What do you remember about Jacqueline? Share your stories and photos here, and invite others to come share their memories.
Jacqueline (Sennott) Churchill, 62, died peacefully at home in Amherst, MA on July 26, 2020, after nearly three years of treatment for lung cancer.
Jackie grew up outside of Chicago, where her sister Jenny, eight years older, would play "school" with her and her other two sisters, Bonnie and Betsey. A lifelong love of reading was born, and she ultimately made a career of it, writing guides for teachers to help them inspire future generations of kids to love the written word as she did.
She once joked, "I have to say, I'm one of the best readers in the world." And with more typical modesty continued, "Not the best, but I'm up there."
Jackie moved to the city when she was 19, where she simultaneously took classes and counseled other students as part of the advisory office at DePaul University. There were also thrift stores to explore and bands to see and plenty of mascara. A friend recalls, "I didn't know if you were going to become a professor of Russian lit or a band manager."
She moved to Boston in 1982 where, she said, "my life really began." There were art projects, more thrift stores, and a series of temp jobs, one of which brought her together in 1984 with the love of her life, Andy, who started his job at that location on the very same day. Daily lunches in the park led to a whirlwind, seven-year courtship. They finally figured out what everyone else knew early on, and were married in 1991 (at the New England Aquarium, next to a flock of well-dressed penguins).
It was also in Boston where Jackie began her career in educational publishing, which she loved ("I'm always learning something new!") and continued until her illness forced her to quit in 2018.
After son Graham was born in 1993, they moved to Amherst, MA, where son Cal joined the family in 1996. She fell fiercely in love with being their mother, and couldn't have been prouder or happier to have them around.
Freelance writing, family trips, finding new ways of creating in knitting and gardening and photographs, supporting Andy's forays into local politics, and weekly trips to her beloved Brookfield Farm CSA - Jackie loved her life in Amherst and the close friends, old and new, she had around her.
Often found in her signature outfit of overalls and white t-shirt, perhaps accessorized with a scarf or shawl made by herself or one of her sisters, Jackie brought a much-admired sense of style to daily life. As one friend says, "She was always the most unpretentiously hip person in the room."
Her style was only exceeded by her substance. Keen intelligence and sharp wit, paired with a generous, warm way of making those around her feel welcome and appreciated. Curiosity, creativity, a sense of adventure, and a love of home. A refusal of sentimentality, but with utter delight in the joys of this world. And always laughter, laced through everything she did.
Perhaps the best way to remember her is to peruse her Instagram site, posted under the name @olegolly. (The name comes from one of her beloved books, Harriet the Spy, one of two books she reread numerous times throughout her life; the other being a dog-eared copy of the collected works of Dorothy Parker.)
Artful, witty, observant, creative, goofy, and warm, her posts show the many ways she appreciated the beauty of this world and the genuine connections she had to her people in it.
Jackie, your untimely passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts. But those hearts have grown so much bigger from loving you that just maybe we'll be okay.
In addition to the abovementioned family members, she is survived by her beloved mother Anita Sennott and her dear brother Tom Sennott, both of Port St. Lucie, FL.
Only family gatherings are planned for now. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Brookfield Farm CSA; info at https://www.brookfieldfarm.org/bfct
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