December 24, 1971 - December 31, 2021
Jennifer Lynn Winchester, days after a warm 50th birthday and Christmas with her family, died New Year's Eve when a drunk made a series of stupid decisions that irrevocably changed the course of all of our lives. She was the center of our family, she was our home, our Momma. She put all of her energy - her frantic, hilariously crude, endlessly loving energy - into being there for anyone in her life that needed it. That meant anyone. Family, friend, stranger or stray: she'd take you in and make sure you were safe and happy and healthy. She'd show up with a hug when you didn't know you needed it, or coffee, or a burrito, or a joint: Jen always brought just the right thing at just the right time. She'd take the time one-on-one to help ease your burdens and always made the biggest difference. She shared her roof and accepted you without question, and you could confide in her knowing she wouldn't judge or repeat a word, but would lovingly call you on your s*** and set you straight with some real advice. We can only imagine how many juicy secrets she took with her! Jen was a master of making something out of nothing. She was the best unpaid interior designer and created amazing colorful, patterned rooms for her kids and grandkids. She had a keen eye for anything that could be made into cute crafts, and a complete blind spot for business sense. She would drive her cab all night for money to buy craft supplies while she was working on a gift to surprise someone else. Jen was born in Seattle on Christmas Eve morning, 1971, to Teresa and Guy. At 6 yrs old she took a plane to California by herself to spend time with her dad at the racetracks, and enjoyed all of the fine amenities of the country club. On one drive back to Seattle, on her dad's birthday, she got a front-row seat watching Mt. St. Helens erupt. She went to a private Catholic elementary school (from which she retained little), and walked home every day to her grandma Donna's to play pinochle. Soon she was an active, beautiful and talented young adult. Friends remember clearly how fit she was, spunky, witty, and intelligent. She was a gymnast, and even after having her first two kids she could still do back handsprings, or strap on a pair of speed skates and zip around backwards. She danced with so much life that anyone would join in and share her energy. She lived by her own rules: I don't lie, cheat, or steal - and the rest is right here. Her shenanigans were legendary, and her 'jump first think later' attitude left us with story after story that can't be retold without laughter and a little bit of shock. I was her first child, Blake, at 17. She met the challenge of motherhood alone but determined. She kept going to school, taking me with her into class until she finished her diploma. Almost 2 years later I had a little sister, Kayla, and our lives were full from the beginning with love and adventure. We didn't need money or things to entertain ourselves, because we were so rich with laughter and creativity. She would always find a way to provide another warm memory, undaunted by long stretches of scarcity. She took us to the lakes in Belfair countless times; swimming and fishing in the clear waters, catching salamanders and roasting hotdogs and smores over a campfire. The lakes were almost secret, quiet and beautiful and enchanted. We got another baby sister in 1999 when She had her youngest, Kolby. She put everything into creating a safe and loving home for us and nurtured us into a resilient, open-hearted family that could thrive through those turbulent and difficult years. The three of us children inherited her resilience, her bonkers all-in approach to life, her irreverence for so-called 'proper behavior', and a heaping helping of a**. She taught us to keep an open mind and broad perspective and to reserve judgment. She created a whole family of 'good crazies-, Jennifer soon became Meemaw to her first of three granddaughters, Kenzie, Kenley, and Kaliyah. Seeing Meemaw was the highlight of almost every day for them. She was the cornerstone in our rare and special family, unbreakable and inseparable. She didn't need any material things to entertain her granddaughters. She create a whole world for them to play in and make a story together, improvising endless characters. When it came time to pick up the kids you were as likely as not to find Meemaw on all fours with a unicorn hat on, prancing around the living room with the babies. Jennifer didn't go quietly. She didn't do anything quietly, for that matter. This would be the end of most people's story. But for Jen? Aw hell no. Momma ain't done yet. She made hundreds of friends while getting people home safely in her cab, because a ride with Jen was never just a ride. It was therapy, or confessional, or a backseat dance party. She thrived on lifting people's spirits. The whole community shook at her passing, and stirred to action. A foundation in her name is just beginning, to raise awareness and shout a message to all the buzzed, the saucy, the tipplers and boozers: Call a cab! Get a Lyft! Our culture has dangerously normalized drunk driving and it's not okay. You don't want to take the smallest chance that you could end someone's life. Jen will be joining her mother, Teresa and brother Andrew in peace. She is Survived by her father Guy, siblings Jay, Ellen, and Chris, children Blake, Kayla, and Kolby, and granddaughters Kenzie, Kenley and Kaliyah. A small service for immediate family will be held at Rill Chapel on Saturday. Feb 26th at 1pm. Because of Covid concerns, we ask that others opt to tune in to the live broadcast of the service. All family and friends are invited to a potluck celebration of her memory afterward at Alley Cat Cafe Lounge, 2711 6th St. at 6pm, formerly the Hi-Fidelity Lounge. Bring food and drinks to share, and please plan a ride home. For those who wish to assist her daughters and granddaughters through this difficult transition, a GoFundMe has been started here So long as we talk about them, share their stories, and warm ourselves in the glow of their memory, the dead never wholly leave us. The tales we keep of Jennifer are nothing short of legendary. In all of our hearts, our memories, and our smiles, she will remain with us for a long, long time.
Jennifer Lynn Winchester, days after a warm 50th birthday and Christmas with her family, died New Year's Eve when a drunk made a series of stupid decisions that irrevocably changed the course of all of our lives. She was the center of our family,... View Obituary & Service Information
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