Jacqueline Pimentel, 59, died at her home on Clevelandtown Road in Edgartown on October 2, 2009. The cause was breast cancer. This past Sunday, September 19, her ashes were spread over the waters at the Norton Point breach, according to her wishes.
At 3 pm on October 2 at the Edgartown Library, a piece of sculpture will be dedicated in her memory. All are welcome.
At her funeral on October 10, 2009, in the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, the following eulogy was given by Mary Doolan, a childhood and lifelong friend.
“When we arrived in the 9th grade at Winthrop Junior High after a few days we saw posters all around the school for the election of class officers. One poster stood out in the field of posters. It was a colorful picture of a carousel over the words, ‘Jump aboard the Carousel, Vote for Jackie Pimentel.’ We not only voted for Jackie Pimentel, but we all jumped aboard the carousel and what a ride it’s been.
“From Winthrop to Boston to Florida to the North Shore and to Martha’s Vineyard, for almost 50 years we have enjoyed the precious friendship of the most vivacious person we’ve ever known. She was our trailblazer, and it’s not surprising that she has been the first girlfriend to blaze the trail for the ultimate journey.
“Jacqueline’s indomitable spirit, exciting creativity, superior intelligence, passion for life, and unique and magical style made any activity, no matter how mundane, an event. It was so much fun to be with her.
“Jackie lived life full tilt. Anything could become an adventure — beach parties, dinners, dancing, riding the dunes, parades, watching football, art galleries, concerts, vacations, driving around her beloved Vineyard, or just watching her talk to the birds in her yard were all made extra special because she was there. Her appearance was just an extension of her maverick personality.
“Her sparkling blue eyes, her gorgeous hair and skin, her ability to put outfits together that no one else could ever dare wear but on her looked fabulous, and those short skirts! When we were in school, every morning she was called to the principal’s office to have her skirt length measured, because usually it was in violation of the dress code. But that never stopped her.
“Oh, and did I mention Jackie’s courage and iron will? When she was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer a year ago, she immediately created what she called her white light project, and she engaged everyone she knew, including her doctors at Beth Israel, to bathe her in positive energy for her complete healing. She named her tumor the Wicked Witch of the Breast, called her journey her Magic Carpet Ride, her chemotherapy her spa treatments, and often said, ‘Let the gifts begin.’
“She is the only person I ever saw make a party out of chemotherapy. She would walk on the treatment floor dressed to the nines, carrying her bag of music and party supplies. She would ask the nurses if she could have the penthouse, which to her meant a private chemo room overlooking Boston.
“When she finished months of grueling treatment, she threw a graduation party, complete with cap and gown, diploma, cake, and refreshments. In response to the most difficult year of her life, Jacqueline chose joy, and it’s fair to say that she wrote the book on living while dying.
“A few weeks before she died, Jackie told me about a fund that was going to be created in her name. She said, ‘I’m deeply honored, but I’m really sad. This is a memoriam, not a livorium. I want to be in life; I want to be moving forward; I want to be an inspiration.’ I assured that she was and always would be.
“In the past year, most of us here today had a chance to show Jacqueline how much we loved her in large ways and small, and nothing went unnoticed or unappreciated by this courageous soul. Over this time, her heart was cracked wide open, and she told us how overwhelmed she was to be able to allow herself to receive more unconditional love than she even thought was humanly possible.
“Jackie was not a noun; she was a verb. She was the epitome of intention turned into action. She taught us by bringing her dreams into reality time and time again. She taught us that life’s all about intention, believing, and action.
“Jacqueline’s greatest gift to us is that she showed us how to live life to the fullest each and every day, regardless of what life is handing out.
“Jacqueline, our beloved sister, there are no words to express how much we love you and how much we are going to miss you. Today we let go of your hand and place it in the hand of God, knowing that we will meet you again, and that our hearts and souls are joined together for all eternity.”
Jacqueline Pimentel is survived by her mother, Betsy Pimentel of Tulsa, Okla.; three brothers — John of Swampscott, Kenneth of Tulsa, Okla., and George of Chicago; and one sister — Christine Woods of Winthrop. She was the cherished aunt of Jacqueline, Ashley, and Morgan Woods and Richelle and George Pimentel. Also by a wide circle of friends who cared for her during her illness.
Donations in Jackie’s name may be made to the Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha’s Vineyard, dedicated to the Jacqueline Pimentel Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1182, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, or AstraZeneca Hope Lodge, 125 South Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, Attn: Bryan Harter.