Writer’s Relief lost a valuable and much-adored member of our team on Monday. It’s with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our friend, Jen Lateano, who began her journey with us almost five years ago.
Raised in New Jersey and incredibly proud of both her Lyndhurst accent and her Italian-American heritage, Jen was an excellent daughter and caretaker to her elderly mother, Millie, who was also her best friend.
Jen, an avid reader who loved to lose herself in a good story, was passionate about working for Writer’s Relief. She found a great deal of joy in assisting our clients and celebrated each and every time one of them became published.
A mosaic artist, she enjoyed creating magical pieces with glass gems, broken tiles, plates, and cups. Jen preferred to send cards in place of e-mails, and we feel that she played a huge part in the success of the sticker business. Any card she sent was plastered with stickers and filled with cheer or words of encouragement for both coworkers and clients. Her love of cheesy jokes was dwarfed only by her passion for cheeses of any kind. However, she was particularly fond of Gouda.
Jen will be forever remembered in our hearts for her kindness and generosity, her positive attitude, her perpetual cheer and cheeky sense of humor, her dedication to helping writers get published, her love of anything related to Halloween. But also each time we send a card, post a sticker, eat cheese, and/or say something corny, we will think of her. Having Jen as part of our family here at Writer’s Relief was truly “eggcellent.”
Please take a moment today and remember our gouda friend Jen. You can add your comments to some of ours below.
When you reflect on the passing of a friend, you hope it can be done in equal parts grief and celebration for a life well-lived, but the second part is difficult when someone you care about goes before their time. Jen was a friend to everyone she met, and I’m very proud to be included in that group. She will be dearly missed, and I will never laugh at another bad joke or pun without first thinking of her. –Michael
One of my favorite things about Jen was how every single time she spoke to me, whether on the phone or in an email, she always said hi and asked me how I was doing, or said that she hoped my day was going well. When she would call to transfer a client to me, she always took a second to actually say hi and ask how I was. Always. Every time. I suspect she did that with everyone here, and I think it shows just how much she really cared about everyone and wanted to connect with them and make sure they were having a good day. She sent people gifts and cards, would just randomly check in on us or send a joke or ask me what I’ve been reading lately or tell me she really liked an article I wrote, and whenever I was out sick or for some other reason, she would message me and say she hoped I was doing okay and that she was thinking of me. That sort of extra attention to the PEOPLE and relationships in our company was special. Jen worked to keep us all connected, and to keep us feeling more like friends and family. She was always ready to celebrate us and our clients in our happy moments, and always there offering support in the not-so-happy ones. Even while she was in and out of work more and more while taking care of her mom in these last few months, her attitude toward me and toward work was always positive and bright, and she was always kind (and always had a good emoji or a “cheesy” joke to share). Whenever I think of Jen, I will think of how she showed us all, every day, the importance of keeping the humanity, friendship, and connection alive in every environment, and how simple and easy it can be to do that.—Erinn
Jen was the most enthusiastic cheerleader at Writer’s Relief. Whether it was a client getting an acceptance or a coworker coming up with a good idea, Jen was ready with heartfelt congratulations and positive feedback. She offered warm support and encouragement to new staff members and the new clients in her care. And she never missed an opportunity to lighten things up with a silly ‟in-jen-ious” pun or “brain share!” declaration. I will miss her enthusiasm, humor, and readiness to volunteer whenever needed.—Carol
Madame Jen (as I called her) was one of those people who could tell you were feeling down, and would cheer you up with a corny joke or interesting anecdote. Her passion for reading and helping others showed in spades through her work at Writer’s Relief. I exchanged and discussed many books with her, and am thankful for all her wonderful recommendations. When I moved to Arizona for graduate school, she sent me many quirky cards with stickers and googly eyes and hilarious, yet encouraging words. I will miss her very much.—Dave
Jen and I did gift and card exchanges sometimes. She called me up one night to ask me what size shirt I wore because she found the “perfect shirt” for me. She was so excited about it. She was always tickled that I said “noodles” instead of cursing, and we starting saying it together as an inside joke after she gave me this shirt. She also sent me a card and postcard. She always had the coolest cards and stickers to share. For Easter, I gave her a bag of jelly beans that said “eggcellent” because that was one of her favorite words.—Sarah
