Jill’s Funeral Service will be webcast from the Funeral Home. To view her service, scroll down to the “Watch Webcast” link below
Loving Wife, Sister, Aunt, Friend
Jennifer Gill “Jill” Aszling, 74, a longtime resident of Arlington, MA, and more recently Acton, entered into rest on January 5, 2023, from complications associated with diabetes mellitus that she developed at age 12. Jill was the beloved wife of William R. Shek, DVM, PhD, with whom she had celebrated 40 years of marriage on July 9th of last year.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, August 17, 1948, a daughter of the late Richard and Carolyn (Gill) Aszling. Jill was raised in Old Greenwich, Connecticut on Long Island Sound. She earned her BA degree, majoring in English, from Skidmore College in 1971.
In 1976, Jill moved from Indianapolis, IN to Ithaca, NY to become the Registrar at the Cornell University Johnson Art Museum. That same year, Jill was introduced to Bill, who was a student at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, though several years would go by before they became a couple and began their long journey of love and devotion. They married on July 9, 1982, in Ithaca, NY and moved to Arlington, MA. Jill accepted a registrar position at the List Visual Art Center at MIT, where she worked for almost 20 years. She spent the remainder of her career at the Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, retiring at age 62.
Jill was an active member of the Arlington community, serving as chair of the Arlington Arts Council, and as a member of the board of directors for the Old Schwamb Mill Preservation Trust. She was also a member of the New England Museum Association and Registrar’s Association.
By 1988, Jill’s diabetes had caused her kidneys to fail. That year, she received an experimental kidney-pancreas transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital, with the hope that the normal blood glucose levels maintained by the pancreas would halt or slow the progression of Jill’s devastating diabetic complications. It worked for 35 years, thanks not only to the efforts of Jill’s doctors, but also because of Jill’s indomitable spirit and determination.
A master knitter, crocheter and seamstress, Jill’s favorite projects included handmaking dolls and Christmas stockings for her beloved nieces. Jill had an amazing mind. Her sponge-like memory was particularly helpful to Bill when he needed to find something he misplaced, which happened often. Her sense of humor was legendary, quick, and quirky, often keeping everyone around her in stitches. Like her father, Jill had a facility and talent for writing. She enjoyed composing clever limericks and wrote the lyrics to musical parodies that Bill performed at his brothers’ weddings.
Jill was outgoing and social, relishing the comradery of her coworkers and friends, whose love brought her strength and resilience. Most of all, family meant the world to Jill, and she cherished every moment spent with them. May her memory be for a blessing.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sisters, Kristen A. Howard and her husband Robert, and Gretchen G. Aszling, of Maynard, a brother, Philip E. Aszling and his wife Sheila of Chicago, IL, nieces Ingrid, Karen, Tina, and Gretta, nephews Richard and Nicholas, and nine great-nephews.
Jill Aszling’s Funeral Service will be held at the Morse-Bayliss Funeral Home, 122 Princeton Boulevard, Lowell, on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at Noon.
Interment in Temple Beth El Cemetery, Chelmsford. Please omit flowers.
Following the burial, family will receive friends at Congregation Beth Israel, 6 Dundee Park, Andover, with a Shiva Minyan Service at 7 PM.
Friends may make memorial donations in memory of Jill to:
Visit Mass General Brigham
Juvenile Diabetes Foundation