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Jennifer Louise Farrell Greanya, age 46, born to Garold Greanya & Bonnie (Vaughn) Merriman, passed into the arms of our Lord on Friday, February 1, 2019. She was born on April 28, 1972 in Redwood City, CA. She lived many places in her life, including San Jose and Sacramento, California, Provo, Utah, and Crystal Lake, Illinois.
From the very beginning of Jennifer’s life (at 3 weeks old), it was determined that she had been born with a compromised renal system. This would become a defining factor for her for the rest of her physical life. She endured four kidney transplants, the first one at age 8. Between each transplant, she went through countless hours of dialysis treatments, over 70 surgeries, thousands of hospital and doctor visits, and eventual procedures for her heart and lungs … her loving mother Bonnie by her side through every single moment. She became a medical phenomenon to every physician that treated her.
But the most incredible part of her complicated medical journey was how Jennifer managed it. Her emotional and spiritual life was her driving force. Her fierce will to combat her ailments pushed her through the toughest of times. Her deep and abiding faith in God kept her grounded. Her infectious smile kept everyone around her smiling as well. And her witty anecdotes and commentary were so filled with divine enlightenment you couldn’t help but be drawn into her. Jennifer left an indelible heart print on everyone she touched. As her Uncle Jack penned, “She endured four decades of spirit amid struggle, persistence amid pain, optimism amid odds that were never, ever in her favor … yet, her life was a profile in courage, year after year after year.”
Jennifer loved everyone she came in contact with. She gave of herself freely and with complete abandon. She was a true giver. She was so talented and crafty and sewed handmade gifts for all her family. She loved children so much, loved teaching them, and was employed for years as a paraprofessional educator. She had a beautiful demeanor of patience and care for the little ones. She especially adored all her nieces and nephews and doted on them. They all adored their Auntie Jenn right back! Her brother Ryan was her hero, her true north. Although he was always helping to care for her, she never failed to remind him that she was his big sister! He so loved his “Henn”.
Jennifer was also very blessed to have been a member of her heart family, the Coombs, with whom she resided various times over the course of her adult life until her passing. Her heart mom and dad, Voni and Bryant, her heart siblings, Mieka & Dan, Charissa & Todd, Alicia & Ben, Scott & Laurie, Marci & David and their children all loved her so much. They became an integral part of Jennifer’s life in so many ways. Her life and faith were enhanced by her relationship with Voni especially, as Jennifer considered Voni her other mom. She was also wonderfully blessed by Marci, who became her dialysis tech. Helping Jennifer in this way was such a loving and selfless gift that we know helped to extend Jennifer’s life. Jennifer was so grateful to have shared her home with Joshua, Bella and Hannah. All of the Coombs family were a part of Jennifer’s heart.
Jennifer had lifelong friends who emotionally sustained her. They continually inspired her and fed her soul. In turn, she also warmed theirs with her amazing energy, magnetic smile and her courageous GO TEAM perception on life. You know who you are!
During her teen years, Jennifer was a member of the Masonic organization Job’s Daughters including being crowned with the very highly respected title of Honored Queen. She was a spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation and represented Baxter International as a dialysis patient to the medical community. She was also a poster child for several years for Children’s Memorial Hospital, co-hosting the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. A highlight for her was being chosen to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs baseball game when she was 14 years old.
Jennifer is survived by her mother and stepfather, Bonnie & Bill Merriman, her dad and stepmother Clark & Nancy Farrell, her brother and sister-in-law, Ryan & Amy Farrell, her sister and brother-in-law, Heather & Jess Moore, her brother and sister-in-law Clark & Sam Farrell, her brother and sister-in-law Chris & Jill Merriman, her brother and sister-in-law Tim & Jessica Merriman, her sister and brother-in-law Pam & Dave Golnick, her aunts and uncles, Patty & Danny Yamat, Jack & Gail Vaughn, Harold & Barb Greanya, Dennis & Cheryl Farrell, Eric & Cynthia Foged, Steve & Arlene Merriman, Dale & Sue Strang, her great-aunts Eleanor Anderson and Ann Tye, and her nieces and nephews, Brady, Luke, Megan, Erin, Grace, Teagan, Amelia, Charlotte, Jack, Ryan & Gideon. She was also surrounded by a vast amount of cousin love from all over the country.
She was preceded in death by her biological father Garold Greanya, her aunt and uncle, Shirley and Jim Van Maren, and her many grandparents.
Services for Jennifer are as follows: Visitation will be held from 4:00-8:00pm on Friday, February 8, 2019 at Davenport Family Funeral Home & Crematory, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake, IL and again at 9:00am on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 480 N. Walkup Ave., Crystal Lake, IL. The funeral service will begin at 10:00am. Immediately following the service, there will be a private burial and then a light luncheon provided back at the church.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Jennifer on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, 236 W. Crystal Lake Ave., Crystal Lake, IL at 2:00pm with cookies and beverages to follow.
Memorial contributions may be made to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL.