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WRITING SAMPLES

Fictitious Obituaries

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Toni was born into the loving family of Atlanta socialites, Sissy and Anthony Randolph. Even as a small child Toni was a hit at the big parties in Buckhead, many of which her mother spearheaded. Growing up in this affluent, progressive social group, Toni learned many of the skills she needed to become a successful businesswoman.

 

After attending the Atlanta Girl’s School, Toni did undergraduate studies in business at Howard University, rubbing elbows with other up and coming professional women. After finishing at Howard in 1990, Toni returned to Atlanta for two years to work in marketing for Coca Cola. When it became clear that Toni had exceptional potential, Coca Cola paid for her to attend the MBA program at Emory University, while continuing to work part-time with the company. Following completion of her MBA, Toni and several of her Emory friends decided to explore the world, all seeking jobs in high tech in the San Francisco Bay Area. Toni was drawn to Google, joining the team that would eventually develop the G Suite for education. Toni remained at Google until she entered hospice care in late 2020.

 

Toni had a great love for the outdoors and traveled the full length of the west coast, following her passion for hiking into the mountains and along the ocean. One of Toni’s favorite memories was the four days she and friends spent hiking the Lost Coast in Humboldt County. She described that experience as “hiking through heaven.”

 

Toni also loved her life in San Francisco and enjoyed all the city had to offer, from dining at great restaurants, weekly forays to museums and musical entertainment at the Top of the Mark to people watching in North Beach. She loved a great cup of cappuccino, picking up fresh Dungeness crab at the corner market and a morning walk through the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Toni especially loved her Inner Sunset neighborhood and had mapped out how she would continue to live there even in her old age.

 

Sadly, Toni was not able to live the long life she had imagined, succumbing to breast cancer on January 26, 2021 at the age of 54. As she neared the end, Toni was surrounded by colleagues from Google and by friends from her close-knit neighborhood, all of whom coordinated schedules to see that Toni always had a familiar face by her side during that last month of her life. Toni’s friends were her family.

 

Toni’s ashes will be returned to Atlanta where a small family-only funeral will be held on February 2, 2021. Google is sponsoring a memorial service for Toni which will take place fall of 2021. Condolences to Toni’s family may be submitted to: legacy.com/toni.randolph.

Toni Randolph

Born: 3/29/1967

 

Atlanta, GA

 

Died: 1/26/2021

 

San Francisco, CA

Robert Samuel Lernhardt was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Bluma and Ben Lernhardt and was part of an extended Jewish family connected to the Rodfei Zedek congregation on the south side of the city. Robert’s father was a cantor at the synagogue and his mother a professor of religious studies at the University of Chicago. Bob spent much of his childhood wandering the campus at U. of C., often frequenting the Oriental Institute, an archaeological museum on campus. Bob, in fact, loved all the museums in Chicago, and procured yearly passes to each and every one of them. Not a week passed when Bob could not be found at the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute, the Field Museum or the Adler Planetarium. If relatives came to town, Bob was the one who took everyone on museum tours. He knew every major exhibit and kept a calendar of all the touring ones and did whatever he could to rub elbows with the curators.

 

It was no surprise to anyone that once Bob finished high school at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, he would go on to study archaeology and anthropology at the University of Michigan. Bob spent six years at U. of M., going straight from his B.S. into the master’s program. It was during his master’s studies that Bob met the love of his life, art student Siobhan Merkley. Siobhan could often be found sketching archaeological artifacts that were on display in Bob’s department and the two finally struck up a conversation after continually bumping into each other on campus.

 

Only months after meeting, Bob and Siobhan went back to Chicago to get married, having recently discovered they were pregnant with their first child. Siobhan’s parents came up from Asheville, North Carolina and the couple were married at reform synagogue, KAM Isiah Israel. Siobhan loved the rituals and traditions of the Jewish wedding and family life, though her parents found both the big city and this new religious culture a bit of a shock. Regardless, everyone celebrated Bob and Siobhan's union and sent the couple off in style to their new life and home in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

And it was in St. Paul that Bob and Siobhan resided for the remainder of their lives. Bob went on to complete a PhD in anthropology from University of Minnesota and then became head curator for the Science Museum of Minnesota. Siobhan continued her work as an artist, while also raising their three children: Rachel, Irene and Neal.

