Virginia Ann Jonas

Obituary of Virginia Ann Jonas


Levine Chapels

Virginia Ann “Gini” Jonas, 74, died early Friday, March 17, 2023, in her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband nearby, after a long valiant struggle with lung cancer. Gini was born in Haverhill, MA, on October 13, 1948, and spent her childhood in Haverhill. She was the daughter of Irving and Thelma “Tybee” (Servetnick) Jonas. She also lived in Allston, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, England, Sweden, and for many years in Cambridge. As a teenager, Gini spent some summer weeks with her family or a best friend in Bethlehem, NH, hung out at Salisbury Beach, and served on the Executive Committee of her senior class at Haverhill High School. Afterwards she had jobs that ranged from waitressing to nursing home and hospice social worker. After high school, Gini attended Lasell Junior College. Later she received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She also studied art, art therapy and anthroposophy at Emerson College in England and at the Steinerseminariet in Sweden. In addition, Gini had brief trainings in art at Rhode Island School of Design and in expressive arts therapy at Salve Regina University. In 1996 Gini received her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Boston University. Soon after she obtained her Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (L.I.C.S.W.) license and started a private psychotherapy practice, which she continued until the end of 2021. She had always been interested in helping others. She recalled that as a young child, coming down Route 1 past Danvers State Hospital up on the hill, she thought that someday she would help the people there. In the late 1980s, Gini worked for a time at the hospital, providing art therapy to the patients. Gini was a people person. She cared about what others thought and felt. She would ask questions, listen, elicit feelings, always showing genuine interest in others. She excelled in one to one communication: in person, on the phone, meeting over coffee or a meal, aways drawing the other person out, listening, as well as sharing her own thoughts and feelings. Even in larger gatherings Gini always tried to make sure everyone had a turn and helped them to feel included, asking sensitive questions, listening carefully, and responding to what they said. Growing up in Haverhill she made childhood friendships that lasted a lifetime, as did the many friendships she made throughout her life. The qualities that she exhibited with her husband, friends and family also extended to her patients. She knew many psychotherapy approaches and techniques, but she excelled in the feeling realm and her healing power came from the relationship, the connection, the unconditional positive regard she held for her patients. She provided them a safe place, listened to their stories and helped them heal their psychic pain. Gini had many interests and activities: sociology, psychotherapy, meditation and mindfulness, drawing and painting, gems and minerals, jewelry making, spirituality, anthroposophy, psychic abilities, astrology, gardening, flowers and plants, nature and natural beauty, health and wellness, nutrition, playing the violin, and of course, the people in her life: her husband, her sister, and so many others. She loved spending time with and adored her sister, her nieces, and their children—she was an honorary grandmother. Gini also loved to paint and draw with her nieces and their children. She used her innate intuitive wisdom to interpret the astrological charts of her friends. She loved the cats in her earlier life: Rehan, Sybil, and Elvira. She liked going to “the beach” and eating a lobster roll. She had a lifelong interest in art and in making her surroundings beautiful and healing spaces. Especially in recent years, Gini had treasured daily phone conversations with her sister about subjects mundane and serious, like what they would be eating at the next meal. She felt very close to her husband’s family, most of whom lived in Michigan. She and her husband were very in love, and always strove to communicate and work on their conflicts and improve their relationship while enjoying the good times. She and her husband sometimes said they were alike in different ways. A simple example: both of them were interested in the stars: he in astronomy, she in astrology, while they both shared the joy of gazing at the heavens. Gini enjoyed exploring and seeing the world, both before her marriage and after. In the summer of 1971 at the age of 22 she hitchhiked and traveled by train throughout Europe. In the early 1980s she lived in England and Sweden. Before they were married, she and her future husband rode the train from Boston to Los Angeles. After their marriage, she and her husband went with her family to France and Italy. She went with her husband to Michigan to visit his family and friends. Combined with his work travel, they went on sight-seeing trips to the American west, Alaska, Nova Scotia and elsewhere. Gini went with family members to Ecuador and Israel and to New York City when her niece lived there. She liked walking around the neighborhood, driving around the city, and going for rides in the countryside. For two or three weeks at a time over many summers, she and her husband vacationed at a rental cottage on Webb Lake in the western mountains of Maine, often joined by friends or family for a few days. Gini and her husband had a long history, meeting in early 1971. Then began a long, close, loving friendship with hints of romance while they followed different life paths until, finally, they got together and married on July 10, 1988 in Cambridge. Gini was the love of his life. They were soulmates; sometimes they struggled, but they worked on their relationship, talked things over, got help, learned from each other, and grew and matured together. The one constant was that they loved each other, were in love. Gini never doubted that her husband loved her and adored her, that he would always be there for her--that they were in it for the long haul. From the time of her cancer diagnosis, Gini and her husband were very appreciative of the care provided by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: the competence, patience, and compassion; the counseling given on-line by the Simonton Cancer Center in California; the medical care of other providers; and the brief but outstanding care by Good Shepard Community Care hospice. Gini is survived by her adoring husband, Lester L. “Les” Sackett, a.k.a. “Jack,” of Cambridge, MA, her dear sister Bette Jane (Jonas) Freedson and husband Raymond Amidon, of South Berwick, ME, her niece Laura (Freedson) Gainsboro and husband Keith Gainsboro and their children, Ella and Tess, of Newton, MA, her niece Julia Freedson and husband Arturo Falck and their children, Tovah and Ian, of Brookline, MA, other family members, and friends, including Brenda Wineapple, Malva Gordett, Kathy Evans, Leslea Logan, Martha Kelder, Holly Hauser, Barbara Heisler, Peggy Lynch, and many others. Gini greatly missed her dear friend, Barbara “Beau” Diehl-Peirce, who predeceased her. A memorial service was held at Levine Chapels, Brookline, MA, on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. Gini’s cremated remains will be buried at a later time. Donations in Gini’s memory may be made to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773. Gini loved walking on the pathways of the Audubon Society’s Habitat and its other sanctuaries and nature centers.

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