Dance, Girl…

Name: Rochelle Ballard

Location: New York, New York

Relationship to Jessica: Friends for Life!

I met Jessica at Georgetown but our friendship blossomed when we both moved to New York.

Ro & Jess laughing at Rochelle’s birthday party, April 2008
Ro & Jess at a party in Greece, July 2009


This is my second submission to Jessica’s website. I wanted to add a favorite memory that I’m sure the rest of the girls will appreciate and love… We would all agree that the hallmarks of our friendship with Jess included: “laughter,” “dancing,” and “fun.” Jess loved to dance! Whether it was a night out at the club, her birthday weekend in Miami where we jammed out to our own dance party in the living room, or at a class with me at Broadway Dance in our neighborhood. If the music was playing she was dancing.

I remember our weekend in Miami so vividly. We were all there to celebrate her birthday. On Saturday morning we all woke up, cooked breakfast and put on some music — this was not your typical meal, it was all a part of our themed celebration. The song “Bed Rock” by Lloyd came on and Jess had never heard the song before….Next thing you know, we are all dancing around the kitchen to the song. It became the theme song of the weekend; and a memorable time that we were fortunate enough to capture on video.

My last memory with Jess was at the Acumen Fund event on December 6th. She texted me saying, “Where are you, Ro? I need you here so we can dance!” I can still envision exactly how she would dance when her favorite song came on (lips pursed, fingers pointed, eyes gazing up and down)…how much she loved Beyonce or how she would sing along to Lady Gaga.

What I will miss most about my friendship with Jess are the memories we never had a chance to create. The trips we would have taken together…. the Business School experience we would have shared…the fun, laughs and “girl-friend” experiences that you cherish so much with your closest, most special friends. She was truly a friend for life.

Jess, I have you to thank you for bringing such great friends (your friends!) into my life. I will cherish the memories we all made together and for you, I will keep on dancing until the music stops.



Yellow Leather Limousine

Name: Billy Williams

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Relationship to Jessica: Close friend

I met Jessica in one of the many, many classes we took together during middle school. I’ll go with 6th grade math.

Jessica & Billy with their flour babies in high school


Jessica & Billy at Senior Prom


It took me quite a few years to realize that friendship isn’t easy. It requires an investment of time, energy, and heart that many struggle with – especially as physical distance grows and time passes. But with Jess and me it was always so easy.

My fondest memories with Jessica are from senior year at Whippany Park. Suddenly, the reality of college hit our friends. Everything we grew accustomed to was ending: Friendly’s trips, Livingston Mall/Applebee’s dinners, trips to the Parsippany movie theater. Sports, clubs, classes, pool parties. It was scary. So we made the most of our time together. And those last few months were some of the best of my life.

For whatever reason (bribes, rides to school) Jessica “said yes!” to going to senior prom with me. We both poured a lot of time into planning it, trying to make ours the best of all time. The location, the food, the music, the class gift. One of the few things Jess left in my hands was transportation – and wow, did she ever regret it!

We thought it would be cool to get a limo from NYC. They’d know exactly where to take us after prom! We reserved some cool wheels for the big event. Of course, we came home and showed the girls pictures of a cheesy Vegas-style yellow leather limo. They were mortified – especially Jess. Joke was on them!

The day finally arrived. We finished up pictures and waited for our limo. And waited…and waited…and waited. We were sweating. No one was happy. The driver was stuck in traffic (you HAD to go to NYC for this)?? We missed the cocktail hour. Finally it pulled up. Jess – excited to leave – opened the door. And it was the yellow leather limo. She cried. I was batting a thousand.

After these initial bumps, it turned out to be an amazing night. Jess was an effervescent, beautiful date. I was very lucky to have shared that memory with her. We had a blast.

Jess has played many roles in my life – high school prom date, college counselor, career counselor, math tutor, reality-checker. But above all, she was and will continue to be my inspiration.

We were truly blessed with a strong, caring group of friends in high school. As I went through college, it was evident that high school friendships – for the most part – fade away. But not ours; we wouldn’t let it. And Jess was an integral part of our group. There is no us without Jess. And we are fortunate enough to have each other for love and support during the good times…and, during the not so good.

Here’s to the times we shared, to the memories we made, and to an incredible woman that made those memories even better. Complete with cheesy “memory song” (which actually was released at the same time as our high school graduation) and scanned disposable camera pictures. Both of which would have Jessica bursting out in laughter.

Hopefully, somewhere up there, you can still hear Div whisper over a seventh grade three-way phone call “Billy loves Jessica…”

Soul Sister

Name: Ashley Pitman

Location: New York, New York

Relationship to Jessica: Roommate; Soul-Sister

I first met Jessica at Georgetown – Senior Year.


