JoJo David

  • Died: October 18, 2016
  • Location: Natick, Massachusetts

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458
Tel. (617) 244-2034

Tribute & Message From The Family

JoJo David, 50, of Natick, MA, Campus Minister at Boston College and Music Director at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newton Center, died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family and a few dear friends at noon on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He died as he lived, courageously and with great faith. In his early thirties, JoJo had fought a valiant battle with cancer...and won! The chemotherapy and chest radiation, however, caused eventual harm, which in recent years brought on heart failure.

JoJo is survived by his beloved wife, Anne Marie (Cotter) David and their daughter Madeline David, both of Natick, his mother, Zenaida T. David, MD, of Framingham, MA, and his brothers Robert (Beverly) David of Exeter, NH and Lonnie (Christine) David of Loveland, CO. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Beverly Cotter, of Albert Lea, MN, and by his wife's MN Cotter siblings: Jeanne, John, Fatomeh, Patrick, Sara, Jaena, Richard, Delip and Sheema. He also leaves his nieces and nephews: Lauryn, Chadron, Rayven, Caleb, Leah, Andrew, Kaleena, Josh, Jonah, Adrian, Anna, Katana, Thelma, Esther, Florence, Hakim, Malika, Moses, Khalil, Jamal, Ayisha, Jihad, Lizzette, Jeremiah, Jolan and Joseph. He is also survived by his steadfast and loyal friend, Keith Gordon, of New York, NY. JoJo was preceded in death by his father Wilfrido L. David, MD, his sister Maria T. Millirans, his father-in-law, Atty. Richard A. Cotter, and his brothers-in-law, Richard E. Cotter and Stacey Benjamin Cotter.

JoJo was born in Springfield, Illinois on February 24th, 1966. He was the youngest of four children and spent his early years in Yankton, South Dakota. The family moved to Pueblo, Colorado when JoJo was a young child. Both of JoJo's parents, Dr. Zenaida David and Dr. Wilfrido David, were medical doctors, specializing in internal medicine. When JoJo moved to Pueblo, he settled into his school quickly, and was voted president of his first grade class.

Besides being a natural leader, JoJo was born a gifted musician. At a young age, JoJo watched his brother practice guitar and turned pages for him. As he followed the music and chord progressions, he matched his hands to the chords he saw. This is how JoJo learned guitar. Most guitarists have calluses on their fingers; instead, JoJo formed calluses on his knuckles because his hands were so small. Though he was shy as a young boy, he was compelled to perform. His first public performance was singing and playing Moon River on his guitar for his second grade class.

Although JoJo's favorite first job was as a lifeguard in his hometown, he spent his professional life as a singer, composer, recording artist and educator on the East Coast.

JoJo earned his bachelor's degree in music and business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. JoJo sang and wrote for the CU Buffoons, an a cappella group on campus. He also sang in the University of Colorado's vocal jazz ensemble and choral groups. After studies at the Berklee College of Music, he earned his master's degree in music education at the New England Conservatory of Music.

In 1989, JoJo intrepidly, and with great optimism, moved from Colorado to New York City to pursue a career in music. Being from Colorado, it felt natural to sleep in a sleeping bag in his first studio apartment in NYC – his creative pursuits were his focus, beyond that he only required the most simple basics: a guitar and a keyboard. He was a street performer in Central Park, acted on stage, worked as a jingle singer, and sang at a variety of venues in the New York area. To support this creative outpouring, he worked a range of jobs – as a private investigator for ASCAP, a sheet music salesperson at Patelson's Music, a music teacher at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and a booking representative at PG Artists, among others. After four years in New York City, he moved north to sing on the Spirit of Boston.

JoJo was an accomplished composer and arranger of a cappella and vocal jazz ensemble music, as well as sacred liturgical music. He was a former tenor with the a cappella group "Five O'Clock Shadow." From 1995 until 2012, JoJo was vocal director of the Boston College's award-winning jazz ensemble, BC bOp!

From 2003 until his death, JoJo was a leader of the Boston College Campus Ministry and its Liturgy Arts Group, an ensemble that provides music for Sunday liturgies and special University events.

JoJo's wife, Anne Marie David, is also a recording artist and music director. The two met while studying at the Berklee College of Music. The Davids shared a liturgical musical ministry, often performing together at weddings and funerals. Together they own Arrhae Press Music, a music recording and publishing company. In 2004, the company released JoJo's jazz ballad album, "Small Hours,' with jazz pianist Adam Birnbaum.

His passion for music was rivaled by his love of sports. These two passions merged in 2007 at Fenway Park when he sang the National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox.

Eight years into their marriage, the Davids were blessed with a daughter, Madeline. "We knew that if we were to have a child, we wanted to share the parenting equally," said Anne Marie. "Because we waited so long to become parents, we were fortunate to be able to set up our work lives in a way that supported this value. We have been so blessed to experience the joy of day to day parenting together. So many times over the years we have met at area playgrounds for a special moment of connection, followed by one of us keeping Madeline and the other going to get necessary work done. We knew that it was a fortunate arrangement and we never took it for granted. We would often say to one another that, even after years of parenting, it felt like we were 'playing house.'"

Parenting Madeline fulfilled the completeness of the union of Anne Marie and JoJo, far beyond anything they could ever have imagined.

Lonnie David shared about his younger brother: "JoJo was a larger than life presence – not in stature, but in his capacity to love, his music and his grace. JoJo led with his heart and it was felt by all. His glory and pride came from seeing all of us shine and find our greatest gifts – gifts that he had a hand in helping us discover. His light always reflected onto us from him. So as we gather to celebrate the life of JoJo, let us reflect all that love and light back onto him."

The David family offers special gratitude to Anju Nohria, MD of the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and all of the doctors, nurses, caregivers, specialists, technicians, advocates, receptionists, and cleaning, custodial, food and transport staff, for their extraordinary care over numerous hospitalizations. The family is also forever grateful for the unceasing prayers from their beloved friends and faith communities in Boston and all over the world. As JoJo wrote in his blog: "The power of your prayers is palpable, and let me once again say thank you for everything you do to help support Anne Marie and Madeline throughout this all. Our lives are an affirmation of the deepest good and undeniable love. Grace among us."

A Vigil service in JoJo's memory will be held at St. Ignatius at Boston College, 28 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA, Thursday, October 27th from 6-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, October 28th, at 10:30 a.m., at Sacred Heart Church, 1321 Centre Street, Newton Centre, MA. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in JoJo's name can be made to the Madeline David Education Fund; Checks can be made out to: Ameriprise Financial for the Benefit of Madeline David 529 Plan, and sent to: Madeline David Fund ℅ Christopher Petrik, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. 100 Grandview Road, Suite 210 Braintree, MA 02184-2692. Link for details For those wanting to make digital donations to the JoJo David Fund for medical costs and other expenses incurred during JoJo's care, link