I know that the entire Essex Fells community joins me in expressing our tremendous, heart-breaking sadness over the passing of one of our dear friends and residents, Dr. Jan Huston-Pryor, who died so tragically Tuesday morning, March 21, 2017. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to her husband, Jonathan, their twelve children, and family.
Our entire community is in pain and beyond sorrow and despair over Jan’s passing. To say that Jan/Dr.Pryor/loving wife/adored mother/dear friend touched the lives of literally thousands and thousands of people is an understatement. Through her work, her vision, her and Jonathan’s definition of “family,” and her commitment to making this world a better place by actions, not words, Jan’s legacy will forever be wonderfully remarkable and pristine. We, in Essex Fells, were privileged to call her one of ours and we shall miss her very much.
We are a small community – the smallest town in Essex County – and we are a tight, caring, loving community, where neighbor knows neighbor, families know families, and where we all look after each other. The Borough of Essex Fells stands arm in arm, in love and support with Jonathan and their remarkable family. As we have done when others in our small town have faced such tragic losses, we will respond to them with a tremendous outpouring of love, compassion, support, and faith. We have seen time and again our little blessed community come together in love and support for families who have tragically lost loved ones; and we have seen the inherent goodness in our little community. As a town, we will mourn and cry with Jan’s family over their loss.
Our Chief of Police, William Theilacker, and I solemnly spoke together on the afternoon of her passing in his office before going to visit with the family. It was quiet, intimate meeting of just the two of us – one being the leader of our police department and one being the leader of the governing body and the community. It was a meeting that left us both with the feeling that, despite our ability on the one hand to influence and change certain things, in this instance, we were helpless. We were only left with our best efforts to try to assuage the anguish of the Pryor family’s bereavement. This sense of helplessness hurt. And it hurt a lot. It was a meeting that this Mayor will never forget.
If there is one thing that I could tell Jan’s family right now, it would be that, please know that the Borough and its people will be there with you as you cry, you mourn, you remember, you love, and with God’s grace, you heal. And I hope that they know that even in the darkest hour, they will never be alone; for Essex Fells is always with them during this most difficult time and for the time to come, with love and support and faith.
God bless Jan Huston-Pryor, God bless Jonathan and their children and family, and God bless Essex Fells.
Edward P. Abbot
Borough of Essex Fells