I started at Writer’s Relief in our New Jersey office. Jen made me feel very welcome as the newbie. She had a way of putting you at ease, and she was very easy to work with. I’ll remember Jen for her good morning greetings, her sense of humor, and how personable she was. She will be very missed.—Pat
Jen was one of the first people I met at WR and I feel so blessed and honored to call her my forever friend. She always saw the best in everyone and had an incredible positive attitude even during hard times. She easily lit up any room she was in. I’ll miss her cool slang like eggcellent and every single pun. Jen was truly an amazing person and beautiful in every way. I’ll miss her every day. I have many happy memories to look back on with her and I’m so thankful for that.—Shannon
Jen was someone who I enjoyed getting to speak with at work. Jen was always friendly and kind to me. I looked forward to our interactions and getting to hear her puns and jokes; they really brightened my day. The brief moments when we talked during a call transfer always left me smiling because she always had something funny or sweet to say to me. Jen was always such a joy to talk to, and I wish I would have gotten the chance to know her better.—Kaitlyn
I only recently met Jen but liked her immediately, and this may have been because we shared a profound love of cheese and reading. She was always incredibly kind to me, and I really enjoyed her uniquely dry sense of humor. There wasn’t a time that we spoke or emailed that she didn’t send words of inspiration. The woman was full of love and light. Always encouraging, always uplifting, always kind. WR won’t be the same without her.—Moira
Jen touched all of our lives in a wonderful way. Check your thesaurus for the words thoughtful and kind. Every synonym describes Jen and her impact on the people around her. She made sure we felt her presence and caring every day. Now we will miss her every day. —Ronnie
I hope you’ve found peace. You deserve it. May angels lead you in.
I worked with Jen at the beginning of her start at WR, and I just loved her energy, puns, and drive to do well. She drew my name for “Secret” Santa one year, giving me gifts I’ll always treasure. I hope she’s at peace in her afterlife.
Beautiful tribute to my loved cousin. Thank you so much!❤️
I started at Writer’s Relief a few months after Jen did, and for the first year or so we shared an office. From the first moment we met, we were friends and, for a while, commuting buddies. Jen was funny and JENerous and brave, and she never failed to say thank you, even for the smallest kindness. She was always interested to know what was going on in my life–the good, the bad, the hilarious, the annoying. And she actually cared. She would check in with me for updates, even after I myself had forgotten about whatever little thing I was complaining about or laughing about. My life was richer with her in it. I miss you, Bud. Love you always. Rest in peace, dear one.
Friends at WR: Jen was my first contact with all of you. She was so friendly and supportive and after only a few emails, I started calling her Partner–which she said made her month.
Thinking about all of you,
I am new to Writer’s Relief and I was so sorry to hear of Jen’s untimely passing. She was my first contact with the company and was forever welcoming and supportive and informative. I spoke with her just last week along with the team, and can only imagine how hard it must be for such a close knit work family to get through this sad time. I wish you all the best, and Jen’s love of writers and writing will continue through our work together.
My deepest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues,
So sorry for the loss of Jen who helped me out on more than one occasion.
So sad to see this, so soon after losing Meg. My main contacts were with Meg and Jen, then Michael. Lovely people, all. And they placed all my stories which led to more developments but mainly, they were always gracious, kind, smart people.
Dear Writers’ Relief Family, I’m shocked and saddened to hear of Jen’s passing. What heart she had. This past August, my 22 year old niece passed away, and I couldn’t get on to the next cycle. Jen was so supportive, even sending a card. I can’t tell you what a comfort that was. She was my first contact with Writers’ Relief almost exactly one year ago. I had a feeling she was a geographical cousin by her accent and manner. God shine upon you, Jen. Thank you.
Valerie from Long Island, NY
So sorry to hear that such a wonderful person is gone.
So very sorry to hear about Jen. She was very helpful to me in setting up my website, and I liked working with her, and will miss her.
Thinking of you, Jen.
Deeply saddened by the loss of both Jen and Meg–always caring, smart and quick to respond, with such a love of writing. I am grateful for such personal and professional help and I send light to all those who mourn.
I am heartbroken. My friend, Jen, took an interest in me and my work when no one else did. Her sound advice, good humor, and unfailing words of encouragement kept me safely anchored while I navigated the stormy seas of agents, editors, and publishers.
Even more than her helpfulness, I will remember her generosity of spirit…and her inexplicable love of snow. RIP, Jen.
I’m so sad to hear of Jen’s passing. She was so supportive and encouraging. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.
