We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Robinson Funeral Home
When he died last month at the age of 40, Rashid Ali Mathus had squeezed more life into that time than most people twice his age.
Rashid was born on Aug. 10, 1981, in New York City. He lived in Newark and Princeton and attended Princeton public schools Community Park Elementary, John Witherspoon Middle School, and Princeton High School, where he made many of his lifelong friendships.
Rashid was transcendent. Resourceful, gregarious, curious and charismatic, he was popular in any circle he traveled in. His family, friends and educators fed his curiosity about social justice, religion, music, literature and culture. On any given day, he could be participating in a neighborhood canvas, singing karaoke, roasting a pig, engaging in political debates of the day, babysitting, dog sitting, and above all, jumping at the opportunity to help friends in need. You could just as likely find him in a Washington’s dive bar as you could a Michelin restaurant, on the softball fields of The National Mall or at his computer playing World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons.
He was a bridge builder who brought diverse people together in his personal life and in his work. Growing up, he was a self-taught computer genius, acting as the de-facto IT guy for his friends and their families. In high school he put his first of many PCs together for himself from spare parts.
Rashid’s first job was working for a construction contractor where he learned carpentry. The experience also instilled in him a certain discipline. That discipline, together with his knack for teaching himself various skills and his natural curiosity, enabled him to explore and master many skills and interests – whether it was computers, cooking, or Tottenham Fandom. After that initial work experience, whatever he applied himself to, he got really good at. Nobody knows how Rashid had the time to explore his many interests, master so many skills, or watch so many movies and television programs. It’s rumored he reached the bottom of Netflix.
After high school, while taking classes at University of Maryland, Rashid worked with LSG Strategies for nearly a decade. Eventually, he started a firm called IV Broadcast providing phone support for unions, campaigns, and other progressive causes.
When you met Rashid for the first time he would look deep into your eyes and give you a warm, toothy, ear-to-ear smile. He would greet you with an endearing baritone and find the perfect way to disarm even the most reserved person. It’s cliché to say Rashid’s smile lit up a room – but it was truly infectious. He was funny as hell and his storytelling would often end in the kind of belly laughing that still hurts the next day.
Rashid had a natural way with children; he loved kids and would always play with them. As a young man, he volunteered in an orphanage in Bahia, Brazil, where the devastating effects of the poverty he witnessed left an indelible impression on him. The experience fueled his passion for social justice.
He was facile with languages and his understanding of the intricacies of basketball and love for the Wizards would impress the most committed fans of the game. He drew a lot of pleasure writing scouting reports for a Wizards online community.
Rashid liked to eat – Soul food in Southeast DC one day, Jose Andre tapas downtown the next. He was a skilled cook and he took it seriously – whether it was trying new recipes, roasting a full pig on a backyard spit, entering rib competitions, or cutting perfectly cubed potatoes for breakfast hash browns. But – and this has to be said – you’d wait forever to eat because time was a construct when it came to his meal prep.
He is survived by his parents, Judith Mathus and Ebrahim Ali; his siblings Zahid Ali and Katija Ali; and innumerable friends and loved ones.
Friends, colleagues and family are invited to share stories, photos and mementos, as well as participate in a musical reflection at the conclusion of the celebration (drums and instruments welcome). As we celebrate, please wear a mask. RSVP: https://bit.ly/3PZ1Sr8 (Link is below.)
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to CASA for Children of DC. (Link is below.)
CASA for Children of DC
220 I St., NE Ste 285, Washington DC 20002