In Memory of Jen Gambardella Puglise
On Thursday, February 14, 2013, at the age of 36, Jennifer Gambardella Puglise, with friends and family by her side, passed away in Lake Ridge, VA after a six year battle with colon cancer. Jen maintained a positive outlook throughout her illness. This was exemplified in her work as the Ambassador of Hope for the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, an organization working to find a cure for colon cancer. She was a spirited member of the Chris4Life team where she represented HOPE in its purest form. Throughout her life, Jen was known as a strong, passionate, young woman full of laughter and creativity, who exemplified all that life could and should be. Jen was born on August 2, 1976 on Staten Island, NY to her parents, James and Mona Gambardella. She grew up in Toms River, NJ and later moved to Northern Virginia. She graduated from Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, VA in 1995.
After high school, she attended Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, VA where she received a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1999. Jen worked for the National Italian American Foundation where she promoted her Italian heritage and culture. After marrying the love of her life and "True Companion", Joseph Vincent Puglise Jr., in November 1999, she followed her dream and became a wife and mother where she created a loving environment to welcome and entertain her many friends and family.
Jen gave birth to her only son, Rocco James Puglise, in September 2005. She proved to be a loving and nurturing mother as seen by Rocco's smiles, joy, and laughter. She actively volunteered at Rocco's school and also pursued her passion for health and fitness by becoming a certified aerobics instructor where she helped others live healthier lives. Jen was diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2007. She endured many rounds of treatment to courageously fight this disease while continuing to maintain the loving home for her family.
Throughout her battle, her husband, Joe was constantly by her side providing love, support and encouragement. Jen was always surrounded by friends and family, who were a source of comfort and joy during her illness. She strongly believed in the symbol of the acorn, representing the virtue of living life to its fullest even with the knowledge that life is not guaranteed. She believed that the acorn symbolized immortality and she hoped that by spreading her knowledge and love, others could reflect on her journey, and with those remembrances her soul would become eternal.
Jen is survived by her husband, Joseph Puglise Jr.; her son, Rocco Puglise; her mother, Mona Gambardella of NY; her father and step-mother, James and Brenda Gambardella of CA; her in-laws, Joseph and Donna Puglise of VA; her sisters, Jackie McGowan and Tanya Gambardella of NY; step- brother Jake Metelits of VA; and an extensive circle of loving family and friends.