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1957 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
BRISSON, Jacqui Spent her last Saturday night doing what she had done so many times since contracting cancer in 2008: attending one of her childrens events. This one was the Senior Show at Wayland High School, where her youngest son, Evan, 17, was performing. It could have been an affair Derek, 23, her eldest, was Master of Ceremonies at, or a concert where son Jared, 20, was rapping. Jacqui never let cancer rule her life. She was always there for her kids. Born in Waterbury, CT, on March 14, 1957, Jacqui was the second child to Edward B. Griffin, a firefighter, and his beloved bride, Shirley. The Griffins were a loving, second generation Irish American couple who taught Jacqui, older brother Greg and younger sister Debbie about the importance of joy and dignity. Most of all, they underscored the pre-eminence of family. Jacqui was a sweet, fragile girl with golden hair and a tender smile. Greg, 10 years older, was playful and mischievous. He entertained the sisters with affectionate pranks and, their favorite at home endeavor: pillow fights. Debbie, though a year-and-a-half younger than Jacqui, was more the fireball and would shepherd Jacqui to the corner store to buy candy and gum. Theirs was a sisterhood that would grow richer and closer with each passing year. After graduating from Sacred Heart High School, a Catholic day school in Waterbury, Jacqui enrolled in Albertus Magnus College in nearby New Haven. Now, a strikingly beautiful young woman, Jacqui shed her shyness and set her sights on a more cosmopolitan life. Following her brother who moved to Boston to study law, Jacqui transferred to Boston College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1979 with a degree in sociology. For the next decade Jacqui worked in several businesses in sales. By the late 1980s she was a highly successful rep in the burgeoning high tech world for companies like Executone, IBM and JWP. In 1990, she married David Brisson, a Newton-born writer, then living in Brookline. Less than a year later, pregnant with Derek, Jacqui agreed to give up her career to be an at home mom. The couple moved to Wayland in 1991 when Derek was six-months old. There Jacqui entrenched herself in her home and community. In 1993, she gave birth to Jared, then Evan in 1996. With little time for herself, Jacqui spent the next decade or more devoting herself to her children. The Wayland Creative Preschool, which all three of her sons attended, was so impressed with Jacquis mothering skills, it asked her to join their staff. But Jacqui declined so she could continue to care for her own. She loved to cook elaborate, healthy meals and chauffeured her sons all over town, attending games, school events, etc. Most of all, she extended a gentle, loving touch that guided and comforted her kids to and through their young adult years. As her sons matured, Jacqui joined the Boston Children's Hospital League, an all-volunteer organization that raises funds for Boston Children's Hospital. She was actively involved in the League's annual Gala as the Bear Chair, responsible for selecting and presenting the Bear featured at each Gala, Family Day and other fundraising events. Jacqui adored flowers and served many years as a member of the Wayland Garden Club. She also supported children in Africa through Save the Children and ChildFund and funded many charities. In June 2008, with Derek and Jared in high school and Evan, in sixth grade, Jacqui was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma. After chemotherapy and radiation failed, Jacqui had a major life-changing surgery. Although doctors declared her cancer-free following it, the disease returned in 2012, creating a two-year ordeal of hospitalizations and a final surgery in May 2013. Through it all, Jacqui remembered the teaching of her parents strength, grace and dignity adding courage and determination to the mix. Well-coifed and still beautiful, Jacqui defied her illness, changing nothing no matter how weak or how much pain she suffered. Until her final three months, few could see any manifestations of her disease. She cooked for her children to the end, traveled and attended events, including last years Childrens Hospital Gala. Even on her last day, March 17, St. Patricks Day, Jacqui looked ahead to a family trip to New Orleans and a visit with Greg and his partner Susan Flynn in Key West. She was always looking to get better, always eyeing the future, always wanting and willing herself to live on. Jacqui died at Massachusetts General Hospital at 6:39 PM, suddenly and instantly from a massive loss of blood. She had just turned 57, Friday the 14th, and never saw it coming. With her hair combed and make up on, she was waiting for a visit from Derek, waiting to live more life and share more love. Jacqui is survived by her husband David, sons Derek, Jared and Evan; brother Greg Griffin and his partner Susan Flynn of Key West, FL; sister Deborah Pelletier, nephews, Daniel Pelletier, Scott Pelletier, Christopher Pelletier, and niece Emily Pelletier of Wolcott, CT. A memorial service will be held at 11 AM, Wednesday, March 26, at First Parish, 50 Cochituate Rd., Wayland, MA 01778. The Brisson family will host friends at the family home between 6 PM-9 PM, on March 26. To honor Jacqui, please make donations to Mass General Hospital Cancer Center. Checks may be made to Massachusetts General Hospital c/o Development Office, Attn: Jerome Shea, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1310, Boston, MA 02114. Donations may also be made to The Boston Children's Hospital League, 401 Park Drive, Suite 602, Boston, MA 02215 Attn: Jennifer Swanson. Arrangements entrusted to the care of the John C. Bryant Funeral Home of Wayland. For online condolences, please visit www.johncbryantfuneralhome.com
Published in The Boston Globe on Mar. 23, 2014
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