At Princeton Jess was a leader of the theater scene, directing Pippin and Cabaret and helping produce Sweeney Todd and Stop Kiss. When the Princeton University Players (PUP) faced immense challenges in 2003, Jess helped save the organization and later became its president. Jess majored in politics, and her senior thesis, “Tough Competitors: Crime Control Roll-Call Voting and Election Incentives in the 106th House of Representatives,” was collaboratively developed and later published. Jess also participated actively in the Princeton Justice Project’s prison-reform group. As an alum, Jess regularly interviewed prospective Tigers and served on the Friends of PUP board.
Although Jess and Nelson did not meet at Princeton, they must have crossed paths unknowingly countless times, living just one entryway apart in Spelman senior year, taking the same intro courses in religion, and sharing mutual friends. Two classmates introduced them in the fall of 2005. Reunions proved a regular rite of spring and routine pilgrimage for them to blaze orange with friends, P-rade with abandon, and enjoy well-worn memories while crafting new ones together.
Jess attended William & Mary Law School and spent most of her legal career clerking for Justice LeRoy F. Millette Jr., of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Her research and writing met an extraordinary standard of rigor and excellence. Jess served as well on her church’s session and other nonprofit boards in Richmond.
Jess is survived by a strong but grieving family of Bonneys and Reveleys.