 

Bob and Siobhan enjoyed a rich life in St. Paul. Their household was full of music, art and science, along with a menagerie of pets. On winter days, Bob and Siobhan found a quiet reprieve snow shoeing through the woods behind their house and in the spring and summer were avid gardeners. All of their children went on to attend University of Minnesota and continued to live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with their own children.

 

Siobhan preceded Bob in death by just one year. It was a very lonely year for Bob, and his children imagine that he was relieved to have so soon joined his partner in the afterlife. Bob is survived by his three children and his many grandchildren:  Amy, Theo, Ben, Sarah, Emily, Lauren, Michael, Leslie, David and Brian.

 

A small, family-only funeral will be held for Bob at Mount Zion Temple on 2/11/2021. Bob will be buried at the Lernhardt family plot in Highland Park, Illinois and a memorial service for extended family in Chicago will be held at Rodfei Zedek Congregation in March, date TBD. Donations in Bob’s name may be made to the Jewish National Fund.

Robert Lernhardt

Born: 6/21/1936

Chicago, IL

Died: 2/4/2021

St. Paul, MN

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Bella Marie Jameson passed away on 1/3/20 after a year-long battle with leukemia.

 

Bella was a beautiful girl, full of life, humor and sweetness. She enjoyed being on the swim team and excelled at backstroke, spent untold hours socializing with friends through social media, disliked math (but excelled at it nonetheless), loved to write and was a very gifted artist. Many friends and family enjoy framed copies of her artwork in their homes, all of which she gifted to them at birthdays and Christmas. Bella was very proud of her artwork putting in time on it every day, even as she was fading from her illness.

 

And Bella was a wonderful daughter and sister, who could make her family laugh with her clever (and spot-on) observations and antics. When a close family friend brought around their naughty dog and it proceeded to chew up the living room rug, 4-year old Bella proclaimed to all that the dog was “the bad kind of smart.” The favorite Bella story, however, was when she couldn’t be found and all manner of friends and neighbors were engaged to comb the neighborhood looking for her. After an hour of frantic searching, her brother noticed a light under the pantry door and lo, and behold, there was Bella, devouring a large bowl of fresh figs picked from the backyard tree. She hadn’t wanted to share them, so she hid in the pantry to enjoy them undisturbed. No punishment was doled out, as the relief at finding her unharmed (and well nourished) was so great that all her mother could do was laugh and cry tears of joy.

 

Bella’s short life burned bright and she will be remembered with deep love by those who have survived her and who knew her best: mother and father Catherine and Ben Jameson, big brother Emmett, her maternal grandparents Larry and Louise Hinton and paternal grandfather Charles Jameson, her aunt and uncle, Ashley and Dave Hinton, and their children and her cousins Trey, Joshua, Essie and Melissa. Bella’s passing was preceded by that of her paternal grandmother Diana Jameson. Bella also leaves behind dear childhood friends Melissa, Kara, Raley, Dennis and Amber.

 

Bella's parents ask that you donate to the trust established in her name: BellaTrust.com. Proceeds will go to the art program at Bella’s school, Redwood Heights Elementary. Due to Covid-19, funeral services are restricted to immediate family only. The Jameson family looks forward to celebrating Bella’s life with the community in the fall of 2021, date TBD.

Bella Marie Jameson

Born: 4/10/2009

Sacramento, CA

Died: 1/3/2020

Sacramento, CA

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Where to start with this colorful and well-loved character, Samantha Anne Ingraham...

 

 “Sam,” as everyone called her, had a personality that wouldn’t quit. Sam was funny, outspoken, pragmatic and she had strong opinions when it came to politics and sports. But Sam was also incredibly kind and generous, striving to make everyone around her feel happy and well cared for. Sam loved to cook, to bird-watch and to take hikes in the woods on her property. She did not shy away from hard work and thought nothing of spending hours on the tractor or taking apart the underside of a sink to clear a drain. If she didn't know how to fix a thing, she figured it out, much to the dismay of many of the repair folks in town.

