We lost a friend this week. His name was Jerry Jacquin. Some of you knew him but most of you don't. The long and the short of it is Jerry was flying a small plane from DeKalb Illinois to Brownsville Texas Friday night and never made it. Here is a link to the story… and Here is a link to the video coverage in Texas.
Jerry was a father, a veteran, a brother and a son… but most of all, he was a thrill seeker who loved life. Locally he Owned Skydive Illinois in Morris IL before moving to Mexico and working at a skydiving business down there!
Jerry was always the good kind of crazy… he loved people and his life! In the last few years we connected via Facebook and had a few conversations online, but never had the chance to connect up face to face. He did have that chance to connect with friends from high school recently in February and he did visit with his parents for the first time in four years before he left Friday… so that is a blessing for all. Jerry was the drummer for my high school band Equinox. Steve Wymore and Bob Leimbach were the other two guys in that band and went on to create another band called “Loaded Goat” (which I had the pleasure of seeing). He was as talented as drummers come, and could have gone on to be a pro, but took the military route instead.
I wish I had… well you know the rest of this sentence!
When I first moved to Illinois in 1972 as an awkward 12 year old, I was wandering through the halls of Monroe Middle School in Wheaton Illinois. One of the first people I met was Steve Wymore. We were both walking towards each other with guitar cases in our hands and we stopped and said “Dewd… what kind of guitar is in the case?' We opened them up and had very rare Fender Jaguars in them both, and we had the exact same watch on our wrists. Instantly we became life-long friends and still have an annual golf get together every year.
Jerry joined our band in 1976 or 1977 (Steve's sister Pam Wymore helped me to remember via Facebook). We played high school dances, proms, and our biggest gig on the stage of Wheaton Central High, in 1978. One of my favorite memories was playing a gig where my parents had a summer mobile home in Milton Wisconsin at Lakeland Campground right off of Lake Koshkonong. We started the show off with the song “American Band”. The song actually starts out with the drums where the drummer is playing a cowbell. Jerry put on a motorcycle helmet and played his head in place of the cowbell! I know 1/2 of you are saying “I gotta have more cowbell!' and the other 1/2 are saying “Yeah… That's Jerry!”.
Part 2 Of The Story…
I first got the news on Saturday via a text… “I got some sad news. Jerry was killed in a plane crash in Marshall Texas today.” I did not have the text number saved in my phone so I was running through all the Jerry's that I know? I called the text number and got the details… It was Steve!
I then went on Google and searched “Plane Crash Marshall Texas” and confirmed a crash, but the name had not been released. Then I went on Facebook and the buzz was overwhelming. Steve and his wife Terri already has posts and within hours a group we belong to call “Friends Never Forgotten WNHS, WCHS, WWHS” from Wheaton high schools had people posting memories. “I Remember… playing drums with him… our trip to Washington, from grade school, high school… etc”. Then there were “I remember hearing him in Bob Leimbach's basement, your basement, at this or that dance”.
Since then… the name has been confirmed “Jerome Jacquin” and the memories continue to pour in even on Jerry's Facebook profile (although most of them are in spanish : ). Jerry touched many lives and I pray for his family.
Social Media was a huge part of us all connecting, (which we may have never had the chance to otherwise), and grieving (which gave an instantaneous living history and memorial for a friend an integral part of our lives)… for that I am truly grateful!
End of the Story…
I called Steve to shore up some facts and he was in the middle of writing Jerry's eulogy. We hurt and we laughed… but in the end we are all connected!
Here is the Obituary… but I smile when I read it!
Jerome T. Jacquin, 51, originally from Wheaton, Illinois, passed away on Saturday, July 7, 2012
Jerry was a free spirit who showed his zest for life as a talented musician, expert skydiving instructor and pilot, and veteran of two wars. He was always adventurous, looking for the next thrill in life. Jerry was described by his friends as charming, funny, quick-witted, and an all-around good friend. He was a loving son, father and brother. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his parents, Jerome R. and Joan Jacquin, his daughter Jeanna Jacquin, son Peter Jacquin, granddaughter Eshaya Kleffel, sister Kim (Tim) Brooks, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at Illinois Turner Camp, 238 N. River Road, Algonquin, IL 60102 at the Baren Hohle building. Visitation will be from 5-8:00 pm with prayer service at 7:00 pm.
RIP Jerry… Hope a bell rang and you got your wings : )