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

© jessicafashano.com

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.

© jessicafashano.com

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


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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

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Dorts

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.

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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

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Jessica & Jenny Candid

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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.

Girls Trip to Greece

Name: Lauren Albert

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Relationship to Jessica: Georgetown and post-college roommate

I’ve known Jess for 9 years. We met on our first day of college – she lived across the hall from me, and we were pretty much attached at the hip for the rest of college! We then moved to NYC together after college, and lived together until I moved to Boston in October of 2006.

Jess & Lauren in Mykonos, August 2009


© jessicafashano.com

Jess and I had been dreaming of going to Greece together for at least five years, and were finally able to make it happen with a few of our other girlfriends in August 2009.  I was extremely excited to spend ten straight days with Jess, since we hadn’t had more than long weekends together since I moved to Boston.  We were so truly happy on this trip and it was just like when we were roommates – getting ready together to go out on the town each night and staying up late chatting about nothing and everything in our room each night.

The above picture was taken on our first day in Mykonos, a very windy day! (I’m sure Jess was wondering if her hair looks ok!) My luggage was lost for the first couple days, so like the selfless friend Jess was when any of her friends was in need of help, Jess let me borrow her clothes and anything else I needed, so I’m wearing her dress here. Later in the trip she also helped hold my hair back when I got sea-sick on a 6-hour ferry, and I will always remember what a great friend she was for doing that!  Of course she made a joke out of the situation, and had me laughing through it!

Jess was in love with life on this trip and I will always remember how happy and lively she was.  After we stayed up late dancing and celebrating Greek-style each night, Jess would pop out of bed early the next morning before anyone else, and we’d find her rejuvenated and relaxed out by the pool reading a book, or on our deck planning our exciting agenda for the day, while guarding our breakfast from the crazy wild Greek kittens begging for food!  She motivated us all to get up and get the most out of each day.

Jess’ fun, energetic and adventurous nature let loose on this trip and resulted in many hilarious memories, yet she was still the organized one with the great restaurant, beach and sight-seeing ideas, and was also still the motherly one that took care of each of us in different ways throughout the 10 days (and made sure we made our flights and reservations on time!) – basically she was everything to all of us. 

After we got back from Greece, Jess would send us quotes, trip recaps, songs and photos for the next several months while still on the high from our trip.  Once we all had our photos uploaded into our separate albums, Jess had wanted us to compile them into one “master” album.  Unfortunately, we never got around to doing this while Jess was still here with us, so I made the slideshow below for Jess.  Sorry this took so long, Jess, but I hope you like it – you are the shining star, just as you were on our trip!

© jessicafashano.com

Jess showed her true colors on this trip, and my wish is for all of us to carry her spirit on – she was always considerate with her heart, generous with her love and always made a point to have fun and find humor in everything.  I love and miss you terribly, Jessbabes.

A Special Gift

Name: Nicole Schwarz

Location: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Relationship to Jessica: Best friend from school

The very first time I met Jess was in 1st grade CCD class.

Jess & Nicole in High School


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I called Jess one day when we first started to become close friends (so maybe 7th or 8th grade). Of course there was no cell phone yet so I called the house number. I remember being so nervous because I was a dork and was excited to call her on the phone.

Mrs. Fashano answered so I held on as she went to get Jess. I could hear a piano playing in the background and I remember thinking, I wonder what Jess is watching! It was around Christmas time so it was one of the Christmas songs.

The music stopped and Jess got on the phone. I was like, were YOU playing that? And she said, yes that was me. I couldn’t believe it because it was so beautiful and at the time I didn’t know she played the piano so well. I told her how great she sounded and probably went on and on about it.

Once Christmas arrived, Jess gave me her gift: it was a cassette tape of her playing a bunch of Christmas songs. I loved it and played it every Christmas (until I no longer had a cassette tape player)! This was one of my first memories of Jess….and there were many more after this one. I will miss her every day of my life.

Happy Birthday Jessica

Written by: Angie Arthur (older sister to Jeff, Danielle’s husband)

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Receiving the phone call of Jessica’s passing was one of the most difficult things our family has ever experienced.  While we all live in Ohio and are only able to visit Danielle and Jeff about once a year, we love those visits and always enjoyed spending time with Diane, Dennis and Jessica whenever possible.

Our four children clearly remember the moments when Jessica would come over to Jeff and Danielle’s house to see us.  Our daughter was enamored by Jessica’s vivacious personality and beautiful smile.  Our two little boys would act completely crazy, fighting with each other for Jessica’s attention…and flirting outrageously.  Jessica always handled their antics so graciously.

All of the kids have responded to Jessica’s death in different ways.  Moving in and out of sadness, spending a lot of time talking about the wonderful things they remember about her, bouts of crying from time to time, and lots of wishes that she was still there waiting to visit with them again when we make our next trip to New Jersey this spring.

© jessicafashano.com

The children and I began talking a month ago about how Jessica’s birthday is on Valentines Day and they decided that they really wanted to do something special in her memory.  We finally came up with the idea of having a birthday party for Jessica and we invited all of their cousins (who have also all been affected by Jessica’s death to varying degrees) to attend the party that featured Jessica’s favorite color.  We then celebrated our memories of Jessica together.

This video was the result of that celebration and is our gift to Jessica’s family…

© jessicafashano.com


We love you Jessica and miss you every day.  We will always remember you.

Welcome…

We have created this website to honor Jessica through her radiant personality, giving spirit, and the positive impact she left on everyone she met and everything she touched.

We hope that you…her family, friends, and co-workers…will contribute your stories, memories, and tributes so that we can celebrate Jessica’s life and cherish the memories we hold of her in our hearts. We also believe that sharing these stories and remembrances will help us to heal as we cope with her loss. We will continue to update the site as long as we receive your submissions.

Our plan is to launch this site on February 14, 2011, Jessica’s birthday. Please bookmark this site so that you can easily visit and read the memories and stories that are posted in the upcoming weeks.

Thank you for your kindness, friendship, and love.

The Family of Jessica Fashano