Jennifer Lakari

SOUTH PORTLAND – Jennifer Lakari, 50, of South Portland, died at her home on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, after a two-and-a-half-year battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her devoted daughters, parents, siblings, and friends during her final days in hospice.

Though Jen was born in San Antonio, Texas, she and her family moved around during her childhood before eventually settling in Maine, where she graduated from Lake Region High School in 1991. She briefly attended school at Santa Fe College in New Mexico, where she met her future husband and the father of her two beautiful daughters.

Jen graduated from the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University In 1997, and in 2008, Jen became a certified sommelier. Food and wine became one of her passions, and among the many food venues she worked in were Fore Street, Grace, Purpoodock Club, Browne Trading, and Bow Street Beverage. When she opened Flock and Vine Bike and Beverage in Cape Elizabeth and, later, in South Portland, Jen taught others about wine, often hosting lively wine tastings and seminars.

Jen made a career change in 2019 to become the assistant to the Cape Elizabeth School Department superintendent, where she remained until the end of her life. Jen was known for her diligence, expertise, quick wit, and infectious smile. Jen made many life-long friends wherever she worked.

As an avid music listener, she searched for new bands and live shows and attended concerts far and wide. Jen enjoyed spending time outdoors, whether it was a walk on the beach, a marathon bike race, or hiking the many trails in Maine. She was often accompanied by friends and family members.

Last fall, while undergoing chemotherapy, she completed her goal of climbing all 48 peaks in New Hampshire over 4,000-feet with an overnight trip on the Bonds. Despite the hardships of her cancer, Jen continued to live a full life, doing what she loved and spending time with the people she loved, traveling to the Pacific Northwest, Quebec, and Iceland.

In her high school yearbook, Jen included this quote from Erica Jong: “And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Jen was always brave and willing to take risks, but never more so than during her battle with cancer. In January of 2023, she participated in an intensive NIH trial in which genetically modified T-cells were transfused into her body. The trial required almost superhuman strength and will, and Jen delivered. Though the treatment did not ultimately cure Jen’s cancer, she hoped her participation would contribute to a future cure for others diagnosed with her disease.

Jen is survived by her daughters, Sula and Zoey Flock of South Portland; her parents, Bob and Dee Lakari of Scarborough; her brother, Adam Lakari of South Portland; her sisters, Amy Lakari of Westbrook, Chris Lakari of Westbrook, and Pam Hinnen of Mercer Island, Washington as well as many others who loved her dearly.

She was predeceased by her brother, Jeff Lakari of Portland.

A celebration of Jen’s life for friends and family will be held at Grace in Portland on June 19.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Jen’s memory can be made to the Appalachian Mountain Club at

https://www.outdoors.org/donate/tribute-gifts/

Jennifer Lakari


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