Farewell To A Friend

I lost a good friend today, and the world is a meaner, sorrier place because of it.

Jocelyn Prewitt-Stanley, left, and Alycia Broz

Her name was Jocelyn Prewitt-Stanley.  She died from complications related to the birth of her first child, Emmerson — a child that she and her husband Ted dearly wanted.

Jocelyn was a lawyer at our firm.  I first worked with her when she was in our Cleveland office and had the misfortune to get a project from me.  When she moved to Columbus a few years later, I began to work with her more and more.  She was a fine trial lawyer, a hard worker, a good thinker, and a skilled advocate who was justifiably proud of the good results she achieved for clients.  When I had to assemble a dedicated “core team” to work on matters for an important client, I chose Jocelyn because I knew she would do a great job — and she did.

Of course, being a good lawyer was only a tiny fraction of what made Jocelyn a wonderful person.  No one should be defined solely by their work, and Jocelyn surely wasn’t.  She possessed a deep and indefinable serenity — yet she also had one of the great guffaws you could ever hope to hear.  She had a marvelous sense of humor, and when she became animated while telling a war story, the fingers on her hands splayed wide and her eyes lit up.  She had a dazzling smile and a dazzling personality to match.  She was active in charities and professional organizations.  She loved dogs and happily advised me, all too frequently, on how to better train the canine miscreants of the Webner household.

After we had worked together on several occasions, Jocelyn asked me to be her mentor.  I accepted with pleasure, and Jocelyn became the senior member of our merry band of mentees.  Although I technically was the mentor, I’m quite confident that I learned far more from Jocelyn than she ever learned from me.  I admired her candor and appreciated her trust, and was grateful for her patience as she listened to my side of the issues we discussed.  She worked tirelessly to help me see things from a different perspective, and she succeeded.  As I mentioned, she was a very effective advocate.

The world is a beautiful place, but it also can be inexpressibly cruel.  When an occasion of great joy like the birth of a child arrives, it is unimaginable that death might also be lurking around the corner.  Those of us who are religious may be able to find comfort in faith; the rest of us can only rail at the gross, cosmic injustice of a fate that snatches away a person like Jocelyn much, much, much too soon — and also be thankful that we had the privilege of getting to know her, even for a short period.

My heart breaks for the loss experienced by Ted, by Jocelyn’s family and Ted’s family, and most of all for the void left for little Emmerson, who will never get to know the mother who was so very ready to shower her new baby with all the love she could muster.

11 thoughts on “Farewell To A Friend

  1. Bob, these are beautiful words to describe a beautiful person. I will deeply miss Jocelyn. She was a good friend. I know she would have been a fantastic mother. When I saw her last week, she was full of joyful anticipation for the birth.

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  2. I’ve known “Teddy” since I was a three-year-old across-the-street neighbor of the Stanleys through grammar school, but our respective moves to places away from Utah kept us mostly out of touch. I never met Jocelyn, and am grateful for your tribute to this amazing woman.

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  3. Her baby is beautiful. How sad she will not know her mother in person, but I’m sure that she will read this wonderful tribute when she is older and will “know” her indeed.

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  4. Bob – thanks for such a heartwarming tribute to such a beautiful person inside and out. I will always feel her dazzling smile.

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  5. Jocelyn was one of my closest friends at Grinnell. I attended her wedding, and saw her in Seattle, but we’d lost touch in recent years. There is most definitely a void left in my heart by the loss of her very existence in the world.

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  6. Although I never had an opportunity to work with or get to know Jocelyn. I spoke today with several of your colleagues about her. She was widely loved by those of you who were fortunate to work with her. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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  7. Bob, thank you for a wonderful tribute to an extraordinary individual. Jocelyn was my friend and classmate at Grinnell and at the Iowa Law School. Her positive energy was infectious, and she was just a down-to-earth person. We worked on several projects together over the years, so we got a chance to know each other well. Her loss will undoubtedly be felt in her family, profession, and community. Although I cannot attend her homecoming in person, I am comforted by the fact that there will be a strong contingent of both Grinnell and Iowa alums.

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