‘She shined bright’: Belchertown woman, 33, who died Christmas Day remembered

  •  Jaime Tudyrn and her husband, Matt Tudryn, and son, Bode. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff writer
Thursday, January 03, 2019

BELCHERTOWN — The Pioneer Valley community is rallying around the family of a local firefighter whose wife died on Christmas Day.

Jaime (McCauley) Tudryn, 33, of Belchertown, died last Tuesday from a blood vessel abnormality that caused bleeding in her brain. She left behind husband Matthew Tudryn and their young son, Bode. Matthew Tudryn is a firefighter with the Northampton Fire Department.

“On the morning of Dec. 24, 2018, Jaime was taken to Baystate Medical Center with more concern(s) about a potential brain injury. Despite the amazing efforts and care of the ICU (intensive care unit) team, her condition worsened over the next 24 hours, and she passed, surrounded by family, on Christmas Day,” says a statement posted on a GoFundMe memorial fund set up in her honor.

Over the past week, nearly 1,000 people have donated more than $75,000 to the fund, which has a goal of $90,000. The money will be used “to help cover the costs of Jaime’s stay in the hospital over the past several months,” the statement says. “Any excess money donated will be put towards a college fund for their 11 month-old son, Bode.”

The impact of Jaime Tudryn’s unexpected death is profound, said Amherst firefighter Ari Kasal, a close family friend who helped set up the GoFundMe page with another friend, Dan Miller.

“Jaime was supermom,” Kasal said in a phone call Monday afternoon. “She did everything and made it look effortless. For Matt to now be in this unknown world without this person who was so amazing is unfathomable. Nothing seemed to faze her, no matter what it was. She was the most kind, generous person.”

Kasal went to college with Jaime Tudryn at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and remembers her as “that person who had an extra coffee for you. She somehow knew you were having a bad day… I don’t know if there are words… I know it’s cliche — she shined bright.”

The support from local firefighters and countless others has been “amazing to see,” Kasal added.

For example, a deputy fire chief from Northampton stayed at the hospital until after 2:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. Fire departments from throughout the region have given generous donations. CrossFit gyms — where Jaime Tudryn frequented — also have given generously. Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen, Colorado, where Jaime Tudryn worked on ski patrol for years, intends to plant a tree in her memory, Kasal said.

For those who want to help, Kasal asked to “keep Matt and Jaime in their thoughts over the holidays. The biggest thing Matt wants is (for Jaime) to always be remembered, so her memory doesn’t fade.” 

According to an obituary published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette Dec. 28, Jaime Tudryn graduated from East Longmeadow High School in 2003. She was later inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame for her accomplishments as a skier and soccer player. In 2007, Tudryn graduated from UMass with a degree in kinesiology. She also earned an associate’s degree in science concentrating in radiologic technology from Holyoke Community College, which landed her a job at Mercy Medical Center.

Tudryn is remembered in the obituary as “an avid skier” who was “born in a three day snow storm.” She “loved the outdoors and exercising” and spicy food.

The GoFundMe memorial fund is online at bit.ly/2QXVq8R. Kasal noted there are other fundraising events being planned.

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@gazettenet.com.