Jennell Sorrell Obituary (2024) – Whately, Ma, MA

Jennell Cappo Sorrell
1947 – 2024
Whately, MA
Jennell Cappo Sorrell, a hospice nurse who coordinated patient care between the Visiting Nurses Association & Hospice of Western Massachusetts and the D’Amour Cancer Center for a decade died on February 26, 2024 at Linda Manor Extended Care Facility, Leeds, MA from complications of Alzheimer Disease. She was 76.
Born on November 18, 1947, in Mason, MI to Joe Cappo, a nationally known orchestra leader, and to Elsie Morrison Cappo, home maker and a secretary at the Michigan State University library, she graduated from Mason High School and from the University of Michigan, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and with an RN. After stints as a Medical/Surgical Nurse at the Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI and at the D.C. General Hospital in Washington, she became a public health nurse in the District of Columbia. She moved to Decatur, GA, where she served as a public health nurse in Atlanta. Upon locating to Springfield, MA, she worked as a Visiting Nurse for the VNA of Greater Springfield.
Settling in Longmeadow, MA, she took a 10-year hiatus to rear 3 daughters and her husband, during which she served on the boards of the League of Women Voters, of Jewish Family Services of Springfield, as Chair of the Sinai Temple (Springfield, MA) Social Action Committee, and as Co-President of the Blueberry Hill School (Longmeadow, MA) Parent Teacher’s Organization. Her passion for refugee resettlement started with the Interfaith Resettlement Committee in Longmeadow through Sinai Temple, Springfield MA, and continued with the Jewish Family Services of Springfield. For over 30 years she was instrumental in welcoming and resettling families from Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and Somalia. One family named a daughter after her. She taught English as a Second Language through the Diocese of Springfield Catholic Charities.
Jennell’s life work was making others feel comfortable and heard. She returned to the VNA in the early 1990s, but found her calling in hospice work, first as traveling nurse for the VNA & Hospice of Western Massachusetts and, in the 2000s, in what she called her dream job, as the Community Services Case Manager at the D’Amour Cancer Center of Baystate Medical Center. She was instrumental in establishing the first Palliative Care service in Western Massachusetts. After retiring in 2014, she volunteered as an instructor of nursing practice in Haiti.
Jennell was an elected member of the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee, an elected member of the Longmeadow School Committee, and an appointed Director of WFCR, the public radio station.
After her eldest daughter competed in the NYC marathon, Jennell felt challenged to do the same by age 55. She completed the NYC marathon at age 54 accompanied by her middle daughter. Over the next decade she ran with her Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club friends as a relay in the Falmouth marathon. Although Alzheimer Disease was impairing her memory, she was able to hike all 240 miles of the wilderness John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her 2 younger daughters in 2015.
Known for her ready and ever-present smile, her compassion, her quick wit and easy intelligence, she made devoted friends wherever she lived and worked. She is survived by Michael R. Sorrell, M.D. her husband of 50 years, her sister Jolynne D’Ornano of Birchwood, TN, daughters Elana (Adam) Rudiger, Johanna (Clayton Vetter) Sorrell, Alix Sorrell, 4 grandchildren (Henry, George, and Anna Rudiger; Rayland Sorrell Vetter), nephew Olivier (Yvette) D’Ornano, and a grandnephew and a grandniece.
The family thanks the Life Enrichment Program staff at Linda Manor for their care and devotion. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor the Refugee Resettlement Fund of the Jewish Family Services of Western Massachusetts. Her funeral was be held at the Congregation B’Nai Israel, Northampton, at 11 AM February 27, 2024. Shiva will be at the Sorrell home in West Whately on February 28, and 29, 2024 from 7-9 PM, with a memorial celebration to occur at a later date.

Published by The Republican from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2024.


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