Jennifer Lea Riedel

June 20, 1989April 9, 2022
Obituary of Jennifer Lea Riedel
Jennifer Lea Riedel, lovingly called by many nicknames - "Jen", "Henny", "Jen Doodlebug", "Jenni", "Juniper Breeze", and "Mrs. Kaess" - to name a few, passed away at the age of 32. Jennifer Lea “Jen” Riedel lost her battle with mental health on April 9th, 2022. She is survived by her husband, Felix Kaess; her parents, Mitzie and Philip Riedel; sister, Annah Riedel; future brother-in-law, Sharif Behrooz; grandparents, Ronald and Arlene Riedel; and aunt, Jane Harris. She is survived by and was deeply loved by all her aunts, uncles, and cousins: the Malones, Robinsons, and Wrisingers. She is also survived by her family in love, Felix’s parents, Marlis and Helmut Kaess, and his brother's family, Arthur, Ansgar, Armin, Meike, and Friedrich Kaess. She joined her fallen loved ones in Heaven on April 9th, Teresa Riedel, Alice Malone, Jack Malone, Donna and Bill Bull, and many others who deeply loved her. They hold her closely now. Jen was born in Cary, NC on June 20th, 1989. She first lived in a small townhome in the Silverton community. In 1995, her family moved just down the road to a home where the family lives now. In the early years, Jen, Annah, Mitzie, and Phil spent a lot of time at the Silverton pool. She swam for the YMCA of the Triangle Area swim team at the Cary YMCA. She attended summer camps at the YMCA and participated in Leaders’ Club from 9th-12th grades. As a family of four, Jen, Annah, Mitzie, and Phil spent a lot of time together at UNC football games, hockey games, and on the road to visit family in Missouri, Michigan and Tennessee. They also regularly took staycations at Embassy Suites just down the road. Together they built a foundation of happiness, love, safety, and warmth. They played pooh sticks on the greenway trail, did skip circles, had dance parties, and supported one another. Jen inspired her family to always consider how to love the environment better and to not worry so much about time or accolades. She really cared about the simple things in life: sunshine, the ocean, composting, fresh air, travel, and quality time. Growing up, she attended Northwoods Elementary, Reedy Creek Elementary, West Cary Middle School, Cary High School, and then went on to receive her Bachelor's degree from UNCW. She majored in International Business and minored in Spanish (but she really majored in beach time, surfing and yoga!). Wrightsville would come to hold many precious moments for Jen, Felix, and the whole family in her adult years. In college, she studied abroad in Mexico where she discovered a love of travel. She went on to travel to Canada, South Korea, Colombia, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, Turkey, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, China, Sweden, Hungary, and many cities here in the USA. She also went to Detroit once. Everywhere Jen went, she built a community of people who loved her. She was the best at maintaining relationships near and far. In 2014, she met the love of her life, Felix Kaess. They got engaged in February 2017 at Wrightsville Beach and married in June of 2018 at Wrightsville Beach. Felix came to the United States to study and met his wife in a bar in the men's bathroom line. That was the thing about Jen. She never played by the rules. She dared to be different, to live fearlessly. She ended up meeting her husband just because she knew the men's line was always shorter. From the day they met, they were completely in love. They pushed one another, talked about hard things, and cared for one another deeply. Felix’s family opened their hearts and their homes to Jen, Annah, Mitzie, and Phil. Even though the distance between the two families was great, their connection was strong. They stayed connected via calls on holidays and sang songs through Zoom from across the ocean. There is no doubt that Jen was deeply loved and admired by the Kaess family. Felix and Jen went on so many adventures together. They showed people the value of singing, dancing, sharing a large cup of ice cream, biking, and staying a little longer than they were supposed to. They were madly in love and deeply cared for the world. Together, they had so much happiness. Felix deeply mourns for his wife who left him too soon. Her soul belonged in the ocean, at the beach, or in a new place. Jen was open minded, loved nature, she listened. She never spoke poorly about others, instead she talked about ideas. She deeply cared about making people’s dreams come true. She spent her life helping others. A beautiful life indeed. Jen was the most humble, so much so that as a family we cannot begin to list all the communities that she served. It’s just important to know that Jen was in the room. She was in the conversation. She was doing the work. She was fighting for a better future not just for herself but for everyone. She deeply loved, cared and felt an urgency to take care of others and the environment. Notable Accolades: Climate Reality Corps Leader (2019), 1 of 50 Selected Global Shapers for Summer Davos (2018), Facebook’s F8 Hackathon Grand Prize Winner (2018), Appointed Curator for the World Economic Forum Global Shapers (2016), StartingBloc Innovation Fellow (2014). To read more about her work and her contributions see her website Jen will never stop amazing those that knew her. In lieu of flowers, gifts and food, those that survive her ask that you please consider the following: Donate to: Look into: If you’re looking for smaller ways to celebrate Jen, please: skip the plastic straw, use reusable bags, care for the Earth, swim in the ocean, call someone you love today, feel the breeze on your face, step into the forest, hug a tree, stretch, show kindness, and keep on living. Finally, some words from Jen (2015): “But what I ask you is, what are you going to do with this one wild and precious life? You have years ahead of you and you do not equal your story. Make the most of it and don’t be scared. Love, Jen" A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, April 22nd, Earth Day, in honor of Jennifer's love of Earth Day and concern for the planet. The service will begin at 11am at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, Cary, NC 27511. A reception will follow. For those who are able to attend in person, please come as you are! Even better, honor Jen by wearing flip flops, bright colors, beachy/casual clothing. Please don't wear "funeral clothing"/black, Jen wouldn't want that! For those who are unable to attend in person, the service will be available via livestream through the link below in the services box. Fond memories, photos, and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the family.

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Past Services

Friday, April 22, 2022

Celebration of Life Service