Jerry A Greenwell Jr.

                                                   November 1, 1979 ~April 14, 2003

To relay a little about Jerry (our son) as a person, I quote from a letter received; "Jerry always seemed like such a great young man to us. It just so happened that I was at a symposium last week in the Marriott Hotel, and ran into Jerry. He proudly told me of all of his accomplishments, including the restaurant, his ongoing studies, and his circle of friends in the Portland area. He was obviously a young man with his life and goals together, an he was marching through the world with assurance and certainty. I was impressed that a kid (which is, of course, how we all want to remember that generation) had grown up with such confidence and sincerity, with such a firm grip on the things that really matter in life, like career, friendships, integrity, social values, family.
Jerry will be missed. And most of all by you and the rest of his family. Perhaps it will help at this awful time to know that he was an impressive young man, and that his memory will not fade quickly. He has left a legacy of hard work, dedication, and determination. Our memory of him will be of smiles, sincerity and basic, honest values applied to making the world and his immediate surroundings a better place for all to be. We are all better off for having known him, however briefly."
Now to his short story. Jerry and his father were to meet for coffee on Friday morning, April 11th while I had a root canal done in Portland. Jerry woke that morning at 5:30 with what he thought to be the flu. He asked his girlfriend to meet us and tell us that he would have to take a pass on coffee. Lindsay continued to check on him by phone from work throughout the day and each time he indicated that he just felt weak and thought he had the flu. At 11:00 PM that evening when she returned home he urged her to go out with their friends since he still didn't feel that well. She returned with their roommates at 1:00 AM and he told her his legs hurt. She went to rub them and noticed the rash. She called her mother, a Registered RN, and was encouraged to take him to the ER.
When he went to stand, he was unable to do so. His four roommates carried him to the ER at 2:00 AM April 12th.  At 4:00 AM they diagnosed him with some unknown strain of meningitis and put him in the Critical Care Unit at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Lindsay called us at 4:00 and we immediately left for the hospital. Upon arrival we were updated and went in to see him. He was alert but in a great deal of discomfort. We were fortunate that we did have the opportunity to speak to him before he reached the point of not realizing how sick he was.  Some of his last words were "don't you have a longer bed, my feet are hanging over the end".  At the time we were not informed of the serious situation that existed with Jerry.  Little did we know what was to come! 
By mid-day on the 13th the doctors reported positive results to the medicine being administered. We regained hope that it would not be long before Jerry would return to us with his positive outlook on life and infectious smile.  But, Jerry kept getting worse despite prayers from family and friends holding vigil either beside him or nearby in the waiting room.  People are lucky to have one or two good friends but Jerry excelled in his ability to meet and gain new friends, at one point the number of people swelled to over 40! We cannot commend the hospital staff's understanding and patience toward all of Jerry's support network. We were extremely grateful.
Sunday evening the doctors kept reporting to us that Jerry was young and strong and attempted to keep our spirits high.  They were as blunt as possible and at the same time tried to assure us that Jerry was not suffering due to his medically induced coma.  The doctors kept us well informed and would do so each time we requested an update.   None of us had every heard of Meningococcal Septicemia much less knew of the consequences. 
As Jerry's condition worsened, doctors reported that he had a less than five percent chance of recovery.  The disease had infested all his organs and if by some miracle Jerry survived, his life would be in a vegetative state. 
To sum up this dreaded disease that affected Jerry, I quote Michael Apicella, MD:
"Meningococcal disease, especially meningococcal meningitis, is one of the most devastating infections on an individual or community; reports of documented or suspected cases can engender considerable panic, even among well-informed hospital personnel.  Part of the explanation for this phenomenon is the fact that meningitis due to Neisseria meningitides tends to strike young, previously well individuals and can progress over a matter of hours to death.
Mortality can be very high if the infection is not treated appropriately, and long term sequedae can be severe even in successfully managed cases.  The mortality and morbidity from meningococcal disease has changed very little since the 1950s, due principally to the inability to effectively mange the endotoxin-inducted vascular collapse frequently induced by this organism."
Few can imagine the magnitude of our loss, unless, God forbid, they too experience the loss of a child. This loss is even greater to us knowing now that it could have been prevented.
We pray that our loss of Jerry will not have been in vain, that perhaps through our efforts no other child, or parent, will have to endure the horrific result of this tragic, PREVENTABLE, disease.



“They are not dead, who leave us this great heritage of remembered joy….

They still live in our hearts, in the happiness we knew, in the dreams we shared—

They still breathe in the lingering fragrance windblown from their favorite flowers—

They still smile in moonlight’s silver and laugh in sunlight’s sparkling gold—

They still speak in the echoes of words we’ve heard them say again and again—

They still move in the rhythm of waving grasses, in the dance of tossing branches.

They are not dead; their memory is warm in our hearts, comfort in our sorrow.

They are not apart from us, but a part of us….

For love is eternal; and those we love shall be with us throughout eternity.”

“After the coldest winter, the warmth of springtime beckons, and after the darkest night, the light of dawn appears once more. After the grayest store, a rainbow paints the sky with color, and after the strongest waves, fragile seashells line the shore. After the deepest loss, God gives the healing gift of memories to comfort and bring peace of mind when those we love are gone….”

 “We can’t know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight’s kiss upon its face before it folds its fragrance in and bids the world goodnight to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost, and no one who has ever touched a heart can really pass away, because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they’ve been a part.”



Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and letting us share Jerry's life, God Bless you!


Jerry and his family and Jerry and Lindsay .


    <Jerry  our little baby, young man>                 

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