COVID-19 cancels memorial golf tournament, but can’t erase the powerful memory of Jenni-Lyn Watson

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Ten years ago this November marks the somber anniversary of Jenni-Lyn Watson’s death.

Jenni-Lyn was passionate about dance and life itself. But her life was violently taken from her by an ex-boyfriend.

But Jenni-Lyn’s passion lives on. Every year family, friends, and really the entire community holds a memorial golf tournament in her honor. It has raised thousands of dollars to support other young people who want to follow in Jenni-Lyn’s footsteps in the world of dance.

Like many events, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of this year’s tournament but organizers say you can still support the memorial mission.

“It’s quite amazing that people are still coming and feeling the impact that she left on people that are here. Family members of people that are here. It was really powerful and strong and sustained all the time,” says Jenni-Lyn’s mother, Jackie Watson.

Jenni-Lyn was studying dance at Mercyhurst when she was killed. What cannot be killed, says her family, is the love she shared, and shares to this day, with family, friends, and other young dancers.

Her family released a statement on Wednesday:

As stated back in April, when we announced the cancellation, first and foremost, we hope you, your family, friends, and colleagues are well, safe and healthy. This has definitely been a challenging time for all and a time of change in our comfort levels in our daily living and activities. Know that we keep you in our thoughts and prayers. We hope and pray that the health of all and the health of the economy recover as safely and fast as possible.

This was not an easy decision to make as this year’s tournament would have been the 10th annual tournament but more importantly, this year in November will be 10 years since our beautiful daughter/sister/friend was stolen from us.

We have been overwhelmed and strengthened by the generosity, warmth, and commitment of people who took part in our golf tournaments in memory of Jenni-Lyn. We discovered friends we didn’t know we had, and drew strength from a community that grew out of our darkest hour – Thank you!!

The need for this fund has grown each year, now more than ever funding for the arts is a necessity. The arts, especially dance, contribute so much vitality and energy to the well-being and potency of the local community. To quote George Bernard Shaw “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

Peace, hope, strength, and health,
David, Jackie, and Lauren Watson

Their statement goes on to say “although we won’t be gathering in person this year, you can still support the mission of Jenni-Lyn’s fund, and the young dancers who benefit from it.”

If you’d like to donate you can do so by giving online and visiting or you can donate by check to the Jenni-Lyn Watson Memorial Fund at 431 E. Fayette Street, Syracuse NY 13202.

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