancaster County, I returned to Erie to plant my roots and became a gifted support teacher at McDowell Intermediate High School. In my spare time, I enjoyed reading, cuddling with my cats, wine tasting, relaxing on my dad's boat, watching movies, golfing, decorating my house, watching football (go Steelers!), appreciating a good sunset, and watching TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, the original Will and Grace, and Friends. While in college I spent a semester abroad in London and was able to travel to Paris, France, Krakow, Poland (it had been a goal of mine to visit Auschwitz for many years), Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy. Some of my favorite family vacations include experiencing the awe of the Grand Canyon and enjoying the sun, sand, and family time in the Outer Banks. After I found out my cancer was back for the fourth time, I went to Mexico and saw Chichen Itza. I am extremely grateful for the life that I lived. I was fortunate to have a loving family, supportive friends, a stable and meaningful job, and a house to call my own. My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out. Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you. What do you value in your life? In the end, that's what matters.

I am survived by my wonderful parents, John William Kuzma and Vicky Lynn (Barron) Kuzma of Fairview, Pa.; my sister, Kristen Marie Kuzma of Clinton, Pa.; our family dog, Lizzy; my cats, Archie and Stella; my maternal grandmother, Verda Ann (Durst) Barron of New Brighton, Pa.; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.

I was preceded in death by my paternal grandparents, John Allen Kuzma and Dolores Marie (Gajewski) Kuzma; my maternal grandfather, Robert Eugene Barron; my childhood cat of 18 years, Sammy; our beloved family dog of 17 years, Dylan; and my cat, Leo.

Since I think viewings are too sad for everyone, I requested that my family host a celebration of my life. Please join them on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Perry Highway Hose Co. Oliver Rd., Erie, Pa. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania (Erie Humane Society), Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center Erie, Pa., or Hope Lodge, Cleveland, Ohio.

This obituary was written by Ashley preceding her passing as part of the many preparations to make the transition easier on her family.

