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Published in Legacy on October 1, 2023
Jennifer Chavez, 54, of Swampscott passed away peacefully Monday, September 25th 2023 after 18 months of living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Honoring her wish, she remained in Hospice care at home surrounded by beloved family and friends. She wanted all her family and friends to know that she “feels so lucky to have been so well loved”. Jennifer is survived by her children Julian Chavez, Isabella Chavez and Julian’s wife Courtney, her husband Robert Chavez, her parents Stephen Smith and Patricia Wepprecht-Smith, and her brothers Paul Smith and Adam Smith
Jennifer grew up on the shore in Toms River, NJ and loved living by the ocean in Swampscott and Marblehead. Jennifer’s passions in life were her children, her friends, music and poetry, the arts, traveling, and a lifelong interest in religious history and spiritual study. Jennifer loved her children, family, and friends dearly. Her kindness and compassion were boundless. Through her endless devotion to her children she sought to cultivate that kindness, compassion, and love for all in them. Jennifer would never hesitate to step in to help anyone who needed it whether through volunteer and charitable work, as a Girl Scout leader, as a tutor and teacher, or through musical practice.
A Latin teacher for over 15+ years, Jennifer taught at Beverly High School, Marblehead High School and most recently at Austin Preparatory School. Teaching Latin was one of her passions and she truly loved her students.
Throughout her life, Jennifer cultivated a deep spiritual practice and was both a Christian and member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Marblehead and an ordained lay Zen Buddhist practitioner with the Zen Center North Shore. One of the great joys of her life was being involved in church and sangha events, classes, and practices.
Two memorials are planned: a Zen Buddhist memorial with the Zen Center North Shore, Beverly MA and a Christian memorial at St. Andrew’s Epsicopal Church, Marblehead MA.
Jennifer strove to bring awareness to ALS and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, both of which she suffered from in recent years. In lieu of flowers, Jennifer’s wish was that donations be made to Compassionate Care ALS.
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