A life filled with tolerance, compassion, generosity, hard work, and love

I thought yesterday was going to be the hardest day of my life. I thought I was going to feel a sense of finality about my parents passing. I anticipated feeling that my parents would now be forgotten because we had celebrated their life, much like after a birthday party a person’s moment in the spotlight is soon forgotten. I knew that I was going to feel emptier than ever because I had been filling my days with hard work preparing for this-and now I would have nothing.

But the reality is, that yesterday was incredible. To be honest, I felt happy. I had some tears, and there were moments in which my heart ached; but yesterday I felt so proud of my parents. As a child you never really see your parents as “real” people. I got to experience what mom and dad were like in so many facets of their life. They loved being parents, but they were so much more than that. They were friends, sisters and brothers, bosses, coaches, second parents to many of our friends, spider killers, advice givers, specialists, and mentors. I enjoyed hearing all the stories, and I’m so looking forward to reading the cards that everyone wrote. I love that we laughed yesterday! I love that we poked fun at my mom, and relived many of my dad’s awful jokes! It touched my heart learning the things people are doing to honor my mom and dad. Like taking my dad’s golf clubs on the next golf trip, or a good friend buying our membership to the country club, or planting flowers in memory of my mama.

When I got home last night… and by home, I mean the Harborview bed here… I remember thinking that I was filled with joy. I thought it was peculiar that I should be happy on a day that we gathered together because my mom and dad died. But then I realized that is not what happened at all! Plenty of people pass away without a gathering. All 350 people came to honor, celebrate, smile, remember, and cherish mom and dad. We came because they touched so many people! We came because they made us feel good! We came because they simply saw the good in us! So lying in bed I thought that how I felt was exactly what they wanted! They would want people to remember them, maybe shed a tear, but leave feeling happy and energized with their spirit in each of our hearts.

I know that many of us did not get to see the slideshow particularly well. The club had blacked out the windows up there with the curtain, but it started falling down. I think when the first one slipped down it was my mom peeking in to check on us. And the second one that fell —all the way– was my dad trying to crash the party! So what I’ve done is uploaded the slideshow here for you to see. I think that there is something in here for everyone. In the comments I would love to hear everyone’s favorite part of the slideshow, their favorite picture, their favorite song, or a story to go along with something that you noticed.




I do want to make sure that I thank each of you for coming! Your presence really meant a lot to my family and me, and we are really very touched that you came to celebrate my parents. Thank you also for loving my mom and dad so very much. A part of each of you rubbed off on them, contributing to the whole of who they are. As their children, we are a part of my parents, and in turn you are part of us.



16 thoughts on “A life filled with tolerance, compassion, generosity, hard work, and love

  1. Jessie,
    I am truly amazed at the strength you, Jamie and Jeremy have. I attended yesterday to support a coach and team mate and his family. I learned so much about your parents and I only hope I can be half the parent to my children as your parents were to everyone. I loved learning their story of falling in love. The people they were outside of coach Tim and softball mom Cheryl. The slide show was so awesome to watch. The photos, videos and especially the winnie the pooh quote at the end.
    Listening to your parent’s friends, siblings and yourself was great. The children who are blessed enough to have you as a teacher are very lucky! You four young adults have really given me a new outlook on life. I wish you the best.

  2. Jessie, Jessie, Jessie….thank you for the amazing show and thank you for the eloquent speech…so much love. We all appreciated your tribute to your parents. I love you, Jaime, Jeremy, and Steven and am SO proud of all of you.
    My fav part is you cutting Jaime’s hair so your bald dad could have some hair. PRICELESS!
    You should send it in to “America’s Funniest Videos” and win $10,000!

  3. I’m with Betsy! My favorite part of the slideshow was you and your dad discussing the Jaime haircut. That was a total hoot.

    Yesterday was extraordinary, from beginning to end. I can’t thank you all enough for it. The quote cards will be living in my garden. The Brahms that your mom loved so much. The bugs I brought home for future jokes. Your words and the words of the people who love your parents and the four of you.

    And THANK YOU for posting the slide show. I will be watching it again.

    I have complete faith that the four of you will continue to make the world better by being who you are, just as your parents have done.

  4. Thank you all for such a lovely tribute to a most outstanding couple. It was lovely to be able to attend and share in the joy of who they were.

  5. My connection to your family is through Aunt Terry whom I admire greatly as a strong woman with an extremely loving heart. After watching this slideshow I know that those same qualities are threaded throughout this entire family. My prayers continue for you all as that tapestry continues to be woven. May you feel peace interwoven more and more each day. Blessings to each of you in abundance.