Sign the Guestbook at the

Published by Erie Times-News on Oct. 3, 2019.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Celebration of Life
12:00p.m. - 4:00p.m.
Perry Highway Hose Co.
Oliver Rd., Erie, PA
Please consider a donation as requested by the family.
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250 Entries
Thanks everyone for your kind comments. A day does not go by Vicky and I don't think about Ashley. She had such a positive effect on everyone.
John Kuzma
September 28, 2021
We think of Ashley often and the hardship that she, her parents and sister went through in dealing with cancer, Medical coverage, and juggling work through it all. You are forever in our hearts.
Kathy, Ed & Heather Knapp
September 27, 2021
I think of Ashley often. Knowing her made me a better clinician! Keep watching over us
Jo Ann Kmiecik
September 27, 2021
Thank you for your words...You are an inspiration. Here is a gorgeous sunset picture I recently took, and now dedicated to your memory.
God Bless You
Catherine Hall
December 9, 2019
Lynda Patenaude
November 22, 2019
Your message hit me really hard. I can appreciate it coming from you. I've heard it before but I will now embrace it. May your soul rest in peace.
Dylcia Duran
October 24, 2019
Thank you for your courage and wise words. What a beautiful Teacher you must have been and a beautiful Lady. God Bless you and your soul and to your family and friends my condolences from Brisbane Australia.I will head your wise words.RIP.
October 24, 2019
Thank you for your courage and words of wisdom. May you rest in
peace Ashley
sanjay shrestha
October 24, 2019
Even though I never met you Ashley - your courageous words and wisdom touched many people like myself. Life is too short and you have to be reminded to not take life so serious and to enjoy what is around you and I want to thank you for doing that. I hope your message resonates to many people around this world - even though I never met you or your family - I know they are very proud of you and to think they now have an angel with them. God bless you Ashley. XO
October 22, 2019
Ashley- we have never met nor do I have any idea how this most beautiful obituary showed up on my phone. However, I believe there is always a reason for these things and I'm paying attention to both your advice and I'm getting my thyroid checked because I'm worried about that as far as cancer. I wish I knew you in life however I will pray for you and the loved ones who move on without you here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and story. God Bless
Margaret Frame
October 21, 2019
Thank you for your courage and words of wisdom. May you rest in
peace Ashley! May God give your family strength and peace.
October 21, 2019
WOW! Reminder~ You Never Leave A Place You Love. You Go Away Taking A Part Of It Along, And Leave A Part Of You Remaining. Such a Beautiful you woman she was! Big Hugs To All!
Anne Willis
October 20, 2019
Beautiful words from someone I would have loved to have known. God bless Ashley and her family.
Kerry Kenney
October 15, 2019
Thank you for your inspiring words, some people need to be reminded of the beautiful things that surround us.You walked the walk of life with open eyes and I am sure you have touched a thousand hearts.
My sincere condolences to family and friends.
October 14, 2019
I miss you, and I never met you in life. I only met you through your life-affirming autobituary (and maybe that's a new word, created by a stranger, in your precious memory). What a beautiful, moving tribute you have left at the end of your short life. In their grief, while mourning the passing of an obviously extraordinary woman, I can only hope that your family, friends and loved ones feel blessed for having shared some time (although too short) on our pretty blue floating marble with a person who is a light and an inspiration, in death as in (and I'm only guessing) life.
Robert Richardson
October 14, 2019
I didnt know Ashley but read her lovely words she has touched alot of hearts. I would like to tell her parents they had a great daughter and i am very sorry she had to leave so soon. Sending hugs and prayers for her family from London Ontario Canada XOXO...
Jackie Vella-Copan
October 14, 2019
Inspiring words from a beautiful and wise soul. Thank you for reminding us. God bless you. Strength and comfort to your family.
October 13, 2019
Dhananjay Tambe
October 12, 2019
I never had the pleasure of meeting your beloved daughter, sister, but was so touched by her story for the love of her life. My condolences for your loss.
Sandra Turner
October 10, 2019
Thank you Ashley for your beautiful words of wisdom and truth to live by.
Sara S.
October 10, 2019
A gentle and very wise soul. God bless you Ashley.
Peggy Edwards
October 10, 2019
I never had the privilege to meet you, but your story is a story of hope and inspiration. Thank you for reminding the world of what matters most. Rest Peacefully.
Richard Wallace
October 10, 2019
Stay happily wherever you are, you just gave us all a shortcut, your thought of how to live a life is the light to us.
Ruby V
October 10, 2019
Such a sweet soul.
October 10, 2019
Rest in peace my dear sister. From: John Collins
John Collins
October 10, 2019
Lost my mother at the same age she was. May God bless her and her loved ones.
Jim H
October 10, 2019
Our condelences to Ashley's Family . What an amazing individual with her views on life and death. She inspired us to take the time to really enjoy LIFE.
Dara & Kevin Wills
October 9, 2019
My sincere condolences. What a beautiful human being Ashley was. We can all learn something from the life she lead. The world will be a little emptier without her.
Joyce Harrison
October 9, 2019
Ashley I did not know you while you celebrated your life but somehow your beautiful story found it's way to me just today. Your strength and inner beauty has touched me in a such heartfelt way perhaps because I have two children that are your age when you passed. Through your words you have taught me to cherish what we have as a family and not to dwell on what we can not change. You are truly an angel! Thank- you for your inspirational words. I will not forget them. Bless you and your family!
E.M. Malave
October 9, 2019
I never had the pleasure of meeting your beloved daughter, sister, and friend, but am touched by her story of love for life. As a teacher, I sometimes let insignificant things get me down. As a tribute to Ashley, I'm going to do my best to find the good in each day and to live life to the fullest. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful message.
Allison Figgs
October 9, 2019
Although I did not know you, I wanted your family to know that your words have been received by many! I was blown away by your heart, compassion and grace at such a young age. I'd like to think you had this thing called life figured out and was able to go HOME with our Lord early. What a beautiful soul. Bless you and your family. I was deeply touched by your words and it made me rethink things and I'm learning to let go of anything that doesn't positively affect my life. Rest in peace sweet girl. ♡
Stefanie Young
October 9, 2019
While I did not know Ashley I'm so moved by her story. She seemed like a very special woman and you should be so proud of her. Not many people would write their own obituary because they wanted it to be less painful for their family. I will take her advice and not sweat the small stuff. God bless her family
Beth Yoder
October 9, 2019
this is someone from india,salute the way you have lived life ,full of energy,smile over hardships,people must always loved you ,lots of love from my side ,have a sweet journey dear ....
October 9, 2019
October 9, 2019
My deepest condolenses to Ashley's family and all that knew her. Ashley, I didn't know you, but by your obituary I know you were a wonderful, thoughtful, compassionate and accomplished young lady. A good and faithful servant. May you rest in peace as you are now in the arms of our Lord and Savior.

