Jay Janell of Fitchburg Mass. transitioned from this life on August 13, 2021.
Jay was born on February 12, 1962, to John and Jean (Nutter) Janell. He grew up in Lunenburg, MA and graduated from Lunenburg High School in 1980.
In 1991, he married Mary Paradiso, beginning more than 30 years of devoted partnership. Jay and Mary enjoyed hiking, attending art exhibits and listening to live music. In addition to exploring the natural and historic sites of central New England, they traveled to the Adirondacks each summer and to Maine for family visits.
Jay had a varied career in libraries and music. He started piano lessons at age eight and organ lessons at age 12. When he was 17, he began playing for church services as a substitute and summer organist. During his adult life, he served several local churches as organist and choir director. The last church he served as organist, the United Parish of Lunenburg, was the same place where he had spent many hours practicing as a student. In his younger years, he also provided music for local musical theater productions.
After college, Jay worked in academic libraries. He completed his master’s degree in library science with a concentration in archival management and then worked as a college archivist. Later in his career, he found his most rewarding work in public libraries. At the Fitchburg Public Library, his worlds converged as he was made director of the Sunday Performing Arts Series. He then managed a community orchestra for a few years before returning to the library field as the Local History Librarian in Gardner, MA.
Jay’s spiritual journey was as diverse as his career. Beginning as a deeply questioning Christian in his teen years and later sharing Jewish festivals with friends, he eventually embraced Eastern spiritual traditions and engaged in a practice of yoga, mantra, and meditation. He came to know a Divinity beyond name and form, who dwells not only among us, but deep within the heart of our being. Jay was seen as an enigma by many, being a deeply spiritual person with a bawdy sense of humor.
Jay leaves a legacy of creative endeavors in addition to his music. He took up photography later in life, even winning first prize for photography in a local art exhibit. In his home, he installed wood and tile floors, and outside he built gardens, stone walls, and hardscapes.
Jay’s parents both left this world in the beginning of 2020. He is survived by his wife Mary; his brother Jeffrey and wife Daisy Dore; and the many friends who extended their extravagant lovingkindness during his time of illness.
A visiting hour will be held on Sunday, August 22, 2021, in the First Parish Church, 923 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 from 1-2 pm. His Memorial Service will begin at 2:00pm. If you cannot attend the service in person, you may email FitchburgUU@gmail.com and request a Zoom link. Burial will be held privately at the convenience of the family.
In memory of Jay, the family requests that instead of floral gifts a memorial contribution be made to:
North County Land Trust, 325 Lindell Avenue, Leominster, MA 01453 or online at http://www.northcountylandtrust.org/tributes.
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