I met Jessica several times at Georgetown and after graduation. I had no idea during all our fleeting encounters that she would very quickly become one of my closest and most trusted friends – a true soul-sister. I’ll never forget the day I told David Velasquez I was thinking about moving into the free room in Jess’s apartment and his face lit up. He said “Jessica Fashano is the nicest person EVER. You HAVE to live with her.” He was right! From the minute I moved in the friendship accelerated at a speed that I think surprised us both. The stream-of-consciousness emails and texts were non-stop. Even though she was always so busy at work, she seemed to know my schedule better than I did and she was the only person who asked me how my day was every single day.

Needless to say, living with Jessica for three years was one of the highlights of my life. The memories are countless, and even considering an amazing weekend in Madrid, my favorite moments were just chilling in her room, testing make-up shades, talking about food & travel, and sharing stories…only pausing to make dinner reservations when we’d finally decided on which of the dozens of restaurants on our “list” we were in the mood for. Rusty Knot for po boys and a pretzel dog was always the default back up.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which reminds me that Jess would always give up cheese for Lent. This made choosing restaurants during Lent really difficult as to avoid temptation. I’m sorry we won’t have to face that struggle this year.

I was lucky enough to have called Jess one of my best friends. I love and miss her every day and can only find peace knowing she is at peace.

Hilarious Fashano Dinners

Name: Jeff Roth

Location: Denville, New Jersey

Relationship to Jessica: Brother-in-law

I met Jessica in 2000 when I started dating Danielle. She was 17, and it was the summer before her junior year of high school.

Danielle, Jessica, & Jeff, Summer 2001


The summer I met Danielle, I was a little nervous about being introduced to Jessica because I was told she had tough standards for who should go out with her sister.  Fortunately, she took it easy on me and treated me with nothing but kindness from the start.  That fall, even though Danielle was studying in Spain, Jessica made sure that we had little party at the Fashano house on my birthday.  Having moved from Ohio after college, it was great to have a place in New Jersey where I felt at home.

My favorite memory is of all the times we sat around the dinner table, usually eating pasta with homemade “Italian gravy.”  Even when Jessica was in high school and studied non-stop, she would always come down to the kitchen to eat with her family.  Everyone who knew Jessica talks a lot about her laugh, but amplify that several times over and you have a typical Fashano dinner.  I can’t quite describe it but someone would say something funny, and Jessica would raise her arms and let her silverware plop to the table.  She would then bust out her classic laugh, but not before pausing for dramatic effect and getting this look on her face that would make everyone immediately start rolling with laughter.

It is in such times of laughter and joy that I miss Jessica most, thinking about what she would say and how she would react, and feeling a deep sense of regret that our happiest moments will be experienced without her.

A Ring Bearer’s Crush

Name: Janine Scandlon

Location: Medina, Ohio

Relationship to Jessica: Sister-in-law

Danielle, Jessica’s sister, married my brother, Jeff Roth.

Danielle & Jeff's Wedding Party (Kent is Ring Bearer, in front of Jessica), October 17, 2004


I met Jessica for the first time while Jeff and Danielle were dating. Over the years, we would re-connect with Jessica when we would visit my brother in NJ. During the summer of 2004, Jessica and Mrs. Fashano drove to Ohio for a bridal shower that was being given for Danielle. My husband is a building contractor and we had just built and moved into our new home. Danielle asked if we would give them a “tour” of the house.

When they arrived at our home, my then four year old son, Kent, suddenly became possessed. It took me awhile to figure out that he had been struck by the age-old male need to show off for a beautiful girl. He was completely smitten by Jessica and proceeded to do flips, roll down stairs, jump off of dressers, make goofy faces and loud noises. Anything he could do to get Jessica’s attention. While he can be quite a bundle of energy on a good day, this was completely over the top.

Jessica just laughed and took it in stride. I can only imagine what Mrs. Fashano and Jessica were thinking. This completely possessed, strutting peacock was to be Danielle’s ring bearer. They probably had images of flips and rolls down the aisle of the wedding ceremony. Needless to say, upon threats of no t.v. for life and anything else we could think of, Kent managed to keep his infatuation for Jessica under control during the wedding and behaved very gentlemanly. Jessica holds fond memories for me as she was my son’s “first crush.”

My Left Side Is My Good Side

Name: Theresa Mazza

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

Relationship to Jessica: Best friend

Jessica and I met in the 6th grade at our school’s wilderness retreat. We were put into groups for lunch and she sat directly across from me. We instantly clicked. Later, when we were all asked to write about our favorite experience from the trip, Jess said hers was meeting me. We were best friends ever since.