Blessing Always,
Joanna Serra
October 9, 2019
What a incredible woman!! Rest in peace Ashley. Prayers to your family.
Ronald Pruchnicki
October 9, 2019
Thank you for the lovely obituary. I am sorry for your loss. Rebekah Schwarz
Rebekah Schwarz
October 9, 2019
They say the good die young & boy 32 years young is very young. You seemed so determined & had such meaning to many, I'm sure of it. I felt it reading through multiple articles before finally reading your obituary. I'm sorry that cancer took you from this earth too soon but I'm sure the years you did walk amongst us, you planted plenty of seeds for growth on your knowledge & what you loved! I'm sad for you but I also know you're no longer in pain! My deepest condolences to your loved ones & may they feel the warmth of your wings wrap around them as you hug them daily! Rest easy Ashley!
Natalie Wulle
October 9, 2019
Eternal rest. Condolences to the family. Thanks for sharing her obituary with all of us.
October 9, 2019
God bless your spirit and family... This is beautiful and very touching... I didn't know you but I will always remember your words: My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out. Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you. What do you value in your life? In the end, that's what matters...
Racheal Scott
October 9, 2019
What a beautiful soul.
Wendy Pierce
October 9, 2019
Thank for you sharing that, it is very beautiful and powerful. God bless Ashley and her family.
Katie S
October 9, 2019
October 9, 2019
Andrea Gayles
October 9, 2019
I don't know you but I've just read your story im sading by it i just sat and cried and cried.You seemed to be a very sweet loving,caring,easygoing person.Im going to end this now because i can talk about you for hours without even have had the pleasure of meeting you.Im going to save room for someone else.The good die young ing for the family.
Andrea Gayles
October 9, 2019
You are beyond brave. Thank you for your kind words of guidance.
October 9, 2019
Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading about your life and all your wonderful memories with your family and friends I listened to your video about your obituary and enjoyed it very much I had an episode of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma back in 2018 and became a survivor of cancer freeIt was so wonderful to read and enjoy all the wonderful things that you did in your life my mother passed away about three years ago and we had a celebration of life and it was so beautiful everyone said that was the best funeral they had ever been to god bless your family and all your friends
Nancy Johnson
October 9, 2019
God bless your spirit and soul through all eternity. I am so sorry for your family's loss and for your fur babies.
Viviane Shammas
October 9, 2019
As I prepare for my morning prayers Ashley will be remembered... Rest in the Most High Blessed Peace
October 9, 2019
What a brave and a strong lady. I'm sorry You had to leave so young. Your family, friends and everybody who knew You should be proud and very fortunate to have had You in their lives. My sincere condolences to the family and You Beautiful Soul Rest In Peace.
October 9, 2019
I just read your obituary and was truly touched by your incredible strength,words and wisdom. Your family,students and friends were so blessed to know you. You were truly so special. Rest In Peace Ashley.
October 9, 2019
It takes a special kind of person to conquer their own mortality like Ashley did. May she rest easy, and may her family and friends find peace.
October 9, 2019
Incredibly touching story of an incredible young woman who was wise beyond her years! Rest in peace, you beautiful soul....
Ozana Castellano
October 8, 2019
Ashley, thanks to your forward thinking and your gratefulness to your loved ones and those you don't know, now countless people globally have been touched by your love. We're stopping to rethink, to make every minute count, and to learn to be grateful for all we have and for those we love. You left us on my birthday, September 22nd and moving forward you'll have a special place in my heart on that day and always. May God bless you and your family.
Michael McClatchy, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Michael McClatchy
October 8, 2019
Thank you for your words of advice. You truly were a strong woman
October 8, 2019

