Jennifer A. Garand, 42, of Danville, Vt. passed away on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at her home, following a brave and courageous battle against pancreatic cancer.
Jenn was born on Jan. 25, 1978, in St. Johnsbury, Vt. to Truman (“Eugene”) and Anita (Rivers) Austin. A native of the Northeast Kingdom, Jenn grew up in East Haven, just down the mountain from the radar base. The youngest of Anita and Eugene’s three children, Jenn was poised to become an architect after graduating from Lyndon Institute in 1996 but decided to attend then-Lyndon State College to get the required courses out of the way before transferring to a technical school.
While at Lyndon State, she started taking business courses and discovered she especially enjoyed the school’s math and accounting courses. When asked by a family friend from the Vermont Department of Labor to participate in its new work-experience program, putting college-aged students in job settings, she was placed at the Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce as an administrative assistant.
Her strong work ethic was quickly noticed by the chamber and the Vermont Department of Labor. She received the “State of Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in Employment & Training,” as an outstanding youth participant, in 1998. When her internship was over with the chamber, the organization hired her as a full-time employee.
At the organization, she received its Appreciation Award in 2004 and Award of Recognition in 2018, marking “20 years of stellar service to the chamber and for always keeping the needs of chamber members & visitors as her highest priority.” She was the assistant to the director and considered the heart and soul of the chamber at the time of her passing. While serving in that post during her 22 years of employment, she oversaw the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center from 2003-12, was the chamber’s in-house bookkeeper, office manager and was highly respected for her event planning.
That year, 1998, proved to be even more momentous for Jenn, as just prior to arriving at the chamber, she met her soulmate and love of her life, Derek Garand. She often commented that his big smile and twinkle in his eyes are what captured her heart. The couple married on Aug. 24, 2002 and made a loving home in Danville for 16 years with their beloved “dog children,” Jackson and Dakota, who predeceased Jenn.
There was nothing she enjoyed more than spending time with Derek and family members, whether it was out on their boat on Miles Pond, snowmobiling along the trails of the Kingdom, competitive games of mini-golf with Derek, conquering the Great Vermont Corn Maze every year, hiking with Derek and their nephew, camping in Maine with Jenn’s family and spending vacations with her husband at Hampton Beach, N.H.
Jenn retained her keen architectural eye, had an impeccable design sense and was an accomplished artist and gardener. Her annual Christmas trees were considered legendary to family and friends, as she planned and decorated the perfect tree for weeks. Many of her family members and friends plan on decorating an over-the-top tree in her honor this year.
Survivors include her beloved husband, Derek Garand of Danville; her parents, Eugene and Anita Austin of East Haven; sister Pamela and husband Gordon Mathewson of Sheffield and their daughters, Gabrielle (David) Bourassa, Chantelle Mathewson and Rochelle Mathewson; brother Stephen Austin and wife Jan of Lyndonville and their daughter, Dana (Trevor) Reynolds; mother-in-law Alydia Payette of Derby; father-in-law Duane Garand of Natick, Mass.; brother-in-law Chad Garand (Marla) and their son, Cole, of Sutton, Mass.; a very special great niece, Wren Bourassa; longtime best friend Nicole (LaCoss) Desrochers of Kirby; and many cherished aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. She is predeceased by her paternal and maternal grandparents; aunt Christine A. McGivern; and brother-in-law Dillon Garand.
Ever the event planner, Jenn really wanted people to gather to celebrate her life, but, unfortunately, given the current circumstances with Covid-19, services are being delayed until such events are permitted. A notice will be posted in the Caledonian-Record when a memorial service can be held.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.saylesfh.com.