The best part of a neighborhood are the neighbors. Wallyhood heard from the sister of Jessie Kerani Aleya VanVorhis, a longtime Wallingford resident and friend to many, who recently passed. The following words about Jessie are shared by Naomi Strand (one of Jessie’s sisters).
Jessie Kerani Aleya VanVorhis, an amazing blaze of energy in a small body, passed away December 29th, 2022 at the age of 35. Jessie was born in Calcutta, India and died on Whidbey Island, Washington. Her special powers were her electric joy and ability to connect with people.
She moved to Wallingford when she was about 8 years old and, as an adult, she lived for many years in her own apartment in Wallingford. She was well known throughout the Wallingford community and forever called herself the Mayor of Wallingford. She worked at Archie McPhee and was a staple as a greeter at the Wallingford QFC for years. While she lived in her own apartment off of Stone Way she would drive her wheelchair up 45th greeting everyone along the way on her way to and from work at QFC.
Every year on her birthday she had a family gathering at Chutneys in the Wallingford Center and they made sure to have her favorite dish added to their buffet for her celebration. Everyone at Chutneys treated her like family.
At her Celebration of Life on February 25th, her primary care doctor talked about meeting Jessie for the first time as she rolled the streets of Wallingford making friends with everyone even before he became her doctor. Jessie had an impact on her community that most of us would only hope to have, as she either knew you or wanted to get to know you.