Once in a Lifetime

For me, friendships like mine and Jessica’s only come once in lifetime. Sure, we all meet tons of great people who come into our lives, who we click with on various topics, interests and life experiences, but as we all know there is always that one friend that stands above the rest. It’s the friend you can always count on for a meaningful chat; the friend who is the only person to wish you a happy birthday (the day after); the friend you never have to pretend for, the friend who winks at you to acknowledge that they know exactly what you’re thinking and it’s that same friend you roll your eyes back at because they figured it out; it’s the friend that isn’t afraid to tell you you’re “OUT OF YOUR TREE,” and that skinny jeans really may not be most flattering on either of you, or that your eyebrows need waxing- yet again; it’s the friend you love unconditionally and the friend you can’t ever imagine living without. Jess, for me, was that friend. She’s like a once in lifetime cosmic event, never to repeat herself but rather to leave her spectacular, astoundingly beautiful, and monumental mark on the universe and more importantly on my life.

Theresa's first visit to see Jess at Georgetown, 2002


This picture is from my very first trip down to visit Jess at Georgetown in 2002. We both loved this picture so much, that we spent the next 8 years trying to replicate it, often fighting over who got the be on the left side, since it was both our “good side.”  I often had to remind her that in the original it was me!

My Jessbabes,

I miss you more than I could ever show you or tell you. I cherish every moment we ever spent together. Your smile, your laugh and your spirit are forever in my heart. I love you.


Spanish Sisters

Name: Natalia Serrano

Location: Los Angeles, California

Relationship to Jessica: Friend/Fellow Trianera/Part of her extended Spain family

Jess and I were connected by our Spanish host family in 2004-05. We eventually met in New York a year later and then had a fabulous European weekend getaway in December of 2009. Jessica was a beloved friend and I will always consider her part of my family in Spain.

Natalia & Jessica in Sevilla, December 2009


My first introduction to Jessica was through the continual praise of my Spanish host family. Jessica was the first American student to live with them and I was the second. According to Marta, our Spanish sister, we had so much in common (including the fact that both Jess and I looked more Spanish than she) and she insisted we meet.

I met Jessica about a year after I finished my year abroad and was going to graduate school in New York. We decided to meet up for brunch and I remember my curiosity and excitement as I approached the restaurant. I had heard so much about Jessica during my year in Sevilla from our Spanish family and friends that it felt like I already knew her. You could tell Jess was a special breed just from the way people talked about her. After our brunch I couldn’t help but gush about her, too.

Our time together was brief, but the connection undeniable. We would schedule phone dates, email back and forth about the happenings in our lives, and send each other unexpected messages and photos of New York blizzards, California palm trees, and the Italian countryside. Our friendship may have been untraditional, but it was strong nonetheless.

In December of 2009, I decided to take a trip back to Spain. I mentioned the trip to Jess and suggested she come along. We excitedly began planning our trip back to Sevilla to celebrate Marta’s birthday and have a Spain host family reunion. Jess stayed with me in an apartment I rented in Triana and together we spent three whirlwind days rediscovering Sevilla and living life to the fullest.

I have many memories of Jess— her smile, her laugh, and her New Jersey way of saying “yea, yea, yea” when she agreed with me —but what resonates most is the memory of her sparkling spirit. I will be forever thankful for her presence in my life.


Jessica’s Patented 110%

Name: Christopher Powell

Location: New York, New York

Relationship to Jessica: Friend

Jessica and I have been friends since college at Georgetown.

Jess & Chris in Boston, Summer 2007


Every time I think of Jess, the first thing that comes to mind is that big bright smile.

You could literally turn towards Jessica, see her smiling, smile back, THEN she would turn it up a notch and just light up the room. You not only had to smile just then you’d have to laugh… it would be the only way possible to match the joy emanating from her face.

Her smile always made seeing her after a while a special event.

I miss your smile babe.

My memory revolves around this point. I remember having a conversation with Jess while I was in law school. She was telling me that she was going to be in a Citigroup Recruitment video. She eventually sent me a link (made me beg to see it)! I was very proud of her. But I loved the video’s intro. It started with her smiling and then you could tell the cameraman told her they were recording because her smile (which anyone who didn’t know her would have thought was at 100%) suddenly shot into Jessica’s patented 110%. She was beautiful and eloquent and proud. But that clip couldn’t convey how compassionate she was as well.

Jessica's Patented 110% Smile from the Recruitment Video



Name: Kourtney Hydock

Location: Mendham, New Jersey

Relationship to Jessica: Best friend

I’ve known Jessica for 25 years.  We grew up together on Forest Way.


