Music tribute to lost love will seed legacy to pupils — (The Boston Herald)

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The Boston Herald

By Jessica Heslam

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Jennifer Stowers escaped the tragic Station nightclub fire with a black eye and cracked rib, but she lost two friends in the 2003 blaze that killed 100 people.
An accomplished musician and gifted teacher, Stowers, 23, returned to her South End classroom at Blackstone Elementary School four days later because her “first commitment” was to her students. She penned moving poetry in the weeks that followed.
“It was really hard. She was really upset with herself that she couldn’t have done more to get all her friends out,” said her fiance, Douglas Quintal, who called Stowers the “love of his life.”
But three months after she was pulled from the Rhode Island inferno, Stowers died from complications from the anti-depressant Zoloft, which she began taking after the fire. Quintal found her in their South Boston home, six weeks before their wedding.
“We had just gotten our wedding invitations that weekend and we were very excited to get going on them,” Quintal said. “I came home from an event at the school I work at and there she was.”
Now, Quintal hopes Stowers’ spirit can continue to help her inner-city students. “She really was passionate about making a difference in their lives,” said Quintal, a lecturer at Emerson College.
On Sunday, Stowers’ favorite Boston-area bands plan to hold a benefit concert for The Jennifer Stowers Quintal Education Foundation at 8 p.m. at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge. Tickets are $12. Quintal, the frontman and guitar player for the Syphlloids, will also perform.
After her funeral, Quintal found tapes of Stowers singing and playing guitar. He plans to release a CD of her songs on Sunday.
Quintal said he and Stowers never argued during their two years together. Their most heated discussion was about their wedding cake. He wanted it in the shape of the Stanley Cup.