BAXLA, Jennifer Lynn “Jennie,” age 40, died on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022, having been, in her own words, ”murdered by cancer.”
Born and raised in Kettering, OH, Jennie was an avid reader and writer from a young age, and she self-published her first book, a horror thriller called The Evil Summer, in 1994 at the age of 12. Her first job, while in high school at Fairmont, was at the Wilmington/Stroop Public Library, where it was never proven that she once stole the ‘L’ from the sign out front to make it say something inappropriate. Jennie attended Wittenberg University, where she was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and made dozens of lifelong friends with whom she got into countless shenanigans before graduating in 2004 with a degree in English. After toiling for years in multiple thankless HR positions post-graduation, Jennie finally found her true calling in non-profit work, first at the Victoria Theatre Association and later in animal welfare, where Jennie could feed her passion for animals (i.e. get paid to cuddle with puppies and kittens). In 2013 Jennie took a job at SICSA Pet Adoption Center in Kettering, where she worked as an adoption counselor and later as the manager of the volunteer program alongside some of the greatest people she has ever known.
Four years later Jennie became the volunteer manager in the wildlife center at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Lynnwood, WA, a job for which she, her husband, and their two dogs moved cross-country. At PAWS Jennie helped train volunteers to care for injured wildlife, and later worked in the marketing department managing the organization’s social media accounts. While living in Washington Jennie became a regular hiker, exploring the forests and beaches of the Puget Sound region. Jennie also developed an infectious love of birding, and discovered the joy of turning over rocks at low tide to look for sea creatures while tidepooling with her fellow animal-lover friends. Following her cancer diagnosis in late 2020 and multiple different courses of treatment, Jennie left PAWS, and she and her husband returned to Ohio in early 2022 to be closer to family. Jennie had an incredible way with words, and her most recent writing, in which she documented her cancer journey, can be found at jenniebaxla.com.
Jennie is survived by the love of her life, her husband of 12 years, Joe Grunenwald; her parents, Jim and Linda; her younger sister, Mindy; her dog, Pippin; and numerous beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, in-laws, and close friends.
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