Utech, Jenny Lee, 56, of Somerville, Massachusetts, died surrounded by family on Saturday, November 16, 2019 in Roslindale, Massachusetts at the home of her sister. She had bravely battled ovarian cancer, first diagnosed in late 2017. Jenny was a loving and loyal daughter, sister and aunt, a faithful and dedicated friend, and a passionate, esteemed colleague in her work. Jenny was compassionate, fierce, intelligent and insightful, and she put her many talents to work for justice and in service of others. Born on November 30, 1962, in Seguin, Texas, Jenny grew up in the Rochester, New York area, where she learned to play violin and love classical music. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in Massachusetts. While completing a Master’s degree in Spanish at Harvard University, Jenny worked with the Central American refugee community in the Boston area, where she was a beloved English teacher at Centro Presente and a dedicated participant in the Cambridge - El Salvador Sister City project. Later she brought her gift for teaching and training to union workers through the Worker Education Project at SEIU Local 285 and other union initiatives. During those years she was most proud of producing Working Writers, a collection of essays written by hospital workers she taught. In recent years Jenny worked for Partners in Health (PIH), where she led a team in developing trainings for community health workers in Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Peru, Sierra Leone and Liberia. During that time, she most loved mentoring her team and having the opportunity to pilot trainings in country. She was also proud to help orient US healthcare professionals who travelled to Africa during the Ebola epidemic. After leaving PIH she completed her Master’s degree in Curriculum Development at UMass Boston and worked as a training development consultant. For many years Jenny was active in service and leadership at First Church in Somerville, where she was loved, admired and respected. Family was Jenny’s greatest love, and her family will always remember the tremendous love, attention and energy Jenny dedicated to family, family trips and celebrations, playing with her nephew and nieces, and supporting everyone in her family in so many ways. Jenny was preceded in death by her father, George Walter Utech, and is survived by her mother, Krestie Lee Utech, her siblings, Anna Lee Utech (John Jacobs), Dan George Utech (Andrea Palm), Jon Eric Utech (Kathy), and her nephew and nieces, Christopher, Joy, Emily and Lee. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 7, 3:00 PM, at First Church Somerville, 89 College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in memory of Jenny Utech to her church of many years, First Church Somerville UCC.
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