Tonight I light this candle in remembrance of your beautiful life. Your words about life and living are so powerful. May your memory live on through others around the world to embrace life and enjoy every moment. To a beautiful women and beautiful soul may you be at peace knowing you changed the hearts of millions around the world with your life story. God Bless you and your family.
Elaina Matheson
October 8, 2019
I just read the story of Ashley writing her own obit....what a Beautiful woman, and wonderful life...God Bless her family and friends. You all are so Blessed for having known her.
October 8, 2019
What an amazing young lady!!May your family find peace knowing that you're in good hands with the lord.From my family to yours, you all have our deepest sympathy.
Barbara Ringo
October 8, 2019
Wow! To a family who raised such a amazing strong daughter Ashley.
I can't imagine what this young lady had to endure but Ashley's message is straight forward. Bright beyond her years. Be proud of this Angel for she is free✝ God Bless
Franklin WI
Patt Slater
October 8, 2019
Rest in peace Ashley
Zac Byrd
October 8, 2019
What a beautiful end to a beautiful life. I am so sorry for this family's loss. may you find peace in the coming days and months.RIP.
October 8, 2019
Sorry for your loss
Lisa Woods
October 8, 2019
I didn't know Ashley, but her message hit home as I worry about the frivolous things in this life. We should all enjoy each day and count it as a blessing as tomorrow isn't promised. Thank you for your service Ashley!!!
Cheyenne Young
October 8, 2019
You are in God's hands now, Thank You for sharing your amazing insight that few of us will know. R.I.P sweet Ashley
Christie D
October 8, 2019
How lucky anyone who had the chance to meet her through her passing on this planet. I did not know her but she seems like a very wise woman with a loving soul. I will try to make Ashley's wish come true by trying to follow her advice as much as I can. Condolences to her family and friends.
October 8, 2019
She must have been a wonderful teacher because with her passing she is still teaching us all to appreciate life and look for the good.
Carrie Blanco
October 8, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Your words brought me to tears and made me remember what is important in life.
Tisha Barnett
October 8, 2019
Such a beautiful young life taken way too soon. I didn't personally know her but her story has touched me tremendously, as I'm sure it has with many many people.

My sincere condolences to her family and especially her students.
Chris V
October 8, 2019
Wow, what an amazing woman! The Kuzma family should be very proud. I'm sure the celebration of life will be just that on Sunday - a celebration of a wonderful life. God Bless You...
October 8, 2019
Ashley, I never met you but your message is so powerful and beautiful. May God bless your family in this time of sorrow. Rest in Peace Ashley.
October 8, 2019
Thank you for sharing. Your words touched me. Enjoy the journey!!
Tom Burtman
October 8, 2019
How amazing and thoughtful to her family to prepare her own obituary. She must've been a real gem. Deepest condolences to her family and friends!Sincerely, Lyn from Washington DC
Lyn Raheem
October 8, 2019
You got it right, Ashley. Family, know that you got it right as well. You raised a productive, articulate and loving person. May you find some comfort in knowing this.
-a random person that read the obit and was touched
M Griffin
October 8, 2019
I never met Ashley and only know of her through a story I read online. But from what I could tell she seemed like a terrific person and I'm sure for the ones that actually knew her she'll be terribly missed. Reading over her life story, it really touched me and she seemed and I'm sure she'll continue to be a lovely soul. I'm really sorry for your loss and it's the world's loss as well... I hope with all my heart that she's in a better place now. G-d bless her!
Nathan N.
October 8, 2019
These beautiful words of advice left their mark on me. May they also bring comfort strength to those who knew and loved you.
October 8, 2019
I did not know you Ashley, however, your life testimony moved me to tears. Tears of joy and sadness that you lived life to the fullest and your words are helping others to do the same.
Fly on your beautiful wings now, Ashley, and be at peace with God.

