April Jane Nell (Voorhees) 1947 ~ 2007 Our friend April passed away this summer at her home in New York City after a long and heroic struggle with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinea, a rare blood cancer. In spite of her extremely painful condition, she maintained her faith and her sense of humor as long as humanly possible, and she made her own decisions to the very end. April was born in Seattle, Washington, but moved to Salt Lake City at the age of 10 with her mother and brother, Steven. After graduating from Olympus High School (where she was known as April Voorhees) she joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and was posted to Baltimore, Maryland. At the end of her two-year commitment to community service, she relocated to New York City and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to pursue her dream of acting on the stage. April made lifelong friends there, but decided to work on the administrative side of the theater industry. Early in her career she held positions at the Schubert Theater and at the Educational Theater Department of New York University. In the late 1970s, April became an assistant to the singer Tony Bennett, and when he moved his offices to Los Angeles, she spent a year there before electing to move back to her beloved New York. For several years, she was employed by the firm of Rollins and Joffe, an entertainment management and production company that represented such comedy luminaries as Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, and David Letterman. In the late 1980s, just after moving to a new position with another company, she was injured in a slip-and-fall accident. Sadly, the injury resulted in the development of RSD and ended her working life. For 20 years April fought the good fight against this little-known disease, exhausting all possibilities for relief. Two years ago she developed Waldenstrom's, the ultimate cause of her death. April leaves behind many friends and her devoted niece, Dawn Voorhees, of Denver, Colorado. At her request, no services were held. April was not saintly by any means, but she deserves to be remembered for her beautiful presence. Those wishing to make contributions in her memory are requested to contact either the Bing Center for Waldenstrom's Research, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, www.waldenstromsprogram.org or the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, P.O. Box 502, 99 Cherry Street, Milford, CT 06464, www.rsds.org
Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Dec. 16, 2007.