Once or twice in a lifetime, if you are lucky enough, you meet someone that has that certain aura about them. Without trying, that someone demonstrates a love and appreciation for not only life itself, but the life that he or she was given. Sometimes we call these people “free spirits.” They embody that ‘I can do anything I put my mind to’ attitude, they do, they give, they encourage, and they spread love and light with every ounce of their being. They take the challenges they receive in life with an open heart and mind, and with unwavering faith. They choose joy over fear and they see the beauty in every moment.
Here at JSA, we were lucky enough to have that person as part of our every day, and this person was Stefanie Cronin.
On Tuesday, January 26th, while together on a call, our JSA family learned that Stefanie had lost her courageous battle with Uterine Sarcoma – PEComa, an extremely rare cancer. Stefanie, with her amazing and tenacious spirit, took on this battle with strength, grace, hope and faith in her heart – abiding by the very way she lived her life here on Earth. She never took one breath for granted. She never missed an opportunity to show her love and appreciation for her loved ones, her work, her beautiful Hawaii where she lived, her community, her surfboard, and so much more.
A beautiful ray of sunshine has been taken at such a young age.
For those of us who knew and loved Stefanie, our hearts are in pieces right now. Shortly after we digested the news of her passing, our JSA team came together in our grief and love for her and shared memories. To honor Stefanie, we wanted to share some of these with our community, focusing on what we loved most about her:
“Since the first time we met, and to your last courageous days, you were the embodiment of light, strength and heart. With your beautiful combination of an ‘old soul’ and ‘spirit for adventure’, you lived multiple lifetimes in your short few decades here. One of my favorite poets once wrote ‘Home Is a Holy Thing’- and there’s no doubt that you are home now, my fierce warrior, and you can now rest with your brother and beau and others, who have been waiting with arms outstretched. We here miss you- but are consoled that your hard fight is done and that we will see you soon. Namaste.” – Jaymie Scotto Cutaia
“Always approached work as she did with life; with a warm smile, a kind word, and a willingness to do whatever she had to in order to meet the needs of her clients or colleagues – through good times and bad, no matter the circumstances…” – Jeff Sesol
“With every obstacle faced, was a beaming light – full of hope, optimism and joy…I relished in all of her beautiful photos she shared of her life in Hawaii and the foods she ate, people she met, and stories she told. She spent the last part of her life in beautiful Hawaii by the ocean and in the waves she loved so much. She will be forever missed.” – Karissa Campbell
“…A free spirit with a beautiful soul.” – Terri Goggins
“Started a new life in Honolulu in 2013 and her own freelance business with some impressive clients. She also made it to the second round of Shark Tank for a beer cupcake company she was starting. While deciding against moving forward with the Shark Tank process, she did proceed to become pen pals with Mark Cuban! Before joining JSA in 2019, Stefanie also worked with Wonder Women Tech, a nonprofit that highlights, celebrates, educates, and amplifies Women, BIPOC, and underrepresented populations in STEAM. Even considering all of her career achievements, most importantly, she was a truly kind and warm soul, with bravery and tenacity. Her life is an example of how to pursue your dreams while being a light for everyone around you.” – Candace Sipos
“Always found time for her passion for surfing – a gift from her mother who, according to Stefanie, ‘was obsessed with it at her age.’ Her many Facebook posts showed her love for the water and the board, bringing them together as one, to enjoy the perfect wave. Through those pictures, she didn’t only share the adventurous side of surfing, but also the serene connection that she found during those times. The peace and joy that surfing gave her, whether reveling in the calmness of the water while she sat on her board, the wonder of God’s promise as we saw her in so many pictures with those amazing rainbows, or the pictures of those soft gentle breezes while sitting on the beach after, what we can only assume was catching that perfect wave, allowing herself to soak up the last bit of warmth from the day, watching the majestic glory of God’s sunset, knowing that things were just as they were meant to be. That spirit will forever be remembered.” – Melissa Butler
