Jessica Bridgette Albrecht died Sept. 14, 2021.

“Jessie” (aka “baby toes”) was born at United Hospital in Port Chester on Mar. 7, 1967 to Lillian (Kaplan, PCHS ‘61) and Robert Albrecht (Iona Prep) with a high Apgar score. In the intervening year, she became a spastic quadriplegic because of Rett Syndrome which left her developmentally delayed and nonverbal. For many, that defined her and was the sum total of who she was. For her family and the staff who cared for her, Jessie was an angel on Earth. She had eyelashes that would make any Kardashian jealous and blue eyes that, when connected with you, spoke volumes she could not. She understood far more than anyone could imagine.

Jessie had a wicked sense of humor. She loved pratfalls, The 3 Stooges, wrestling and music. Her first movie with family was “Zookeeper,” and she was mesmerized by that. She loved to have an effect on people and would laugh if you bumped her head and acted hurt. She taught us her version of peek-a-boo and we played it often. She taught us so much. She taught us how to care for her, and in doing so, she accepted us when we were messy, crazy, rushed, loud, angry, silly, etc. Jessie was always happy to see us. Most of all, she taught us that words aren’t always necessary.

She was predeceased by her father, Robert D. Albrecht. She leaves behind her loving mother Lillian Albrecht Sands (née Kaplan), stepmother Toni Eaton and her sisters Hope Klein (husband Dr. Steven Klein) and Rebecca Oling (husband Scott Oling), both of Rye Brook. She also leaves her niece Madilyn Klein and her nephews Greyson and Bryce Oling (as well as the family dog, Kippur, who made her laugh when he licked her face). Each of us loved her deeply and each in our own ways.

Jessie lived in a New York State group home as part of the Taconic State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (aka DDSO). When you fight a group home in your neighborhood, you ensure families like ours need to travel long distances to see their loved one. Her home was in Amenia, N.Y. There, Jessie leaves behind her other sisters at the group home: Josephine, Ethel, Susan, Patricia, and Mitra.

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Jessie’s other family—the staff of the DDSO who cared for her day in and day out, often at the expense of their own families. The homes are always understaffed and overworked. These are state workers who get some of your tax dollars and very little respect for all they do. They are not even allowed to use those dollars to buy creamer for their coffee. The family believes this is shameful and that we can all do better by them and their efforts to create a loving home for those society often prefers to forget as we go about our daily lives. The family has set up an Amazon wish list (https://tinyurl.com/JessieAngels) for the group home so the staff can continue to make the home they dream of for the residents.

In the spirit of giving and love, the family has donated Jessica’s brain to the Harvard Brain Bank for the study of Rett Syndrome in the hopes of helping other families as she was one of the longest surviving people with the condition.

In lieu of flowers, donations to either Congregation KTI https://www.congkti.org/ (which made a home away from home for Jessie so she could attend her first family events) or a cause of your choice are appreciated.