Penelope Jacob – 10/12/67 – 09/03/09

I and my family are going to something that many have gone through, and make it through, but we have not.  It will undoubtedly affect Chocolate Alchemy.  To what degree, I have no idea.  I am not closing like when Penelope (my partner) had melanoma treatments, but I will say I will most likely be less responsive than I have been.  And I am not yet sure how long it will last.  Some length of time.  I hope of the shorter scale, but longer than I want.

Penelope died yesterday, September 3, 2009 of  respiratory failure due to complications of open brain surgery (performed a month ago that I never mentioned, to remove melanoma tumors) and the result of untreated  melanoma tumors still in her brain.

I’ve lost my wife, am a single parent now of a beautiful 8 (very soon to be 9) year old daughter, run Chocolate Alchemy, a small farm, work 40 hours outside of here 60 miles away.

Things will be changing.  The farm will be sold.  We will be moving closer to the day job and where my daughter goes to school.  I have to get a grip on not having half of myself.  And I want and I think  need to keep running Chocolate Alchemy.

If you are wondering if you should hold off orders (to save me work, or because you don’t like the potential for delays), all I can say is I love Chocolate Alchemy.  Orders may well get behind.  They might not.  I personally would prefer you order, ask me questions and just keep life moving forward, because it is going to regardless, and if it is what I recognize, or am at least familiar with, all the better.

I know there is more I want to write here, but that is it for now.  If you want or need to know something, please ask.

31 Responses to “Penelope Jacob – 10/12/67 – 09/03/09”

  1. I’ve never ordered from your website before, but I’ve followed your home chocolate-roasting journey from the early days. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    For some moments in life there are no words. ~David Seltzer, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

  2. John – so very sorry to hear this. Our prayers are with you and your daughter.


  3. So very sorry.

  4. Oh my God. I’m so sorry to hear; Penny and I went to high school together. I don’t know if I ever met you or not. You have my thoughts and prayers.

    David Branson

  5. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Your daughter and you are in my thoughts and I wish strength for you both during this difficult time.

  6. John, I am so sorry.

    Will there be a ritual? Is there anything that I can do? (albeit from a bajillion miles away)


  7. Prayers and blessings to you and your daughter. My son went to Kindergarten with her and I spent time with Penelope while waiting for the children. I always enjoyed her smile and intelligence.

  8. My heart is with you and your family. This is the hardest experience of life, and somehow we all make it through. May your journey be expanding and healing. Chocolate is medicine for the heart, mind and soul, thank goodness. Showers of love and prayers.

  9. My prayers for your loss and her soul. I went to CHS with Penny and am saddened to hear of her passing. I wish you and your daughter well as you find your way through this difficult time.

  10. John – You and your family are in my prayers. I’m not even sure if we formally met back in Florida at NecronomiCon, but Penny & I met back in 1982 when her Dad was guesting.

    I lost my Dad to lung cancer last year and understand the grief and massive family changes you are experiencing. Our family home of 50 years will be on the market soon.

    I’m now living an hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County and did not realize Penny had moved. Just the same, it had been close to 20 years since I last saw her. That does not make the news any easier for me as well.

    Anyway, feel free to contact me via email for my current information including cell number. You are all in my prayers.

  11. My heart goes out to you and your family.
    I’ll keep you and your daughter in my prayers.

    From Korea.
    Hee-Jae An

  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.

  13. John and Logan –

    I still have a christmas photo of the three of you on my desk. It has never failed to bring a smile to my face. Rarely have I seen the depth of love that your family has for each other. May that sustain you as you go forward.

    We are so far apart… but if there is anything I can do…

  14. I am so sorry to hear about your wife and life partner. My prayers to you and your daughter for strength.

  15. Hello –

    We probably never met, but Penny and i used to speak quite often in emails and on lj. I was just thinking, last week, that I should message her and see why there had been such a long silence.

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss, and hope that you and your daughter can come through this stronger and closer.

  16. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. I just discovered your website today and will be ordering from you soon. You have my sympathies and best wishes.

  17. John –
    I am so sorry. Please accept my deepest condolences on your tragic loss – I’ve never met you or Penny in person, but feel that I know you through this wonderful site. You have my prayers.

    Bob Feeney
    Scituate, MA

  18. Hello John,
    I too have never met you or your family but ordered and follow your website on a regular basis. My sincere condolences and hope that you remain strong for your daughter. She needs you now more than ever! My prayers are with you all. God Bless.

  19. My prayers go out to you and your daughter. I’m so sorry for your loss and really appreciate for opening your heart and sharing the news with us.

  20. I’ve stumbled on your study just today. I realize that I don’t know your story, but I can’t not send my deepest condolences on reading this. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Keep going and keep fighting. You will be OK, even if the very idea of that seems insulting right now.

  21. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.

    Paula Schwinn
    Woodbury, MN

  22. I got on this website by accident. I am a son of an African farmer, I am always sad that the ordinary man cannot produce chocolate. I have researched this and given up and got to your website by accident tonight- only to see that your partner of many years just departed.

    Please know that you gave hope to a dreamer, your website said to me today that that there may be meaning to my dreams and that African children can truly enjoy what their father produces. Blessings on Penelope, blessings on her children and blessings on you.

  23. much love to you.

  24. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your daughter. Please know that there are people thinking of you and praying for you both.

  25. Very sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you.

  26. I just happened to follow the website as I am focusing on raw diet and saw your message. I recently loss a close friend to cancer too, but when it is your spouse the loss is felt more acutely. I don’t know you, but that doesn’t stop me praying for you and your daughter.

  27. John, my prayers are with you and your daughter. I know you will do your best and find the strength to continue for her sake. Please take care of yourself, too.


  28. John, although I am still on the journey to make fine homemade chocolate to add to my own homemade fudges (and sauces) I still visit your site as often as I can. We have “talked” via email a few times and I feel that you are like a brother to me. I feel for you and your daughter over your loss of Penny. Know that with time all that is broken or lost heals…it takes time but it does heal. You and your daughter are in my prayers. I would like to think that Penny is now looking over everything that is done and adds just a touch of spirit into the chocolate Alchemy. Take care my friend….you aren’t alone.


  29. Dear John,

    I recall you mentioning that your wife was ill but somehow I missed this message. Having lost my husband to pancreatic cancer when my daughter was 12, I can relate and know that it can seem daunting. My daughter is now 28, thriving, independent and I have found chocolate, which I love, to supplement my other more than full time stressful job as a city councilmember.

    If you love chocolate don’t give it up. What would we do without you?!?

    Thank you so much for shipping the part for my Santha so quickly considering your responsibilities. I was able to switch the parts (nothing like having the right tools) and do my weekend chocolate making on schedule.

  30. Hi John- haven’t visited you in some time. Been super busy, Columbia Analytical grew by 10% in 2009!
    Just read about Penelope passing away- my deepest condolences and prayer are with you.
    Still very interested in all you do. We made about 20 pounds of “carolina Gold” to sell this Christmas- it’s an english toffee that I put a spin on- coated with chocolate and layered with South Carolina pecans. It’s very delicious!
    Again, keep the faith brother. Hope to work with you in the new year.

  31. John,

    My deepest condolences go out to you and your family.

    I found your site one day during the summer of 2008, and I probably haven’t ventured back since August 2009. Today, I saw something about chocolate and thought of you and your wife. Shocked to read the news is an understatement, I genuinely hoped to find better news about her health.

    Know that you have a stranger saying prayers for your family to stay strong during the trying times.

    Sincerely, Melissa

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