Jennifer Kachura, 28, lawyer, clerk for judge

August 06, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Jennifer Kachura, an attorney and law clerk to a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge, died Thursday of a pulmonary embolism while recuperating from back surgery at her Owings Mills home. She was 28.

A Baltimore native, Jennifer Anne Gandel was born weighing just 2 pounds and 10 ounces, and was in neonatal intensive care for nearly three months.

"She was a miracle baby," said her mother, Barbara Gandel of Owings Mills. "She was warm, generous, bright and enthusiastic about life. Her greatest desire was to have a child of her own."

A 1992 graduate of Pikesville High School, she spent two years at the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa chapter. She was a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School.

She was admitted to the Maryland bar in 2000, the year she became a law clerk to Judge Barbara Kerr Howe, who is now retired.

"She was just outstanding, very good with legal research and an excellent wordsmith," said Judge Robert N. Dugan, for whom she had worked since early last year. "She wrote exceptionally well. The words seemed to flow from her pen. She was well educated and had common sense. Without a doubt, she was heading toward a career as an outstanding lawyer.

"In many times during a trial, after reviewing the evidence, I would ask her opinion. She was perceptive and possessed a great deal of common sense. She was wise far beyond her years. She had a great maturity. She had my absolute trust and confidence in everything," Judge Dugan said.

"She was fun to be around. I loved her company," said county Circuit Judge John O. Hennegan. "She had a very good sense of humor, good at give and take. Everyone in the courthouse loved her. She had a strong will in a very good sense. She was determined and highly intelligent. I would have predicted a very successful future and law practice."

In October, she married Matthew Taylor Kachura, a University of Baltimore economist, who survives her. They met by chance at Oriole Park -- having gone with different sets of friends to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 13, 1997. They found themselves in adjoining seats, and soon began dating.

"We were inseparable after that. She was not a baseball fan until I started teaching her," her husband said. "She was my soulmate and my everything."

Mrs. Kachura also enjoyed home decorating. She did flower arranging and made jewelry.

Services were held Friday.

She is also survived by her father, Dr. Larry Gandel of Owings Mills; a brother, Brian Gandel of Owings Mills; and her maternal grandparents, Mildred and Stanley Aronoff of Tampa, Fla.

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