I only began with Writer’s Relief two months ago and Jen was the person who shepherded me through the process. She was like a good mother- attentive and warm, providing guidance when I felt overwhelmed with the process. When she learned that my husband , who is also a member of WR, and I were celebrating our anniversary she sent us a card. I am saddened to hear of her death, though I knew her so briefly. I send my condolences to those who knew her for so mush longer. Her loss is great.
Jen always understood that writing is personal and that we write from both the heart and head. I used her as a sounding board for various pieces that I was in the process of submitting — what might fit this cycle and which didn’t quite hit the mark. Always, she always came back to me with gentle kind hints and direction that made me feel good. Her instincts about the writing market and us writers was always on the market.
Mostly, I came to feel that Jen was a friend and a person who cared both about my writing and all the journeys we travel. This is part of the unique service that Writer’s Relief provides — prodding us to continue writing, submitting and then giving us hugs for the minor mountains that we climb when we get published or rejected.
I am saddened that such a kind, caring and gentle soul is no longer with us. Jen clearly infused the office with humor, care, and fun. She will be missed. I feel lucky to be part of Jen’s writing family.
It’s hard to believe that Jen is gone. I just rejoined WR after a few months hiatus, and was so looking forward to working with Jen again. I think everyone who had the opportunity to know her can attest to her kind and encouraging spirit. Jen helped me through my first submission cycle (I got acceptances at two different publications!) She also sent me a handwritten greeting card to celebrate buying my first house — nothing like snail mail from a friend to make you feel at home in a new place. When I was rear-ended and had to take a break from WR to recover from a concussion, she sent me a handwritten get-well-soon card, and checked in on me now and again via email. Jen always went out of her way to show she cared about me. I am going to miss her!
So sorry to hear of Jen’s passing. Like many others who have commented, Jen was my first contact at Writer’s Relief and I always felt a special kinship with her. She was so friendly, interested, and helpful. I’m very sorry for your loss, but also sorry for mine.
Heartbroken! Jen was a lifeline for me! When WRelief rotated different “team” members, Jen was the steady one, holding the line for my website. I love seeing her pictures here, and reading the tributes — wish I had known how cute she was — I would have been even more in love!
I’m afraid she is almost certainly irreplaceable — but…Who will I write to now, at WRelief, to make entries in my website and cheer me on?
How sad this loss of Jen for our world. Ever-diligent and open-hearted, only knowing her through impersonal e-mail was profoundly insufficient. Still, her enthusiastic humanity shined through. Poor us. As the Irish say, Jen we hardly knew ye.
I came back to WR to work on stories for my 2nd novel, and Jen was the one who greeted me. We had a number of ‘welcome back’ conversations and then she read my first new story, and she talked to me about how she fondly and humorously remembered what I was writing about. She absolutely didn’t need to discuss the story, to be so encouraging, to laugh at my humor, to be totally funny herself, to be so warm, and kind, and encouraging. Except of course she did because that’s who she was. I can’t believe that this incredibly welcoming and genuinely caring voice on the other end of the phone at WR is suddenly gone. I’ve talked with Jen maybe 7 or 8 times and feel totally attached to her. I can only imagine the sense of deep loss her friends, family, and colleagues at WR are feeling. You have my deepest sympathy. Dear Jen, they are going to love you in the afterlife just as much as we are missing you here (and I’m sure they’ve given you a very pink, very lustrous complementary Mikimoto necklace).
Such sadness mixed with memory of Jen’s kindness, thoughtfulness and wisdom. My heart goes out to all who cherished her life and now her memory.
I loved her. And so I leave these words of mine for her:
wander the world, cross
the seas, hills, all, and lie
in land that remembers you
Our hearts are that land. Godspeed and shalom, Jen
I am heartbroken to hear of Jen’s passing. She was such a presence for me, even though I never met her in person, always cheering me on. I will miss her and never forget her.
New to Writer’s Relief and utterly unfamiliar with the process of submitting work, I was grateful for Jen’s guidance. We ‘spoke’ only by e-mail or by phone, but she was helpful and patient with my questions and puzzles. It is gratifying to read how those who knew her well, as colleague and friend, treasured her and now must mourn her loss. – J.P. Swartelé-Wood
Jen was always so cheery and welcoming when I called. Patient and funny, and kind.
My condolences to her immediate family, and her family at Writers Relief.
Jen was always helpful. What’s more, she cared. I appreciated that as well as her sunny disposition. RIP
I’m not sure I ever worked with Jen but she sounds quite delightful and I’m sorry to hear of her passing. The pictures above are just wonderful.