Jennifer Moira Donnelly (aged 45), after battling cancer for 16 months, died peacefully at home in Falcon Heights, MN, on Saturday, August 29, in the loving care of her husband John Keogh and her mother Joan. Jen was born on March 13, 1970, in Chattanooga, TN. She attended elementary and high school in Stoughton, WI, from 1975 to 1988. She earned a B.S. degree in psychology in 1992 from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She later earned an M.B.A. degree from the Carlson School of Management at Minnesota in 2006.
For more than two decades she was a key member of the nationally renowned Minnesota Twins Family Study (MTFS). The MTFS began in 1989 by enrolling 1400 pairs of identical and same-sex fraternal twins and their families from the Upper Midwest. Starting in the year 2000, the MTFS enrolled a further 500 pairs of twins and their parents in an expanded program of research. All these pairs of twins have been studied as they move from childhood through adolescence and adulthood, with assessments of their physical, mental, and social changes. Since the mid-1990s Jen served as Principal Psychophysiologist, in charge of hiring and supervising the Study members engaged in data collection and analysis.
Jen had many pastimes and enthusiasms outside of work. She loved the outdoors. She greatly enjoyed biking, especially long distances around the Twin Cities and along the beautiful bike trails of Minnesota. She also delighted in taking long walks with her much-loved cockapoos Bentley and Maxwell around Como Park and around her home in Falcon Heights. Jen craved hot summer days, the hotter the better. Among her most enjoyed summertime activities was to drink evening cocktails at her favorite outdoor bars and restaurants. She also took many vacations to sunny spots, especially in Florida (Vero Beach) and Mexico. Though she hated those long Minnesota winters, she took enormous pleasure in Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas preparation and decorating. She assembled a magnificent collection of Christmas ornaments and relished the job of setting up multiple Christmas trees to display them. These holiday occasions meant so much to Jen because her life was centered on her family and her wide circle of friends.
Jen received wonderful care from the physicians and nurses at the Regions Hospital. We would like to thank in a special way Dr. Deanna Teoh, Patrice Moore, Val Crooks, Anne Rieber, Kandice Tolic , Caitlyn Winchell, Julie Anderson, Julie Nelson, and Diana Christensen-Johnston. We would also like to thank the home Hospice team.
In addition to her husband John, Jennifer is survived by her grandmother Mary Murphy of Woodbury, NY, her parents Jim and Joan (Murphy) Donnelly of Oregon, WI, her sisters Eileen Donnelly (Brad) of Roseville, MN, and Elizabeth Donnelly (J.J.) of Madison, WI, her niece Quinn Aibhlinn Donnelly of Roseville, MN, and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A Requiem Mass was celebrated at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1 Lourdes Place, Minneapolis, on Thursday, September 3, at 12 noon. Immediately after the funeral Mass there was a celebration of Jennifer’s life at Vic’s Restaurant, 201 Second Street SE, Minneapolis.