 

These personality traits, combined with Sam’s penchant for music, children and teaching, were a perfect combination, culminating in her successful 35-year career as a music educator. Sam tirelessly passed on her love of music to children of all ages, through private lessons, community and school ensembles, music camps, and through her work as a band director. And Sam graced many professional music ensembles with her legendary double-reed playing (oboe, English horn and bassoon) and her ability to exquisitely turn a musical phrase.

 

Sam also loved animals, domesticated and wild. Though Sam and her husband Gerry had no children of their own, together they took care of the many deer, geese, wild turkeys and song birds that came to their property in the woods, as well as doting on their beautiful and funny black labs, Sonja and Tonja. Sam dearly loved her husband, often describing their life together as “domestic bliss,” and meaning it wholeheartedly. In Gerry, Sam had truly found her soulmate.

 

Though Sam liked to imagine herself a “native” Michigander, her roots were in rural central Illinois, the daughter of farmers, Gretchen and Bram DeVries. Sam was the black sheep of the family, pursuing academics and classical music while her siblings continued on with the traditions of the family farm. Having graduated at the top of her high school class in 1980, Sam was given a full scholarship to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she completed both a B.S. and M.A. in music. Sam went on to work as a band director in Ohio and in the suburban Detroit area for nearly 10 years, eventually settling into a career of giving private woodwind lessons (from her renowned music studio) and doing freelance performing with various chamber music ensembles.

 

On June 12, 2020, Samantha passed away following complications caused by Covid-19.  She was preceded in death by her parents Gretchen and Bram DeVries and her sister Hilda, by the deaths of husband Gerry’s parents, Gina and Gerald Ingraham, and by the deaths of her dear canine companions, Sonja and Tonja. Samantha is survived by her husband Gerry and his brother Harold, by her sister and brother in-law Sarah and Thomas Hardy and by her brother Luke. She is also survived by her much-loved nieces and nephew Tiffany, Crystal and Scott Hardy.

 

Samantha’s burial will be held on June 16, 2020 at the Ludington cemetery and is open only to immediate family. Sam requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the National Audubon Society: https://act.audubon.org/a/donate.

Samantha Ingraham

Born: 8/18/1962

Wilber Heights, IL

Died: 6/12/20

Ludington, MI

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Lillian Arlene Wong, mother, daughter and doctor, passed away on November 4, 2020 after complications from a head injury sustained in a car accident. Dr. Wong died in the same hospital, Virginia Mason Hospital, at which she was an attending physician in anesthesiology for nearly two decades.

 

In addition to Lillian’s exceptional skills as a medical professional, Lillian was a devoted parent, always taking time from her busy schedule to help her children with homework and to attend their sporting events and concerts. Lillian's partner in raising her children, was her mother, June. The two of them saw Lillian’s three children through violin lessons, calculus, teenage heartbreaks, tennis tournaments, medical school and finally on to medical practices of their own. Lillian and June were a formidable team who more than made up for the lack of a father in the household.

 

In her capacity as an anaesthesiologist, Lillian worked alongside some of Seattle’s top surgeons. At Virginia Mason, Lillian also mentored dozens of doctors who would go on to top positions around the country. Thanks to the hard work of her parents, young Lillian had been able to attend Santa Clara University's pre-med program and then University of California, San Francisco for medical school. After her father passed away and Lillian had completed her medical studies, Lillian and her mother moved to the Seattle area where they have remained all of these years.

 

Lillian loved her life and especially relished time she spent with her children and grandchildren. She was preceded in death by the passing of her father George Wong and is survived by her mother Lucy, her children Beau, Harry and Megan and her grandchildren Ellie, Will and Julie. Lillian will also be greatly missed by her colleagues at Virginia Mason Hospital and by her patients.

 

A small funeral for immediate family only will be held on November 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. A memorial service will also be held for Lillian at the hospital chapel on a date TBD.

