Grief-stricken colleagues at Hampstead Animal Hospital are mourning the death of Dr. Joanna Lerner, who died from complications after the birth of her twin daughters.
“She was looking forward to being a mom,” said Natalie Davis, the animal hospital’s practice manager.
Lerner, 43, of Raymond, died on April 8 at Elliot Hospital in Manchester.
Since her death, donations have poured in to support her heartbroken husband, Jeremy, and the newborn twins.
By late Wednesday afternoon, nearly $50,000 had been raised through a GoFundMe page titled “Post-Partum Grief Support for the Lerner Family.”
Lerner, an associate veterinarian, was loved by all who knew her at Hampstead Animal Hospital, where she had worked since joining the practice in October 2017.
“We are shocked and we are devastated,” Davis said Wednesday.
Lerner’s obituary described her as an avid dog trainer who “shared her life with some incredible furry souls” and lived a “rich life filled with learning, love, people, and animals.”
“She was a wonderful, dear friend and great colleague. The staff, the clients, the pets, everybody loved her. She was a great, beautiful person inside and out,” Davis said.
Funds raised will be used to help with funeral expenses and assist her husband in the months ahead.
“All funds raised will go directly to Jeremy so that he can focus on caring for their beautiful twin daughters,” a message on the GoFundMe page said.
In the message, Lerner was described as a person who had touched many lives through her personal life and work.
“Her care extended from her family and friends to her clients, patients and extended family. An intellectual, she loved to analyze. Combined with her compassion and commitment to high quality medicine, this made her the perfect doctor. She was highly respected and admired by those around her. Already very close with her daughters when her life was tragically cut short, Jo had been excited about sharing her world with them,” the message said.
While she was passionate about her work at the animal hospital, Lerner also had several of her own pets at home. They include Spongie, a coconut retriever dog. She first met him while studying for her doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the island of Saint Kitts.
According to her biography on the Hampstead Animal Hospital website, Spongie was a part of her school program, but she eventually brought him home because he needed a stable home.
Other pets included Gracie, Clarice, Sebastian, Mater and Bowe.
Family and friends will gather Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Cataudella Funeral Home in Methuen, Mass., for visiting hours, followed by a private funeral service on Friday.
According to her obituary, memorial donations can be made to the Dr. Joanna Lerner Memorial Fund, c/o Salem Co-Operative Bank, 3 South Broadway, P.O. Box 67, Salem, N.H., 03079-0067.