Virginia Elaine Hamori-Ota

May 1, 1959June 12, 2018

Virginia Elaine Hamori-Ota

We are sad to announce the passing of our beloved family member, Virginia Hamori-Ota. Virginia was born on May 1, 1959 to Jean and Paul Hamori, was baptized at the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, and died on June 12, 2018 at the age of 59.

Virginia spent her childhood days in Muncie, Indiana, growing up alongside her three brothers Paul, George, and Charles Hamori. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in French Language and Linguistics from the University of Indiana. She later moved to France and taught in the French University system and served as Director of the American Language Institute at the American University of Paris.

Virginia met Hiromichi Ota in Paris in the fall of 1990. They got married on September 4, 1993 at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, she taught at Gakushuin University and Rikkyo University before serving as Director of Marketing and Recruiting at Temple University in Japan. She served Emperor and Empress of Japan as a judge for H.I.H Prince Takamatsu Trophy All Japan Inter-Middle School English Oratorical Contest, which was commended by global leaders including several Presidents of the United States.

In 2000, Virginia and her family moved back to the U.S. where she began her Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Michigan. Since the completion of her Ph.D. in 2006, she has held multiple positions at the University of Michigan, including her most recent position, Instructional Designer at Integrative Systems + Design within the College of Engineering. Virginia was always passionate about her work and committed to continuously improving the educational experience of others.

In her free time, Virginia loved to play tennis, gathered with friends over tasty food and wine, and spent time with her family. She also loved to host grand dinner parties, where she was often the energy of the night.

Virginia will forever be remembered by her husband, Hiromichi, her two children, Michiko and Akihiro, her three brothers, her extended family members in the U.S., Japan, Hungary, and France, and her many friends whom she so greatly impacted during her life. She will rest in peace at the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Cemetery in Indiana, where her parents also rest.

A memorial service for Virginia will be held on Saturday June 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor. Memorial donations in Virginia’s memory could also be made to the Church.


  • Gathering at Church Saturday, June 23, 2018
  • Mass Saturday, June 23, 2018

Virginia Elaine Hamori-Ota

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kelly Forest

June 24, 2018

I've been thinking about what to write for a couple weeks now and as I type I feel the tears well up in my eyes.
Virginia was a dear friend and confidant, someone I am fortunate to have met. Life is a journey and it's not often we stumble upon someone we consider a true friend, especially in the workplace, but Virginia turned out to be one of those people. She believed in me and my abilities and helped me achieve goals in the workplace like no other person in my life.
Hiro, Aki, Michi, your wife/mother was one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever met and I truly loved her. She had drive and tenacity and the ability to instill that in everyone around her, and her work at the University proved this time and time again. The difference she made at the B-School and the College of Engineering was measurable. I can say without a doubt her collaboration with others made the most significant improvements than I had ever seen in instructional design ever, bar none!
In my opinion, her greatest attribute was her sincere kindness and her thoughtful way of listening to others objectively. She brought that quality to the table every day and in everything she did.
One of the things I will miss most is our lunches together. She took me on the best ethnic food adventures and coached me on what to order every place we went. We would laugh so hard over some of the foods she liked and I didn't. The best part of lunching with Virginia is she made everything she ate seem as though it was the best meal she had ever had in her entire life! I think everyone knows exactly what I am talking about.
All of this aside hands down the love of her life was her family, they were her world. She adored each one individually in a special way. Family always came first and was in her heart every day and that will never change. She will always and forever be by your sides.
My sincerest condolences and love to each of you, Hiro, Aki, Michi, and all of Virginia's extended family.

Robert Bordley

June 24, 2018

When I first came to the division, Virginia was very welcoming with fresh ideas and constant encouragement on improving my online class. She really helped me adapt to the new online environment, I will miss her kind guidance in the years ahead.


Cynthia D'Agostino McNabb

June 22, 2018

Virginia was a wonderful friend and an amazing human being! I met Virginia at Concordia University when she was teaching the Leadership courses in 2004. We made it a point to meet for lunch when we could over the years, and we just had lunch together on April 25. Over lunch we would discuss family, social reform, finances, tennis, vacations… Virginia was enthusiastic, optimistic, sensitive, kind… Hiromichi, Michi, Aki and family…. I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

Scott Mahler

June 22, 2018

I was deeply saddened to hear of Virginia’s passing and my heart goes out to the entire family. Yet, even in the sadness I felt, I still smiled. I smiled because her energy and soul were so positive that thinking of her always brought a smile.

I remember when she convinced our team at ISD to take a personality test. It was mostly for fun, but was also revealing. Virginia, not surprisingly, was deemed a ‘catalyst’. That person who ignites a spark in others, encourages new growth and opportunity, and yet still remains true to herself.

Virginia opened my eyes to new possibilities in education and inspired creativity in me and those around her. My life is truly better because of the time I was granted to work alongside her. I am thankful to have collaborated with her, to get to know her as friend, and to have had her in my life; I am privaleged to have been part of her life.

Michi and Aki, she was rightfully so very proud of both of you, of all your accomplishments past and future, and of the amazing young adults you have both become. Know that she is with you always and that her positive light shines in both of you.

Judy Dooley

June 20, 2018

It's hard to express how saddened I am to have lost this dear friend. My heart goes out to her family--she is gone too soon. Virginia and I worked together in Executive Education many years ago, and we enjoyed many happy lunch dates over the years since then. I was honored to have attended her defense of her Ph.D. dissertation and can say, not only was she remarkably intelligent, she was also a particularly warm, caring woman. Virginia touched my life and I will always carry memories of her in my heart.

Julia Jackson

June 19, 2018

I was fortunate to work down the hall from Virginia, also in the College of Engineering, and we did a number of lunches together . We commiserated when her black retriever died, and a couple years later when mine did. We compared notes about our children -- as high school athletes competing at states, and comparing and choosing a college, and later, becoming vegan. We discussed our spouses, world travel and language, discounts when flying in and out of Toronto. I even got tips about being a tourist in Indianapolis. Oh, and food. She gave me my favorite recipe for leek potato soup. And, most of all, Virginia inspired me to simplify and live with less stuff, after first she moved and downsized, and then we did. I will treasure my memories with her.

Amy Gillett

June 15, 2018

Virginia was a lovely woman and a great friend. She was so passionate about her work in teaching and instructional design and social issues. She always stood up for the underdog and spoke her mind.

I truly enjoyed collaborating with her (she was insightful, creative, and dedicated), playing tennis with her (she was much better than me but was so gracious in chasing after my errant shots!), and most of all having long conversations with her. She had a wonderful perspective on life and always maintained a great attitude. I will forever be inspired by her.

My condolences to her family. She spoke of her children often and with tremendous pride. Your recent family trips together brought her great joy.

Liz Fisher

June 15, 2018

Michi and Aki, my deepest sympathies. Your mom was so positive, friendly and always had a great attitude. We could be down 0-5 with the score at 0-40 and she’d still have belief that we could pull out the set! I have seen these wonderful attributes in you both. She was so proud of the two of you and would always beam when talking about you. She made this world a much better place. She’ll be forever in our hearts at Chippewa.

Susan Montgomery

June 14, 2018

Virginia was such a lovely, generous lady. She loved you kids so much, showed me all the photos from your trip to Morocco, and was so delighted that she was able to see Aki graduate, proud of how great you both were doing. Having lost my mom to cancer when I was in my 20s my heart goes to you, Michi and Aki, and to your family. Such a reminder to appreciate every day we have with our loved ones...