JENNIFER LEE PARNELL July 30, 1954 - November 16, 2012 Jennifer was the adored wife of Richard Dickinson and extraordinary mother of Jay. Her beloved brothers Mike and Murray (and his wife Victoria) Parnell will miss their big sister terribly, as will her brother-in-law John Seagram (and wife Gwen). She was the proud aunt of Robert and Bradley Parnell and Julianna Seagram. With great caring, she was godmother to Alison Pitfield and Graham Burton. Jennifer was the first born child to Garth Parnell (died 2002) and Joyce Dewart Parnell (died 2001). She grew up in Peterborough and was very proud of her family roots in the community. She attended Queen Mary Public School and PCVS High School, where she excelled both academically and athletically. From there, Jennifer went to Queen's University, where she earned an Honours Bachelor of Commerce and then an MBA, focusing on Marketing and Finance. She put these skills to good use over the next 20 years working in marketing and advertising at prominent companies that included Warner Lambert, Standard Brands, Nabisco, American Express as well as Leo Burnett, Case Associates and DDB Needham. Jennifer loved to travel and in addition to many interesting and exciting holidays with friends (of particular note was a trip to Israel and Europe in 1972 where she survived a terrorist attack on the Tel Aviv airport), she took a sabbatical to travel in Asia and the South Pacific where the beaches of Thailand and Bali became favourite destinations. Upon her return to Canada, she resumed her career, moving to the not-for-profit sector where she worked for Easter Seals, FACE and most recently for 12 years as Executive Director of Raising the Roof. Jennifer treasured her family above all else. She and Richard had a unique and special bond and she loved Jay with all her heart. She had the rare ability to make and keep friends for a lifetime and would introduce them to each other to create an even larger circle. Jennifer loved food and this was most often the means by which she kept in touch. She entertained at home (annual wine tasting, with Bob providing the wine list and Jennifer the hospitality) and ate out with friends...but only those willing to share! Sports were a big part of Jennifer's life and she met Richard at the Dunfield Club where they worked out and played squash. She loved to play tennis, cross country ski, and canoe and camp in Algonquin Park. Jennifer and Richard passed on their love of sports to Jay, who is an outstanding athlete in his own right. She was never happier than when she was cheering on one of Jay's baseball, hockey, basketball or football teams. Many of the parents and coaches she met became close friends. Jennifer's passing has left a hole in the lives of so many that will be impossible to fill. Please join her family for a celebration of her life and friendship at Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Avenue West (2 lights west of Yonge St.) on Sunday, November 25, 2012 in Toronto at 3 p.m. with visitation one hour prior from 2-3 p.m. Following the service, a reception will take place at the funeral home. Please consider a donation in Jennifer's memory to Raising the Roof (www.raisingtheroof.org)
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Published in the Toronto Star from Nov. 23 to Nov. 24, 2012