Jennifer K Gonzales Shushereba and her unborn child died on March 9, 2018. She was 32 years old. She is survived by her husband T.J. Shushereba; her parents, Mike and Kathy Gonzales; her brothers and sister-in-law, Steve Gonzales, Tim Gonzales and Lisa Paulson, and Greg Gonzales; T.J.’s parents, Ted and Deb Shushereba; her grandparents, Jerry and Rosemary Kirrene and Myra Gonzales; a large extended family; and a plethora of friends. They all adored her.
Known for her big heart, sharp intelligence, and keen wit, Jennifer grew up in Sacramento and Mountain View. A graduate of St. Francis High School where she enjoyed participating in many theater productions, she went on to receive a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. As part of her undergraduate studies, she spent a year abroad in Florence, Italy, where she indulged two of her favorite pastimes: eating and travel. She would continue to explore Europe and North Africa, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
After graduation, Jenn decided to help others by becoming a psychologist. She focused her efforts on serving veterans with PTSD because she was moved by their desire and commitment to getting better. She received her Psy.D. from the PGSP-Stanford Consortium at Palo Alto University, completed a predoctoral internship at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship at the Santa Rosa VA Clinic. She then became the clinical coordinator of the VA VITAL Program at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System before going on to work as a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco VA Health Care System’s Student Veterans Health Program. There she provided care and support to post-9/11 veterans at the Pathway Home in Yountville and for student veterans at Napa Valley College.
Shortly after returning to Northern California from Iowa City in 2013, Jenn met T.J. — the love of her life — on the dating website Match.com. After being #domesticatedandhappy for four amazing years, they married on March 18, 2017. Together they loved to cook each other simple but delicious meals, enjoyed “cozy time” on Walter (their couch), and listened to music and slow-danced the night away. She became pregnant later in 2017, and their daughter, Cecilia Rose, was due in June 2018.
A few more remarkable things about Jenn: She visited all 50 states by the time she was 30 and she spent a week each summer camping with family in the El Dorado National Forest. Most Saturdays she would visit with her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s disease, and they would often play the ukulele together. During the Napa fires last year, she volunteered with the Red Cross going from shelter to shelter looking for veterans to help. Jennifer loved books, movies, TV, and musicals. She often requested Thanksgiving dinner for her birthday meal in July, and her family and friends happily obliged.
Jennifer was an extraordinary person who embiggened the lives of others. Her absence will always be felt, and she is profoundly missed.
To help her incredible work with veterans continue, donations can be made in her honor to the Heart and Armor Foundation (https://www.heartandarmor.org/jenn)