Jessica Lolita Mader

07/25/1931 - 03/01/2023


Obituary For Jessica Lolita Mader

SILVER LAKE - Jessica Mader, our beloved matriarch, lived a rich life that made her a ubiquitously appealing person. Her loving demeanor, magnetic personality, and ethereal beauty attracted people of all backgrounds -, neighborhood children, esteemed professionals, social workers, artists, cancer survivors, and healthcare professionals coalesced into a unique community whose common link was simply that they adored Jessica. She was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia to Martina MacLean and William Stanley Meikle during the Great Depression. She and her three sisters saw firsthand the renaissance of their city as a strategic WWII port and thriving industrial corridor. When Jessica moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for nurses’ training, she met the love of her life - young medical resident Carl Joseph Mader. They were a vivacious, striking couple. Though the Nova Scotia coastal stretch of Mader’s Cove would remain their home and namesake, their adventure began when they married in 1954. Jessica and Carl migrated to to northeast Ohio, where they shared a home, his internal medicine practice, and the raising of their four children. As Maritime transplants to the Midwest, Jessica and Carl introduced the Buckeye state to Canadian traditions like nighttime winter ice hockey and summer clam bakes. Jessica and Carl were always holding hands, hugging, or toasting one another along with friends. Christmas holidays were steeped in the traditions of midnight candlelight services at Silver Lake Church and singing classic songs at the player piano with loved ones. Their kids constantly played outside in the neighborhood but would listen for Jessica ringing her outdoor brass bell calling them to come together around the table for dinner. Jessica pivoted from nursing in the late 60s to raising Newfoundland dogs. Breeding, grooming, and showing the giant breed provided a unique identity in Silver Lake, Ohio village. In the 70s, donning bell bottoms and new-found independence, she studied art at the University of Akron, where she was popular among the younger students and the older faculty. The barriers of age, sexuality, race or social standing were never impediments to friendship with Jessica; she simply enjoyed being with interesting people. Her art degree developed her creative expression, and she spent most of that decade in the field as a photographer or in her home darkroom. Her lovely photos, paintings and charcoal drawings adorn walls across North America today. In the 80s, with a booming economy, Jessica immersed herself in the world of residential real estate, diving headfirst into listings and showings, not just for the income but for the supreme satisfaction of helping people find their perfect home to expand their family or settle into retirement Her enthusiasm and zest for living was always at the forefront, whatever she was doing, which ensured her outstanding success. As the 1990s emerged, Jessica’s four children began entering adulthood. Without skipping a beat, she and Carl transitioned into glowingly-proud grandparents, and “Nanacakes” became Jessica’s new moniker. She delighted in it; her grandchildren chanted it when she entered a room, and she adopted it as her new signature. She was never prouder of anything than she was of the wonderful children she raised and the wonderful children they raised in sequence. In the early part of the new millennium, Jessica joined the league of women challenged by breast cancer. She confronted this diagnosis as she dealt with any other impasse in her life - by spinning it into perhaps her most significant victory. After recovering from her cancer in 2007, Jessica and her surgeon, Dr. Douglas Wagner, co-founded a non-profit organization, the Dragon Dream Team, a dragon boat paddling team for breast cancer survivors. This team sport became her life-long passion. By elevating spirits, confidence, and fitness, she inspired hundreds of survivors as they bonded in overcoming this tremendous challenge together. The word “dream” is both an inspiration of what is possible and an anagram for her last name, “Mader.” Over the past two decades, the Dragon Dream Team has continued its mission, with Jessica either at the helm or as the emeritus founder, and now travels internationally, competing in races worldwide. This volunteer work so fulfilled Jessica that she often exclaimed, “I’m so glad I got breast cancer!” In 2011, Carl Joseph Mader was put to rest after a brilliant life as a soldier, medical doctor, son, father, and grandfather. His most consummate role was husband to Jessica, a marriage that extended over six decades. After his death, she moved to the Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson, Ohio, close to her youngest child, Valerie. Jessica was grateful to have Valerie‘s children, Fletcher, Alistair, and Josie, nearby. She continued to spend Thanksgiving holidays in Kentucky, a tradition hosted by her eldest daughter, Pamela Lessenberry, where she could indulge in special time with her beloved grandchildren MacLean, Palmer, Hewett, and Creighton. The family summer holidays in Mader’s Cove, Nova Scotia, continued through her last summer. In most recent years, the long trip from Ohio was lovingly facilitated by eldest son Roger. While there, he produced exquisite meals, served overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, often alongside her namesake grandsons Cole and Everett. In her last holiday season, Jessica gave her son Scott the greatest gift of all by relocating to San Diego with the help of her “bonus son, “John Flanagan, and “bonus daughter,” Tara Reuther. Jessica spent her final months there, nestled in front of the fire at night with a cocktail in hand, watching NHL hockey, accompanied by her younger son Scott, the muzzle of his Newfoundland dog, Nova, gently resting on her lap.Memorial contributions in Jessica’s name may be directed to the Dragon Dream Team:Diane Thacker, TreasurerDragon Dream TeamP.O. Box 26606Akron, Ohio 44319A celebration of life will be held later this spring at the Church in Silver Lake (and a Canadian ceremony this summer in Nova Scotia) – please check this newspaper,, or email Scott Mader for details:[email protected]

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  • 03/10/2023

    Jessica - "Your eyes are so blue"

  • 03/09/2023

    I met Roger Mader at Northwestern when I was courting my future wife in the early 80's. He was a genuine guy. Charismatic. Energetic. Bright but humble. Mrs. Mader deserves the credit for raising him. Nice job Nana.

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