Jessica Lynn BeCraft
Last updated 9/15/2021 at 2:43pm | View PDF
Jessica Lynn BeCraft, nee Gilbertson, 37, of Western Springs passed away Sept. 6, 2021, with her family by her side after a 43-month battle with ovarian cancer.
Jessica was born in 1984 in Rockford. She attended Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford and went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her career with Kohl's in Milwaukee and later earned an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business before moving to the Chicago area, where she joined Kraft Foods in 2011. With Kraft, and later Kraft Heinz, she worked in marketing, brand management, general management and human resources in roles of increasing responsibility. She managed familiar brands such as Jello, Back to Nature, Velveeta and "Blue Box" Mac-and-Cheese. She was revered by her co-workers as a great colleague, leader, friend and mentor.
Jessica possessed a great mind and an even better witty, fun and sometimes brutally honest personality. She had a real a sense of adventure and a tremendous love of friends and family. She was loyal and giving to those around her and always the party planner who loved bringing people together for special occasions and holidays.
She especially loved Christmas. She enjoyed watching Christmas movies in July, decorating the house a little too early, and playing Christmas music as soon as she saw the first snow every year. She loved to sing, a trait she has passed on to her daughter. She loved to travel near and far, including her favorite stops across the world in Singapore, Sweden, New Zealand and Hawaii. Cancer did not take away her love of travel, as she enjoyed planning annual trips to lake towns throughout Michigan, where she made her happiest memories surrounded by family on the water.
Jessica loved to serve others and make an impact on the community. She was a mentor with Chicago Scholars and was an active member at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church, where she sang in the Deck the Hall choir. She became an advocate for ovarian cancer awareness and research through the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, where she actively shared her experience with medical students through OCRA's Survivors Teaching Students program to improve their awareness and become compassionate physicians. Recognizing the need to advance research in low-grade ovarian cancer specifically, she used her professional skills and go-getter mentality to bring together other like-minded survivors and co-founded the STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation, which is dedicated to funding the work of scientists who are focusing on low-grade ovarian cancer. As of today, STAAR has raised more than $250,000 for medical research and her legacy will live on through the organization.
Jessica and her family would like to thank her friends, her co-workers at Kraft Heinz, her Northwestern Medicine care team, and the ovarian cancer survivor community for their love, care and support.
She is survived by her husband of five years, Douglas BeCraft; her 3-year-old daughter, Harper BeCraft; her mother, Diana Gilbertson; her brother, Nicholas (Christina) Gilbertson; her niece, Emilia Gilbertson; her father, Thomas Gilbertson; her grandmother, Joyce Gilbertson; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial Mass was held Sept. 13 at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chicago.
Interment is private.
A memorial will be established in Jessica's name at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In lieu of flowers, please donate via Venmo to @nick-gilbertson-2 or via Zelle to [email protected]
Sullivan Funeral Home Hinsdale handled the arrangements.