A candle in the wind

By Teja Anderson
Monmouth Beach — If sunshine could be a person it would be Stacey Gregerson Weathers. Blonde, beautiful, sparkly, warm, effervescent, kindhearted and sincere, Stacey brought light, love and hope to everyone who crossed her path for 46 years.

Stacey and her husband Gerald enjoy an MB sunset.

Born on March 29, 1969 to Margit and Henry Gregerson of Monmouth Beach she had an older brother Henry Jr. and two younger sisters, Christina (now Nonnemacher) and Rebecca.
Stacey had a wonderful childhood filled with friends, family and laughter, a beautiful daughter Emilie from her first marriage to Tim Boman, a highly successful career in the world of charity fundraising with her idealistic goals set on finding a cure for blood cancers. Stacey had also found love again with a wonderful 10-year marriage to Gerald Weathers.

Stacey and Gerald were planning to celebrate this milestone with a trip to South Carolina on October 2, but Hurricane Joaquin was tearing up the Jersey coast so they postponed their trip for a day. The next afternoon Stacey picked up their rental convertible and was on her way home to Tinton Falls when, while driving through Colts Neck on Route 34, high winds and incredibly unfortunate odds brought the top of a huge tree down on top of her vehicle, killing her instantly.

Stacey’s death brought shock and a deep sense of loss felt all around the world. From the close-knit community of Monmouth Beach to the West Coast in California and Arizona, where her sisters and all her nieces and nephews live, to the island of Hasslö, Sweden, where she had many relatives she had just reconnected with. To them and to the to the cancer cure community it felt as if the world had been plunged into darkness.

By all accounts from her family and friends, Stacey had a great life and lived it to the fullest. She grew up in Monmouth Beach, first on Riverdale Ave and later on South Street. She and her best friend Kelly (nee Ryan) Benedit were born just a few months apart, and as their moms Margit and Maureen were best friends the two were always together. They would dig in the sand and frolick in the waves at Little Monmouth, play in a neighborhood with few fences and lots of free-roaming kids. They would hold skating races on the frozen Shrewsbury River at Griffin and Shorelands parks (with hot cocoa provided by the EMS truck parked there). They rode around town on Stacey’s hot pink Huffy bike with Kelly on the handlebars as they tried to hit every bump and pothole for the sheer joy of it, shrieking with delight, licking chocolate chip mint ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles every weekday after school.

As they got older, they slathered themselves with baby oil and used a tinfoil wrapped double album cover to achieve the perfect tan from the roof deck.

Once they were old enough they got jobs together at Lou Sodano’s Corner Store where they would giggle and muddle their way through sandwich orders. Often as not they got them wrong, but charmed the customers with their contagious laughter.

Later Stacey did much better as a hostess at The Haulout (later it was Sallee Tee’s and now The Beach Tavern) and was a favorite for babysitting gigs where she loved to
play with the young kids and make marshmallow treats for them.

Stacey also loved to participate in the town’s Annual Variety Show where she proved to be a talented singer and dancer. In high school at Shore Regional (class of ‘87) she started cheerleading and turned out to be an excellent softball player – a talent she passed on to her daughter Emilie who is currently a third baseman for the Susquehanna University Crusaders in Penn. as a sophomore.

Stacey started college at Elon University in North Carolina but returned to the area to finish up at Monmouth University where she was a DJ on WMCX 88.9FM. After graduating in 1991 she took a job with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which laid the groundwork for a career in helping others as she moved on to work for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ultimately becoming Executive Director for the NJ Chapter.

As head of New Jersey’s chapter of the LLS she brought light and hope to those who had none, helping to raise $7 million annually for blood cancer research during the 11 years she worked there.

Stacey was recently posthumously awarded the national winner of the society’s “Light The Night Executive Challenge.” Out of over 1,600 corporate executives across the country fundraising for the LLS as Executive Challengers, Stacey’s campaign (supported in part by her colleagues after her death) raised nearly $50,000 more than the runner up and more than triple last year’s winner.

Overall the challenge raised $6.4 million for LLS this year, its mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Stacey was diagnosed with type one diabetes after the birth of her daughter Emilie but it seldom slowed her down and she never complained or felt sorry for herself, always remaining upbeat and cheerful and certainly, of all her accomplishments, Stacey was most proud of her daughter Emilie and their close relationship as they were; “true Buds”.

“As beautiful inside as out” was a tribute expressed often in the days and months following Stacey’s passing in the postings on her and her family’s Facebook walls, by the hundreds mourners who attended the Mass of Resurrection and Celebration of her Life at the Church of the Precious Blood in MB, in the multitudes of letters and Mass cards sent to her grieving parents and by her colleagues in the challenging world of finding a cure for cancer.

As one friend noted, “She was sunshine on a cloudy day.” Another posted that Stacey had inspired her to become a blood marrow donor.

A lover of lightning and thunderstorms, Stacey was both a fair and a foul weather friend; always up for a glass of wine and sharing fun, laughs and adventures with friends. She was also the rare person that didn’t shy away when those same friends were facing difficulties, reaching out with baked goods, love, kind words, even money to help basically anyone who needed it, devoting her life to helping other people.

She stayed connected to many of her Monmouth Beach classmates, and each and every one of them lights up when they talk about her. Kerrin, Tammi, Jackie, Heather, Kelly, Jennifer, and many more. All have nothing but happy memories of her and many of them have loving, positive texts, messages and encounters documented with her from the days right before her untimely passing.

One friend mentioned that every year at Christmas time Stacey would hand out $100 tips to workers at the Dunkin’ Donuts she regularly went to get her favorite coffee fix. Amazingly, she had planned to give out $1,000 last Christmas. Her generosity knew no bounds.

Stacey’s daughter Emilie said it best; “Mom loved seeing other people happy” and on those cloudy days when the sun suddenly breaks through and lights up the earth we think of Stacey, remember her radiance and smile.

Stacey is featured in Forbes magazine this month along with top fundraising executives across the country, and will have an LLS research grant named in their honor.
Donations can be made in her honor to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 740 Broad St, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society , NJ Chapter 14 Commerce Drive Suite 301 Cranford, NJ 07016.

MB School Class of 1993 (Backrow l-r) Kerrin O’Brien, Andrew Keegan Matthew Schneider, teacher Frank Keiser, Becky Wade, Lou Tocci & James Gans (middle row l-r) Stacey (Gregerson) Weathers, Lynn (Yarsawich) Wilkos, Karly Gustafson, Chrissy (Hover) Veleber, Jennifer (Noonan) 88, Maura (Sheehan) Knight, Wendy (Rise) Rios, (front row l-r) Joseph LoBello, Raymond Smith Jr., Matt Copploa, Cullum Holiday, Brian A. Cohen and Mark Reichenstein.

Stacey (right) with her daughter Emilie Boman at the Channel Club Catering Hall for Emilie’s Sweet Sixteen!