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


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Anne Marie and family, I knew JoJo long ago, when we both sang on the Spirit of Boston together in 1992! I just learned of his passing today and send you so many loving thoughts and prayers. To this day I still hear that beautiful voice. Sending you my most heartfelt condolences.

Posted by Rebecca Graham Forde - Los Angeles, CA - friend   May 29, 2017

I am saddened to hear of Jojo's passing. I just heard of his passing from Berklee Today's Alumni magazine. JoJo and I were classmates at Berklee in the early 90's and we graduated the same year. I remembered JoJo as a talented singer. My condolences to the family of JoJo David. R.I.P.

Posted by Eddie Phoon - Fort Lauderdale, FL   February 19, 2017


Anne Marie,

My heart goes out to you and Madeline as you grieve the great loss of JoJo. Although it has been a long time since we last visited, our soulful time together clearly stands out in my memory. JoJo's smile, his laughter, his joy, and his positive energy enhanced the warmth and comfort of your hospitality. The Light JoJo embodied will never dim.

JoJo rests now in deep peace. May you and Madeline know his peace and, there, find your own restful peace.

With love,
Ahshua Bolton

Posted by Ahshua Bolton - Bowling Green, KY   November 04, 2016

Anne Marie, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Jo Jo and the loss to you and your family.
Jo Jo will always be within you and your daughters hearts as well as the many many others that loved him as close as a beautiful memory.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, the David and Cotter families during this difficult time.

God and peace be with you.
Willie H.

Posted by Willie Hollingsworth - Maynard, MA - Classmate   October 27, 2016

I was blessed to have crossed paths with you and Anne Marie while we were Berklee students and also music ministers for BC LAG.

Until we meet again.

Posted by Derek Navracruz - Classmate   October 26, 2016

We will always remember JoJo as a kind, gentle, and loving man. His was a rare talent who will be greatly missed.

Posted by Cass and Barbara Turner - Newton, MA   October 26, 2016

I've known JoJo for more than twenty years. He was one of the most genuine people I ever met. His angelic voice always touched me. I can't believe he's gone.

Anne Marie and Madeline, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Nancy McGrath - Framingham, MA - Friend   October 25, 2016

The first time I walked into Sacred Heart over five years ago, I heard Jojo's voice and new I was home. He had a special gift for creating a prayerful, reverent yet warm and welcoming
atmosphere for the liturgy. He is a gift who all who knew him. You all have our prayers.

Posted by Cristina Genung - Cincinnati, OH - Acquaintance   October 24, 2016

I am one of the many nurses who took care of Jojo over the years on the step down unit. We are all heartbroken over his loss. He was such a wonderful soul who was so upbeat and positive. He always gave us a smile and is someone we will truly never forget. Love to you and Madeline during this difficult time.

Posted by Jennifer Capece    October 23, 2016

Annemarie and Madelyn, I am so sorry about JoJo. He was an amazing guy. Always smiling. A good people person.
I will keep you all in my prayers.

Posted by David Ford - Watertown, MA   October 23, 2016

I am so sorry to hear of this news. JoJo was always so nice and considerate in my brief dealings with him. The following is my prayer for him.

Eternal Creator. Thank you for the gift of JoJo.

May we see his beauty forever in the raising hope of the glorious sun and hear his voice the gentle winds of the day. When the sun sets over the today's lowering horizon, may he rest on the brightest star free from this life's confines knowing the beauty of all tomorrows with your Son.
Rest In Eternal Peace precious soul.

My condolences to AnneMarie, Madeline and all of Jojo's family.

Posted by Regina Pontes - Arlington, MA - Acquaintance   October 21, 2016

Anne Marie I am so sorry to hear of your husbands passing. My thoughts and prayers will be with both you and your daughter.

Posted by Sandy Piwko - Milford, MA - Acquaintance   October 21, 2016

My thoughts and prayers are with you both, Anne Marie and Madeline. My wish is that the presence and support that you receive from family and dear friends will uphold you in this time of grief and sustain you with prayer and healing in the future. Love, Rita

Posted by Rita Allegretto - Norfolk, MA - Friend   October 20, 2016

Our condolences and prayers for Anne Marie, Madeline, and all the Cotters and David family. Please know that we are thinking of you at this time. May God hold you close in His embrace.

~Terri & George

Posted by Terri Nelson - Dallas, TX - Family   October 20, 2016