Dr. Ajakai Jaya (formerly Hassler) passed away Thursday, April 27, 2017, at her home in Powell, Wyoming. Our community has suffered a huge loss.
Ajakai was an outstanding therapist, coach, mentor and friend. As a counselor, she fought to help her clients establish healthy patterns of living. She was a fierce protector and advocate who stood firmly “in your corner.” She loved those she served, especially “her kids” and continued to proudly watch over their lives long after they left her care. To quote, “whether I am with a student, trainee, or client I know I am most privileged to be with them on their journey.”
Ajakai loved meeting new people, hearing their story and being a friend to everyone. She will be missed not just by clients and their families but by everyone she met. No one was a stranger or insignificant to her.
Dr. Jaya began her 44-year mental health career in her adolescence, serving as a youth director for disadvantaged teens. She earned her doctorate degree in Child Development and Family Relations from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. She was an Approved Supervisor and Clinical Fellow (22 years) in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She taught in multiple universities in the United States, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. She has served as a counselor throughout her life, finally in private practice, Powell and Cody, Wyoming, since 1997. She authored three textbooks, five self-help books and published several articles.
Ajakai was a very talented and prolific artist. She saw beauty in everything and had an unfettered ability to recreate it. Her award winning work spans multiple genres and is coveted by all.
Renown for her great love of animals, Ajakai’s spare time was spent in making and donating bracelets, contributing significantly to rescue organizations throughout the world. She included animals in her therapy work.
Ajakai is survived by her clients, her supervisees, her dogs, her horses, her friends, her colleagues and her art. She has led a life of service and will be greatly missed. It was an honor to work with her and know her and our lives are all richer for the experience.
A Celebration of Life is planned at a later date.