Lillian Wong

Born: 10/10/1950

San Jose, CA

Died: 11/4/2020

Seattle, WA

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Ruth Elizabeth (Hardy) Walberg, 87, of St. Louis, Missouri passed away on May 5, 2020. Ruth Hardy grew up on the outskirts of St. Joseph, Missouri, on a small farm and married childhood sweetheart, Ben Walberg, after both completed degrees at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Upon graduation, the couple moved to St. Louis, both taking jobs as clerks at the law library at Washington University. Ben completed his juris doctorate there, beginning a lifelong career in law, as Ruth established their household and raised their children, Alex, Mary Ellen and Jon.

 

After seeing her children off to college, Ruth embarked on her own career, starting up Clayton’s landmark party supply store, Party Town, in 1975. For 35 years (and with daughter Mary Ellen as partner), Ruth’s store and event planning business became pillars of the St. Louis social scene. To this day, Party Town sits at the corner of Oak and Jefferson, its original location.

 

Ruth is remembered by friends and family for her fabulous parties, and also for the personal attention she gave to everyone in her life. Ruth was a great listener and problem-solver and many came to her for advice and help, which Ruth doled out generously. Ruth’s children loved her sense of humor as well as her hard-headed opinions on everything from what car to buy to politics. Ruth also had a soft side, taking time at every holiday to help decorate and provide treats for the local veteran’s home and for the nursing care facility in her neighborhood.

 

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Ben, by her sister Sherry Anne Romney and by her daughter Mary Ellen Bauer. Ruth is survived by sons Alexander and Jonathan Walberg and grandchildren Joanna, Haley, Barrett and Alex Jr. Ruth will also be greatly missed by adopted family members and long-time neighbors George and Emily Amherst and their children Amanda and Stephen.

 

It was Ruth’s dying wish that in lieu of flowers for her funeral, live plants be purchased for residents at the Livingston Nursing Care Facility and the Missouri Veterans Home. Friends and family wishing to donate plants in Ruth’s name can call Bonnie at Mission Nursery at (314) 779-2299.

 

Funeral services will be held on May 10, 2020 @ First Lutheran Church. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, funeral services are limited to immediate family members only.

Ruth Walberg

Born: 3/29/1942

St. Joseph, MO

Died: 5/5/2020

St. Louis, MO

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On September 3, 2020, Miami’s Public Defenders Office and the Juvenile Detention Center lost a champion for children’s rights in George Christopher Theos. Mr. Theos worked tirelessly for these agencies on behalf of underprivileged children for nearly 28 years, having done 10 years of similar work in Wichita, Kansas prior to his appointment in Miami.

 

Mr. Theos was born in Trenton, New Jersey and received his B.S. from Rutgers University (Phi Beta Kappa). He went on to receive his J.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1985, where he was on law review. Upon completion of his J.D., Mr. Theos passed the Illinois bar exam and subsequently took his first job at Marz, Baker and Leeds in Chicago. While at Marz, Mr. Theos met his wife (and fellow lawyer), Shannon Gruber. Several years later, the two moved to Shannon’s hometown of Wichita, where both established themselves in the legal community and started a family. It was in Wichita that Mr. Theos began a specialty representing children through the public defender’s office. Within a few years Mr. Theos became the elected head of the public defender’s office.

 

The cold winters in Wichita drew Mr. Theos and his wife to Florida every December and after numerous trips, the two made the decision to move their law practices and family to the Miami region. Ms. Gruber established a family law practice, while Mr. Theos became a fixture at the Miami Juvenile Detention Center and shortly thereafter at the Miami Public Defender’s Office, specializing in children’s cases. After 8 years, Mr. Theos made the decision to run for the position of head of the Public Defender’s office, winning handily. This was a position he held until just 5 years prior to his death.

 

Mr. Theos’ influence on Florida’s legal community extended well beyond his position in Miami. He served on the board for the Florida Bar Association, for nearly a decade was president of the Children’s Legal Fund, taught night classes at Naples Junior College and acted as an advisor to the Governor’s Office of the State of Florida. In addition, Mr. Theos mentored over a hundred students, all of whom worked as interns in his public defender’s office.

 

Outside of his work in law, Mr. Theos enjoyed a rich social life. He and his wife were avid golfers, belonged to the Miami Yacht Club, and were members of numerous charitable organizations in the Miami area. Mr. Theo’s warm personality, insightful mind and self-deprecating sense of humor made him a welcome addition to every social scene, as did his generous financial contributions. Mr. Theos leaves behind a multitude of good friends and business colleagues who will miss him dearly.

