Jeannette (Jay) Danielian, passed away on November 5, 2023 at Northwestern Hospital, Chicago, at the age of 80.
She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, July 3, 1943, daughter of the late Dr George and Mary (Kavookjian) Danielian. Jay graduated from North High School, Worcester and also from Syracuse University, New York.
Jay had an amazing career, beginning at WTAG Radio, Worcester as a Traffic Manager, supervising all commercial coordination. From there, she went on to Director of Public Affairs at WSMW-TV in Worcester, producing news features, public service announcements and talk show segments. She conducted on-air interviews, including with Lucille Ball.
In 1971, Jay ventured to Chicago, IL, where we referred to her as Mary Richards from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a young woman, branching out on her own in the big city. She worked at WBBM-TV in Chicago for ten years, producing a daily public affairs talk show and segments for the five CBS network owned and operated stations. Researcher/associate producer of documentaries, talk shows, political programs, specials and award shows including The Chicago Emmy Awards. Jay loved award shows and in the early nineties would help create the annual Freddie Awards Show for International Health and Medical Film Festival.
In 1981-1993, she was the Director of Media and Audiovisual Services at the American Dental Association in Chicago. As media director, Jay created a succession of outstanding public service campaigns on oral health: “Don’t Get Bad Mouthed”, on the hazards of chewing tobacco. “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”, “Mouth-guards and Girls Sports”, a series celebrity public service announcements with a wide variety of celebrities including Academy Award winner Cliff Robertson, Charlie’s Angel, Jaclyn Smith and Baseball Hall of Fame, Cal Ripken.
In 1992-93, Jay produced “Dentistry Update” for the Lifetime Cable Network, the first worldwide network cable TV show on dentistry and oral health.
From 1994 to her retirement in 2007, Jay was the Director of Media and Creative Services. Here she would forever change the landscape of association communications. Developing a variety of print, radio, broadcast, cable and internet award winning communication programs that would help propel ADA from the analog world to the digital world.
Jay pioneered online patient and professional education programing and worked with all leading public health officials, including Surgeon Generals C. Everett Koop, Louis Sullivan and Joycelyn Elders.
She supervised the development and distribution of many successful TV/Public Service broadcast programs. She green-lit the award winning Dudley The Dinosaur cartoon series, the first bilingual animated TV PSA campaign for kids, which ran for 20 years with over one million airings. She also helped launch the Dental Minute with Dr Maria Lopez Howell, the longest running live action public service announcement campaign in the history of broadcast tv with 467 episodes produced and over 1 million airings, according to Nielsen media research.
Jay was one of the great silent influencers of the twentieth century. A silent influencer is someone who has influenced and changed society for the better and the public doesn’t know who they are! During the AIDS crisis, many Americans believed they would get AIDS going to the dentist. This radically affected healthcare worldwide. To combat and stop this fear, Jay created the ADA Cares Campaign to inform America and the world, that going to the dentist is safe because of the use of “Universal Precautions” infection control procedures. Jay successfully created a public awareness campaign using all forms of media, from print to broadcast. Within 18 months of the ADA Cares launch, fear subsided. It went on to receive a Silver Anvil award for outstanding public service campaign and is now considered one of the Top 10 public service campaigns in the last fifty years.
Unfortunately, health problems made her retire from a career she loved. She was literally the Energizer bunny, persevering through so many health issues. She was amazing, beating the odds over and over again for 16 years.
She was a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, International Association of Business Communications, The American Film Institute, and Association of Visual Communicators.
Jay will be deeply missed by her family, former co workers and dear friends. Jay was such fun and had a great sense of humor; a very giving person, always there if you needed to talk or grab a movie and pizza. She was a diehard New England Patriots fan, especially of Tom Brady. She enjoyed returning to New England at Christmas time and in the summer. Fireworks, seafood, badminton, mini golf, ice cream, talking and laughing over dinner and especially dessert, anything chocolate! She self described herself as Lucy from the Peanuts Comics , and always signed everything with “Love and Laughter”.
Jay was very proud of her Armenian heritage. She was the grandchild of Armenian Genocide survivor, Sina (Dinjian) Kavookjian.
She leaves her brother, Lee Danielian and his wife Karyn of Florida and Maine, her sister, Wendy Danielian and her other half, Joseph Harrington of Shrewsbury, niece Kristen Page and her husband Adam, their children, Jonathan and Jackson Page, of Normal, IL. Among many special cousins, Ret Lt. Col. Steve Kavookjian and his wife, Beverly of Alabama and Dr Jan Kavookjian of Alabama. She was loved by several friends, both in Massachusetts and Chicago.
Calling hours will be 12pm-2pm on Dec 21 at Fay Brothers Funeral Home, 1 West Boylston St,West Boylston, with a prayer service at 2pm. Burial following at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Church Street, West Boylston.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jay’s name to the American Lung Association or The Armenian Church of Our Saviour, 87 Salisbury St, Worcester, MA.
Love and Laughter forever.