My prayers and God's blessings to your family.
No matter how prepared the family is, a loss of a loved one is very difficult. "To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die." From the book A Stone for Danny Fisher.
Jeffrey Jones
October 8, 2019
Rest in peace
Milagros Charon
October 8, 2019
Thank you Ashley. May you rest in comfort with no more worries. The native american s believe that your soul travels threw paths may your path be peaceful into Gods kingdom
Arnold Sanchez
October 8, 2019
I was not fortunate enough to know you but through your obituary you have touched me. I am sorry for your passing and I will pray for your family to always remember the happy times with you.
Angela Day
October 8, 2019
You are truly a remarkable and gentle kind person,,,
Maury Runnion
October 8, 2019
You're a beautiful soul that was meant to touch the lives that read your words. Your purpose was to be this shining star and to spread your light. You get to rest in peace now and be with all those loved ones waiting for you. May your family and friends find peace in the days ahead.
October 8, 2019
Ashley, I was not fortunate enough to have known you but you have written the most beautiful obituary of your life. I pray for peace for your loving family and the wonderful memories of your life with them. God be with them and comfort them now and always.
October 8, 2019
You were an angel in practice here on earth your mission continues in heaven teaching small children while your message remains to teach those of us still here on earth..God Bless and comfort your family..and thank you for reminding us to relax and stress less..after 20 yrs as a single mom I sometimes still need that reminder.
October 8, 2019
My thought and prayers are with your family as they grieve you, today. You are a beautiful soul that will LIVE Forever in people's hearts and memories. May the Angels be with you.
October 8, 2019
I did not know Ashley or her family. I do know that I am inspired by her words of wisdom in her obituary. I too have cancer and each day is a blessing that we should not take for granted. I wish her family God's Blessings as they grieve. We all must die, but how we live defines us. God Speed Ashley.
Barbara Taylor
October 8, 2019
So young and so smart, God puts us all in this earth to do something, your mission was accomplished , and we're still here trying to figure it out, you have touched many people with your words of wisdom, you left us all behind to go to a better place. You were an Angel flying to close to the ground. To the parents of this beautiful Angel, I'm sorry for your loss. know in your heart, that Ashley is still teaching....
Sally Alonzo Auslam
October 8, 2019
Thank you, Ashley. Rest in peace.
31 y/o M
October 8, 2019
Thank you and your family for sharing your important thoughts and feelings. As a head and neck cancer surgeon your advice and insight is so very important to me. I never met you, but I will think of your story tomorrow when I meet two new patients with advanced cancer, one of them a young girl.
October 8, 2019
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
issa omar
October 8, 2019
Soar high with the Angels..
October 8, 2019
Bless you and thank you for your kind words.
Lacy Pline
October 8, 2019
RIP Ashley. Sure you will find more ever long lasting life after this World.
Long Cao
October 8, 2019
Thanks very much, Ashley, for sharing your Obituary and your wisdom with others.

I know that you made lasting contributions and a difference in the lives of all your students.

I send my Deepest Condolences to your parents, your sister, and all your family.
Anh Le
October 8, 2019
Your words were beautiful and I wish for comfort to all of your loved ones. You truly lived a good life and are an inspiration for others to live their best life, while they can. My condolences to the family
Daria Hargreaves
October 8, 2019
Wow!! Such a powerful message you left Ashley. May the stars shine brightly on you and that you are now flying freely with the angels in yout eternal life.
Shirley Adamson
October 7, 2019
From one educator and animal lover, you are a woman I wish I could have known. I will take your advise seriously. May God bless you and your family forever. May you have peace and happiness in the next life. Beautiful life.
Carla Bella
October 7, 2019
Thank you Ashley for those profound and beautiful words
October 7, 2019
I didn't know you here but I feel I know you now. Reading this because of the article on You ARE an inspiration. God bless you and your family . Love You ❤. Maria in NYC.
October 7, 2019
I hope you meet my beautiful daughter Mandy you will love each other. You went to heaven 8 yrs and 1 day after she did. I know you're in a beautiful place now in no more pain just happiness all the time.
With love,
Pam McDaniel
October 7, 2019
So sorry for your loss. She was and angel in disguise and so brave. Prayers to all
Laura Frerking
October 7, 2019
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