“She sent me this note on my birthday via FB messenger just over a month ago. It’s how i’ll always remember her. “Hi friend! Happiest of birthdays again to you! Jaymie’s recent bday email to you sparked a thought. Check out this vitamin when you have a moment. You can google it and then buy it on amazon. It’s pricey. About $120 for a small bottle but it’s supposed to be amazing for the immune system. My neighbor’s sister swears by it and he gifted me a bottle to try it and I’m hooked. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021 for the both of us. ❤️ Love you, Stef” – Dean Perrine
“Always knew how to make everyone smile and were the first to step up and help. You lived adventurously and like a child of the Earth.” – Talia Mejia
“Provided daily updates on the morning gang of dolphins that went by and her unbelievable adventures in Hawaii.” – Mary LaDuke
“Inspired me to become a better person and to always find joy.” – Laura Noland
“Made us feel in awe of her eagerness to come work for JSA even with all that was clouding her future. What an amazing person.” – Carl Sketchley
“A sweet friend who made our lives better because she was in it. I loved your gorgeous smile and above all, your kind heart. Keep smiling on us and sharing your kind heart with the world from above.” – Kealey Dorian
“Had such a sweet and positive spirit and that will forever live in our hearts.” – Vanessa Eixman
“Pushed a kettle ball through the Pacific Ocean to show her support for our strategy circle. Strength. How rare a thing to be at once kind and strong. Gentle and a force of nature.” – Barb Mitchell
“Took risks that not very many people could do with such tenacity and confidence which helped her not only reach her goals but exceed them. She was so sweet, kind, loving and optimistic.“ – Amy Chovanec
“Was a living reminder to be grateful for each day we get on this earth. Each day is a gift.” – Megan Wesley
“Could brighten anyone’s day; I am so happy to see that she was able to touch so many of our lives in a positive way.” – Blerim Mehmeti
“Holds a special place in my heart. She is the reason I am at JSA.“ – Bri Land
“Was so sweet and kind…May her memory be eternal.” – Buffy Harakidas
“Lived life with gratefulness and love and hope, and I can only hope her drive and taste for life has rubbed off on all of us.” – Katie Estep
“Had an ever present smile and an evident love of adventure. I am heartbroken and admire her courage and her battle to the very end. Rest in Peace Stefanie…” – Sheetal Werneke
“Stefanie and I worked together for 3 years in social media at another agency before we both came to JSA. But while I have known her longer than most, it’s clear that she equally touched everyone with her incredible kindness and positive spirit. Earlier this month, before she started radiation, we were texting and she mentioned how she was going to lose her hair with this treatment but “it’s fine because it will all grow back” …her next sentence was, ‘How are you and your girls?’ For all that she was going through, she never failed to ask me how I was doing. Because at the heart of it, this is who she was, and this is how I will remember her. She wanted everyone to feel loved, appreciated, and noticed. Even on her worst days, she never thought of herself as more important and she genuinely wanted people to know how she valued their friendship. She did not deserve for this to be the end of her story. My heart breaks for her -not having the long life she dreamed of…for her mom- who clearly was the guiding force behind raising this compassionate woman…and for everyone who was graced with her smile. Maya Angelou said, ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ For all she had accomplished in her life, kindness was at the core of how she spent her days and in the end, that is truly her greatest legacy of all. We are blessed to have been part of her journey…” – Erin Butler
As we say goodbye (but not forever) to our Stefanie, we extend our most heartfelt and deepest prayers to Stefanie’s loving mother, Beverly, who took care of her beautiful daughter from her first breath until her very last. Tragically, Beverly is experiencing the devastating loss of now two of her children; a pain no mother should ever have to bear. Our JSA Family is here for Beverly to support her and do all we can to help. Today, we lovingly ask those from our community who wish to help, to please consider contributing what you can to help Beverly as she endures these very hard days ahead, and click here for the GOFUNDME page we have set up for her.
Stefanie – our lives are better because you were in it. You touched so many lives in your short time here on earth. Your joy for life was infectious and will continue to live on in all of us. Thank you for just being you. Rest in peace our dear friend; may you enjoy all of God’s glories until we meet again…