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Nathalie Le Riche
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Jelani Manigault

Jelani ManigaultJelani Manigault was born in New York Hospital of Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan on April 5, 1978. He was raised in Teaneck, NJ by his parents, Andrew and Carol Manigault, who absolutely adored him. Jelani was a very accomplished young man, and no wonder. The name Jelani is Swahili for “mighty.” The mighty Jelani had a gift for music -- playing the flute, saxophone, and classical piano -- and excelled in many genres. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, and was a budding fine artist, graphic artist, and nature photographer, with an eye toward the advertising profession.

In his youth, Jelani received numerous awards for his leadership ability. He was chosen as his high school’s representative to the prestigious Boy’s State Convention, and was also recommended to the Congressional Youth Council's Leadership Program in Washington, D.C. Jelani achieved the honor and rank of Eagle Scout, a coveted distinction. He had been the New Jersey State track and field champion in Triple Jump, as well as a nationally recognized soccer player, listed in Who’s Who Among American High School Athletes. He was a worldwide traveler and a most insightful thinker and spiritual being.

Jelani was grateful for all of the special folks who inhabited his world. He and his fiancé, Jennifer Arroyo, shared an especially keen appreciation of the little things in life and of each other. Jelani was fascinated by nature – the snowflakes in winter, the goldening of leaves in autumn, the smell of fresh rain, and the exuberance of children.

He had a “presence” that drew people to him. He possessed a sensitivity that people sought out when they wanted to share their deepest feelings. Jelani beamed what seemed like the warmest smile on the planet. His gift of friendship was prized. He made each person he encountered feel special. This has been attested to by scores of people, close friends and strangers alike. He expressed joy and laughter (often being witty and corny at the same time), love and kindness, humility, sincerity, and wisdom well beyond his years. Jelani’s truly remarkable qualities included as well an abundance of grace and compassion.

He had said that his proudest moment was when he was able to assist his father during a serious illness, helping to save his dad’s life. This young man was an inspiration and blessing to all who knew him. He has left behind an energy, a spirit, and an essence that is heartwarming.

Jelani Manigault is sorely, sorely missed.

How Jelani Died
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