Photo of Jennifer “Jay” Martell

Jennifer “Jay” Martell

The Brigham and Women’s community mourns the loss of Jennifer “Jay” Martell, BSN, RN, of the Intermediate Care Float Pool, who died Jan. 17 of stomach cancer. She was 54.

Mrs. Martell joined the Brigham 22 years ago on Braunwald Tower 10CD, the Neurosciences Intermediate Care Unit, and later transitioned to the Float Pool.

“Jennifer was one of a kind,” said Melissa Coughlin, BSN, RN, of Braunwald Tower 10BCD. “She was one of the strongest women I know. A funny, smart, caring, willful, determined, generous, warrior-type of woman. If nurses had numbers like athletes, hers would need to be retired.”

Siobhan Raftery, BSN, RN, CNRN, assistant nursing director of Braunwald Tower 10A and 10BCD, said she felt fortunate to have worked with Mrs. Martell.

“She was a gift, a rare gem. She always stopped to ask you how you were doing, about your family and kids,” she said. “She was a phenomenal storyteller, a dedicated nurse, mother and daughter who lived her life fully until her last moment. I will never forget her and will always miss her.”

Andrea Fonseca, MSN, RN, ANP-C, of Shapiro 8, reflected on the personal and professional lessons she learned from Mrs. Martell.

“I was a brand-new nurse when Jennifer and I met, and she taught me so many things — things about being a nurse, about standing up for what’s right, about navigating this world as a lesbian, about how to create a family and about how to be yourself and not care what anyone thinks of it,” Fonseca said. “Jennifer has left an everlasting impression on my life.”

Mrs. Martell loved adventure — skydiving, traveling and riding a motorcycle — but she was happiest at home, tinkering with something or working on a puzzle with her children and making everyone laugh, said her wife, Amy Hartmann Martell.

“Jay loved being a nurse, and she embodied all that being a nurse means. She created meaning in her life by taking care of others and would always make time for a friend, whether for conversation over coffee or to fix their broken lawnmower,” Hartmann Martell shared. “She was a problem-solver, a quintessential MacGyver and believed in working hard and getting a job done without fuss and fanfare. She had a magnetic personality. If you knew her, you loved her.”

In addition to her wife, Mrs. Martell is survived by their children, Lilja and Theo; her father, Robert “Jake” Jacobson; her brother, Erik Jacobson; and many other family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mrs. Martell’s name may be made to Debbie’s Dream Foundation, 2 S University Dr., #326, Plantation, FL 33324.