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Jennifer Middleton

Jennifer Middleton of Pawcatuck, Connecticut was born 11/28/60, and died 1/27/24. Jennifer is survived by her spouse, Nancy, and their three children, Naomi, Riley and his wife Hannah Gienau, and Hannah, as well as by Jennifer’s mother Gunilla Norris. Jennifer completed her B.S at Barnard College, Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude, her Masters in Data Science at the University of California, Berkeley in 2020, and was looking forward very much to going on for her PH.D given all the new developments in artificial intelligence. 

Jennifer had a very unusual combination of gifts and values. She had a brilliant analytical and strategic mind, combined with a complete devotion to figuring out the right thing to do, and doing it, period. She had absolute integrity, but also absolute compassion. For her, everything was subject to reflection and revision in light of the truth, which she believed always evolves if people work on it together. She lived a life of complete selflessness and service, though she never passed judgment on those who could not or did not. These qualities among many others made her a spectacular spouse, parent, friend, community member, and mentor. She helped countless individuals and companies, both personally and professionally, and led a truly exceptional and exemplary life.

Jennifer’s professional life was divided into roughly three periods. From the eighties on, she worked for all but one of the most prominent Wall Street investment banking houses of the time. She was instrumental in changing the structure of Wall Street fundamentally from the buy side to the sell side of the Street, thus restructuring the level of power down to what was called as a new profession of essentially ticket takers. She was fortunate enough to help during the 2008 housing crisis as well as the restructuring of the regional banking system. The next number of years were spent helping to stop a number of frauds, usually of the Enron variety. For the past ten years Jennifer was at Synchrony Financial. Starting as a consultant, she ended as VP, Data Protection Engineering Leader. She loved Synchrony’s ideals and values, and the chance to devote herself to technology and not just strategic work, and was at her happiest professionally. She loved and was excited for the future of Data Protection at Synchrony, which she truly believed was just now beginning to come into its own.

Jennifer was wholeheartedly excited for the next part of her journey. When she became suddenly ill and was finally forced to take some time off of work this past fall, she voiced the only regret I ever heard from her; she said she truly wished she had taken more time to realize how utterly beautiful the world is. Great advice, as usual.

We are so grateful to Jennifer’s medical team, Dr. Benjamin Newton and the whole wonderful Yale/Smilow Oncology group, who were so deeply dedicated and proactive, and to all of you who have been so generous in the wake of Jennifer’s genuinely unlooked for and certainly untimely death. For those who have expressed an interest in donations, please donate to the American Cancer Society, or there is a GoFund Me: to help support cremation and medical costs. Any unused funds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Thank you all. Your care has made this devastating time so much more bearable for all of us.

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