  6. Jessie, Jaimie and Jeremy! I am so saddened to have not been able to attend this celebration of the lives of such extraordinary people. The teenage pictures brought back such a flood of rememberance that I could hardly stand it. To see your mom and dad, your aunt Terry and your grandparents as I remember them touched me deeply. Your parents certainly touched us all with their spirit and leave a lasting legacy in the three of you. God Bless you all and may you be eternally comforted in the memories that you share in a place that no one else can touch.

  7. Thanks so much for posting the slide show – I did find it hard to see on Sunday from where I sat. I can’t wait to see all the pictures properly and I’m especially looking forward to seeing the hair video again!

    It was clear to see that the apples didn’t fall far from the tree, the new Owen family (including Steven) are rock stars in my eyes and a true inspiration. This groupie would be honored to host you anytime you come to east Washington, I would love to pass on the kindness and hospitality your mom showed to me at Amazon.

  8. Jess, You’re asking us to choose a favorite part of the slide show? Huh? No way! Every slide, video and scene portrayed a part of who you’re parents were and what they stood for.

    Of course, I loved the Hair scene with your dad handling “the little miscreant” so appropriately. (Note to Jaime: Don’t let Jessie anywhere near your lovely hair !!!)

    Plus, the scene of Jeremy being led blindfolded into the backyard to the surprise of his lifetime…that scene, too, takes the gold medal award!

    We were so honored to be a part of Sunday’s special celebration.

    Love you all — Jeremy, Jaime, Steven and Jessie!

  9. Jessie,

    Thanks for posting all of your wonderful comments over these many months, and thanks especially for including this slideshow of your amazing family. The pictures made me smile and tear up a little too. They were touching and sweet and funny, and every one showed the love that you have for each other.

    I can’t wait to have you back to school with us where you belong!!

    Love ya,

  10. Jessie, Jamie, Jeremy, & Steven,
    Thank you for allowing me to be part of such a phenomenal event to memorialize such an unforgettable couple. The video is a special tribute to cherish forever. The best part is the smiles, laughter, joy, and unconditional love evident in each frame. Even the tongue-in-cheek “hair incident” was treated with consummate gentility; Jessie so gracious in her effort to replace her dad’s receding pate with jamie’s innocently stolen tresses…
    I am truly honored to have shared a small portion of the Tim and Cheryl persona over more than 20 years of laughs and lasting memories going back to when Cheryl joined our work team at Seattle Personnel Department.
    My refrigerator door displays more than 15 years of Christmas photos of the Owen children, whom I watched grow from infants into exceptional adults. I can’t bear to take those pictures down. Even if you hardly know me, I know you – and envy your remarkable family. Please keep in touch.
    Much love, Lonnie Lusardo

  11. Jessie, Jaime, Jeremy, my only comfort in December was to know without a doubt that Cheryl and Tim had accomplished what every parent hopes to do, by sharing with you three their values and zest for life. Sunday, and through these blog comments, I learned how many more people benefited from knowing them, in very similar ways. Truly an unforgettable couple, whose gifts keep on giving. So much laughter, to recall their trickster sides! Thank you so much for giving this opportunity to share in the celebration of them, and for posting the slide show here.

  12. Jessie, I just want you to know that when the curtains fell I knew it was your parents too. Thank you so much for posting the video. It was so great to see you, Jaime, Jeremy, and to finally meet Steven. You are all so incredibly strong and beautiful. I’ve never felt so much love than I did at the Celebration. Its amazing how your dad continues to coach me even though he’s not on this Earth anymore. And I know that every margarita I drink for the rest of my life will toasted to your parents. Their legacy will live on forever. I love you guys.

  13. Jessie, Jaime, Jeremy and Steven. We were honored to be at the memorial. You guys did a beautiful job. It was a beautiful day, beautiful venue and all the stories that were shared were beautiful! Yes, the word of the day is beautiful. It is the word that just keeps coming to my mind. The room was so full of love for all of you and your families. I’m looking forward to watching the video again, lots of laughs and a few tears.

    Keeping you all close in our hearts and prayers,
    Patty Osterhout

  14. Jessie, Jamie, Jeremy–I couldn’t make it to the memorial because i was in Nebraska visiting my parents, but I just watched the slideshow. I wasn’t fortunate to know your parents as well as many others, but in the moments I spent time with them and just from watching these photos from just snippets of your life together, I know how truly blessed you were to have them in your lives as you were children and young adults. And the pictures of your parents when they were kids–it was evident how much they loved each other even then! (And I also have to say that the part when Jessie cut Jamie’s hair for your dad is absolutely priceless!)

  15. Jessie, Jeremy, Jamie & Steven, I don’t know you nor did I know your parents but I have followed your journey from that fateful December day. All of you are a source of inspiration – such determination with such grace. I can only imagine how proud your parents are looking at you from over the rainbow. You are a beautiful family. I continue to pray for your healing and look forward to reading more about you as you move forward.

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