Jennifer Irene Merrill McLean, 30, of Fairbanks, went to be with the Lord peacefully at the University of Washington Medical Center, Friday, March 16, 2012, with family and compassionate friends by her side. Jennifer was born Nov. 20, 1981, to Ruth Anne Jacobson Merrill and Duane Howard Merrill in Fairbanks. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a terminal childhood disease, before she was a year old. It was a lifelong struggle. A proud accomplishment was realized when she earned a GED. Jennifer married Kyle McLean on Aug. 6, 2000.
Jennifer always wanted to be a mother. On Dec. 6, 2000, she beat the odds of her disease and gave birth to her beloved daughter, Barbara Ruth McLean. Jennifer enjoyed helping in the community with the food bank and other volunteer activities. Jennifer was an encouragement to children she met during her many hospital stays who also had cystic fibrosis.
It was difficult for her to hold a full-time job, so she was particularly happy and proud to help the "Balloon Man" with launching and retrieving the hot air balloon. Over time it became evident that she would need a lung transplant. She was blessed when she was accepted for the organ donor program and a much-needed companion came forward to go to Seattle with her. She received her new lungs on June 6, 2011, and came home in happy anticipation of a new life. She spent her last months living with her grandmother and enjoying time with her daughter, Barbara and her cat, Peaches.
Jennifer is survived by her daughter, Barbara; father, Duane Merrill; grandmother, Irene Jacobson; stepsister, Sara Curwen; brothers, Ryan, Cameron and Jacob Merrill; uncles, Philip and Daniel Jacobson; aunt. Naomi Ogden; friend, Jeremy Millington; furry friend Peaches; and many human friends. Jennifer was preceded in death by her mother, Ruth Jacobson Bottles.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at University Community Presbyterian Church, 3510 College Road, Fairbanks. A celebration of life will follow in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Road, 2nd floor Bethesda, Md., 20814 or Alaska Halo Foundation 3227 Arctic Blvd., Anchorage, AK 99503.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 3, 2012