My nearest & dearest friend Jessica:

Where to begin…I always envied the person you were but more so the person you were becoming. I knew we were not always together but we were never too far apart either. We had the type of friendship where we could pick up right where we left off and that to me is the type of friendship I knew could last forever. There was no doubt in my mind that one day you were going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding – if I ever find the right guy. I know now instead you will be looking down at me and probably laughing at me thinking to yourself, “Kourt you are being ridiculous spending way too much money on your makeup and hair.” I can see it now.

Jessica, you have blessed my life for the past 27 years. I will always remember Pepperoni House and the various memories we created at both our houses on Forest Way. I still cannot believe my parents decided to move out of Trailwood. I always went shopping with my Mom instead of hanging out with you, Kristen & Danielle as children. Sorry about that, shopping got the best of me as always. You were the first one to call me Dorts because you couldn’t pronounce Kourt too well back then.

I will always cherish our Miami trip with Nicole and Theresa and more than anything, the family cruises we went on together, especially when we got off the dock in Bermuda without Danielle because she didn’t want to go clubbing but Jeff however did. We had one of the best nights. You called the guy Steve I met on the cruise “waiter boy” because he always wore a tux and left it on during formal nights. HAHA. I actually told him that recently when I saw him again. The many overnight trips I came to visit you in the big apple especially for you bringing me to Tenjune on your birthday you knew how badly I wanted to check out that spot. What a classic night that was.

The memory that will play back in my mind forever is doing baseball stats with you junior & senior year of high school. I know you were ambivalent about it at first and I know you did it to spend time with me as you put in my yearbook and that truly meant the most to me. It was a great way to spend time together and get an appreciation for the sport. There were countless laughs and probably many mistakes mainly on my part but all in great fun.

How can we forget prom 2001 we had to get a flashy limousine from the city and of course what color interior did it have but yellow. You started crying when you saw it. Who wouldn’t they were one and a half hours late to pick us up.

You wrote in my yearbook that we would grow to be old ladies together and that unfortunately doesn’t hold true anymore Jess…oh how I wish that was the case. I remember your laugh and smile like it was yesterday. The way you carried yourself with such dignity and class. You were my once in a lifetime friend. I will look back on these memories and so many more and hold them near and dear in my heart forever. You showed me what friendship is all about.

We would have celebrated twenty five years of our friendship this year. Not too many people could say that. “It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.”

I loved you when I was 2 ½ and I love you more than ever at 27. You will forever be a part of me, Jessbabes.

Your one & only Dorts. xOx

Roommate and Forever Friend

Name: Jenny Kraemer

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Relationship to Jessica: Forever Friend and Roommate

I met Jessica 10 years ago at Georgetown University.

Jessica & Jenny in Chicago, Summer 2009


Jessica & Jenny Candid


Jessica. We remember her laugh, her huge heart and the love she had for everyone she met. Just thinking about her crazy, infectious laugh makes me smile. All of her hard work trying to help others in need, contributing to charities, raising money and her generosity. She was an amazing friend. She could make me laugh when I was sad. She always cheered me up when she knew I had a bad day – sometimes that meant just sitting with me in silence after a crappy day. But she kept me company. That’s the trademark of Jess – like so many other people have pointed out…She always wanted to make people happy and make people feel better.

I remember when I heard the news – I simply could not believe it. Jess was too young. But Jess lived her life wonderfully. She had done so many things on earth and I’m sure she’s doing even more in heaven. I will forever be grateful to have known her. I will forever be grateful for spending 10 years of my life with a friend like her. I will forever be grateful for the memories I have shared with her. Jessica will forever live in my heart.

I’m adamant about one thing: Don’t ever forget Jessica. She never wanted this, never wanted people to cry or be unhappy. She wanted to make everyone happy. We should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a woman like Jess. What an inspiration she was and still is! What an amazing woman.

The pictures I have included are from when Jess came to visit me in Chicago. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were soooo tired but we dragged ourselves out of bed to walk around the city, get breakfast and make the most of the time together because the trip was short. All the pictures we took of us that morning weren’t to our liking. She didn’t like how she looked and I didn’t like how I looked. Having just rolled out of bed and rushing to get out of the apartment, we didn’t feel “camera ready” and she made me delete almost all of them on my camera. But now looking back at the pictures…they are probably two of the best pictures of us. So real and in the moment. With me planting a kiss on her cheek and her arm wrapped around me – that is how I will remember Jessica. I’ll forever cherish these pictures.

Jessica will forever be missed but I know in the right time, I will meet her again. We will all meet her again and she’ll make us laugh in tears again.

This is a goodbye – but only for now. Love forever and ever.