Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jackie van Leuven

by Ellen Crocker

Our friend and colleague Jackie van Leuven passed away on July 22 at the age of 82. She was a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, with a degree in fashion design. Her last position before she retired was with Levi Strauss, where she designed custom-fit jeans for women.

Jackie was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of 9. Because of her vigilance in managing this disease she outlived her estimated life expectancy by 40 years. And despite her health challenges, she lived life to the fullest.

In 1998 she moved to Bethel, where her life-long friend Marlene Engdahl had also retired. She was active in Senior College, in the Congregational Church, and in her neighborhood, where she visited and brought food to needy neighbors.

Jackie loved to travel and took numerous trips with her daughter Juliana and with a cousin. And in 2007 she joined a Senior College trip to Greece along with Ellen Crocker. She was an ongoing participant in the drawing and painting class with Suzanne Taylor. Suzanne writes, “Jackie was a faithful member of the Art Class since the beginning. Although she was already a professional artist, she remained modest about her accomplishments. In spite of her physical difficulties as time went on, she never gave up, and she was an inspiration to us all.”

Jackie is survived by her three children and three grand-children, a sister. a brother-in-law and son-in-law. A celebration of Jackie’s life was held at West Parish Congregational Church on August 6.

We will all miss her cheerful demeanor and her welcoming smile.

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