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Events to Honor Jessie Gruman in New York City and Washington, DC


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Jessie's family invites those who knew her to join in celebrating her life and legacy:

Sunday, October 5, 2014
2:00 p.m. ceremony with reception following
New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY 10029

A reception in Jessie's honor is also being hosted by the CFAH board and staff in Washington, DC on Thursday, October 9, 2014, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Conference Center of the American Geophysical Union, which has served as CFAH's office building since 1994. Located at 2000 Florida Ave NW, Main Floor.


Jessie's family has asked that contributions be made to:

We recently received some thoughtful comments about Jessie by email and have added these to the comments section below, with the authors' permission.

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Comments on this post
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Michael Pertschuk says
September 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Jessie had (at least) three great virtues, and one small social vice: first, she was brilliant; at the same time, she was kind to those who deserve kindness. She was also irrepressibly witty. My daughter, Amy, an advocate for the restoration of the experience of nature to children, was seeking advice in Washington on the building of a broad grassroots movement to encourage outdoors play and learning. She asked if there were people that she might learn from, and I arranged visits with several experienced movement builders. The others proved useful, but she learned more from Jessie who won her heart, while nurturing her mind. She never forgot.

Jessie's social flaw was the very strength of her brilliance, and the happenstance that she was a witty, un-intimidated woman. Too many male colleagues could not tolerate her brilliance, and her refusal to be subservient. She threatened them, though innocent of intending to do so. She simply out-flanked them creatively without apology. Her reward was their shunning. This happened at the American Cancer Society; at the National Cancer Institute (except for the few adult colleagues who deeply appreciated her imaginative gifts to cancer prevention.) Justly, She earned liberation; the freedom to exercise her fine mind in advancing health, and the deep respect and affection of her colleagues at the Center for Advancement of Health. At last, she was at the center where she belonged. And she showed resilient courage, without drama, in facing a lifelong series of medical challenges. And deep empathy for others in need was embedded in her wonderful books of guidance to those under the shadow of fatal illness.

She spoiled her parrots; she delighted in roller skating at an age when most of her contemporaries could barely remember roller skating. She was loyal. She showered loving care on her friends. And she loved Richard deeply and long.

I regret that I will not be able to attend the celebration of Jessie’s life in New York City on October 5th.

Robert Otto Valdez says
September 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

It was with deep sadness that I received word of Jessie's passing. She was a treasure for us all turning her illness into a weapon of healthcare transformation. I had the opportunity to work with her on the Public Health Institute board of directors. I was always amazed by her energy, intellect, and insightfulness. I will miss her infectious smile and sense of humor.

I regret that I am unable to join you in celebrating her life and contributions at either of the events scheduled in October.