 

Mr. Theos is survived by his wife, Shannon Gruber, and sons Ben and Steve Theos, as well as his brother Archie. He is preceded in death by his parents George and Stephanie Theos.

 

A memorial service will be scheduled for fall of 2021 when concern for Covid-19 has lessened. Mr. Theos’ family has asked that contributions in his honor be made to the ACLU of Florida: https://www.aclufl.org/.

George Theos

Born: 9/22/1957

Trenton, NJ

Died: 9/10/2020

Miami, FL

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Lawrence Charles Eber was born in Houghton, Michigan to Earl and Grace Eber during a winter with record snowfall. With roads closed, Grace was forced to give birth to Larry at home with only her husband at her side. Earl met the challenge and their strong, healthy son came into the world without a hitch.

 

Earl ran a hardwood saw mill, serving lumber operators throughout the upper Peninsula, and it was in that setting that Larry worked throughout his childhood. The hard work and harsh winters of northern Michigan helped forge Larry’s tenacity, which served him well at highly competitive Boston University and Harvard, culminating in a PhD in educational psychology from the later.

 

Larry’s considerable academic talents found their best outlets in scholarly writing and in training teachers and educational psychologists. For nearly 45 years Larry’s students found their way into faculty positions at premiere educational institutions following their studies with him. Others were influenced by his numerous articles and eight books, which covered a wide range of topics from the challenges of early childhood education to the accommodation of neurodivergent individuals in mainstream academic settings. Much of Larry’s research was funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

After growing up an only child, Larry sought out a more lively household for himself, bringing into the world five children: Earl, Sarah, Rachel, Debra and Andrew. Earl and Sarah are children from his first marriage with Rebecca Sanders Eber, whom he lost to a car accident in 1970. Within a year of this tragic accident, Larry met Andrea Paul, who took up the mantle of mother to his two children and who then blessed him with Rachel, Debbie and Andy.

 

In 1976, Larry and Andrea moved their brood to Winston, where he took on the position of head of the education department at Huntington College, teaching a wide range of courses between administrative duties. Larry remained in this position for the remainder of his career, retiring in 2006.

 

All of Larry’s children graduated from Winston High School and most went on to follow in their father’s footsteps with doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines. His wife, Andrea, became a registered nurse and worked for 28 years at St. Stephen’s Hospital in the pediatrics unit.

 

Larry was preceded in death by his wives Rebecca and Andrea and survived by his five children and his grandchildren: Oliver, Cheryl, Angie, Todd, Toni, Ben and Edie.

 

A Celebration of Life is planned for fall of 2020. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, only immediate family may attend the funeral to be held on May 14, 2020. Flowers may be sent to Grace Methodist Church. Donations may be sent to the scholarship fund set up in Larry’s name at Huntington College. For further details, visit: www.larryslegacy.com.

Dr. Lawrence Eber, PhD

Born: 2/17/1942

Houghton, MI

Died: 5/11/2020

Winston, NJ

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Juliette Marie Frazier was my mother and the brightest light in my world. She died this November after an aggressive recurrence of her breast cancer. If I had known I would lose her so early in my life, I would have found a way to spend every day with her. Her love, gentle guiding influence, joyful example and her confidence in me were just a few of the precious contributions she made to my life.

 

My mother was a remarkable friend to those with whom she worked, to our neighbors and to the many folks she met through her prodigious socializing. Juliette loved to dance, enjoyed long hikes into the hills, savored an overpriced coffee on Sunday mornings and liked to spend evenings cracking up at dating profiles with her friend Diana. Those evenings typically involved more than a little sauvignon blanc and the two of them would go through a box of tissues from laughing so hard.

 

My mother had many exceptional talents which she successfully applied toward providing for our household. She was a great commercial artist, produced highly regarded fine art pieces and was adept at designing and organizing commercial retail spaces. In addition, she was a skilled businesswoman, doing all of her own sales and marketing. She set a high bar for all who worked for her and enjoyed running her business in a manner she felt met her standards. Many businesses in Boise benefitted from her artful signage, beautifully laid out retail spaces and branded art montages.

 

Juliette approached her job as my mother with conviction. For the majority of my childhood, ours was a household of two and my mother played the role of mother, father, auntie and grandparent since most on our small family tree were deceased or living in Canada. I did not suffer for this as my mother surrounded me with fabulous friends who acted as extended family. She also saw to my enjoying the benefits of years of dance lessons, art camps, vacations to Mexico and girls’ days out visiting thrift stores and finding great noodle shops.

Juliette was preceded in death by her mother and father, Pam and Pete Frazier and her birth mother Janet Beckham. She is survived her daughter Catherine, her sister Anne and brother Jon, as well as her ex-husband, Robert Costello. Juliette leaves behind many dear friends, namely Diana, Randy, Jim, Christie and Ella.

 

A celebration of Juliette's life is anticipated for fall of 2021 when the concerns of the pandemic have lessened.

Juliette Frazier

Born: 8/16/1966

Denver, CO

Died: 11/9/2020

Boise, ID

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Chef Clarke Anderson passed away unexpectedly after contracting Covid-19 in August. He had been hospitalized for nearly four weeks and never recovered after being intubated in early September. Chef Anderson was renowned in the Monterey area for having elevated Chez Michelle to a 2-star Michelin rated restaurant. Chef was also well known for producing exquisite private dinners at many of the region’s wineries.

 

Prior to settling in the Monterey area with his wife Victoria and son, Zach, Chef Anderson was a fixture in the restaurant culture of Napa Valley, having worked for Thomas Keller and as executive chef for all three of the Napa Valley Auberge properties. Chef Anderson’s passion for seafood and the coastal setting of Monterey were deciding factors in his decision to permanently settle in this region. 

 

Chef Anderson’s unique dishes blended traditional techniques of his cordon bleu training with cutting edge variations he developed while working in Seattle, Napa Valley and San Francisco. Chef Anderson revered the distinctive ingredients from each of these regions and took joy in creating dishes that showcased them.

 

It is with great sadness that the management and staff at Chez Michelle say goodbye to their dear friend and talented colleague. And our most heartfelt sympathy goes out to Chef Anderson's family at this difficult time.

Clarke Anderson

Born: 10/5/1973

Portland, OR

Died: 9/11/2020

Monterey, CA

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Our beautiful Sophie was the love of our lives. Every morning Sophie greeted us with doggie kisses and cuddles. During naps she kept us warm by snuggling behind our knees and in the evenings she went from one lap to the next, making sure no one was forgotten. Whenever returning to the house, we were greeted by her sweet prancing and bumps on the leg. And she kept all of us in good shape with long walks around the neighborhood where she enjoyed every scent and sound.

 

We will remember Sophie’s beautiful brown eyes, her thick silky fur and her wet kisses, her indignant scolding of all delivery people, her joyful ripping around the backyard and her afternoon naps in the sunshine. She was a wonderful puppy and we miss her every day.

 

In Sophie’s memory, please consider adopting a loving family companion from your local animal shelter:  www.ascpa.org.

Sophie

Born: 2005

San Rafael, CA

Died: 2020

San Rafael, CA

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This week, our beloved fur baby, Jasper, was laid to rest after a long bout of feline leukemia. Jasper brightened every day with his antics, his relentless need for attention and his beautiful purring. He loved to be petted and was always at the ready to clean out anyone’s ears, should the need arise. And although Jasper was a little put out when the human babies arrived, he adapted and soon figured out how to cuddle with them, too, all while maintaining his gentle demeanor (and not getting crushed). Jasper’s intuition was keen and with the little ones, no claws or warning nips were ever administered.

 

Those who knew Jasper loved him. He brought a smile to our faces a hundred times a day (which adds up to 620,500 smiles over his 17 years). His absence has left a cold, empty spot on our laps.

 

Please join us in celebrating Jasper’s life with a donation to the Middletown Humane Society, where our love affair began:  www.middletownhs.org.

Jasper

Born: 2003

Middletown, NY

Died: 2020

Middletown, NY

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