A Hinesville family suffered two tragedies recently — the death of a loved one and the burglary of their home while they were away for the funeral.
Jacokaliyn “Jackie” Williams, 41, died suddenly Nov. 25, reportedly of a heart attack.
“We were all at her sister’s house,” her husband, Christopher, said. “We were talking and having a good time, and we were getting ready to go back home to her mother’s house.”
That’s when Jackie complained of a stomach ache and feeling tired.
“She said she wanted to go to sleep,” Christopher said. “Then, she just fell dead.”
In addition to her husband, Jackie left behind two children, Vontavious “Von” Pennyman, 17, and Jaquanna Williams, 9.
She also left behind a host of family and friends who loved her deeply.
“She was a very caring person. She was an angel to everybody she met. No one was a stranger to her. She was a noble person,” Christopher said.
“She helped people with anything they needed. She would take them if they needed to go somewhere, without any hassle. If someone asked her for something, she would give it to them and not even charge them,” he said.
Recalling the first time they met, Christopher said, I knew immediately she was the one.” It was her happy-go-lucky spirit that stole his heart.
One of the couple’s neighbors, Irene Myers, described Jackie as an angel.
“Every time I turned around, she was there for me. I’m disabled. I don’t drive. She would take me shopping and to the doctor. She picked up my kids from school ... everything,” Myers said.
Jackie’s children also took her loss hard.
“She was very close with her children. They could talk about anything,” Christopher said. “My daughter cried.”
But he noted his wife would be proud of Jaquanna who has stepped up to help fill her mom’s shoes in many ways.
“She’s taking care of everybody else,” Christopher said. “She said, ‘Momma’s gone to a better place. She’ll be alright.”
Jackie’s son was also devastated by the loss of his mother.
“They would talk all the time,” Christopher said. “He’s better now. He’s coping very well. Better than I expected.”
If losing a loved one wasn’t bad enough, the family was notified after the funeral that someone had burglarized their home.
“I was very sad and upset. It was overwhelming when I got home. I was trying to deal with that (Jackie’s death) and then I came back to this. They didn’t have any respect at all.
Myers said she believes the unknown culprit(s) was someone who knows the family and knew they would be out of town for the funeral.
Christopher contends it was most likely teens or young adults since Von’s clothes and shoes were among the items stolen. Even Jaquanna’s book bag was taken.
A TV, computer system and jewelry were also stolen.
Many of the items belonged to Von, who was described by Myers as a good student, an athlete and someone who works for the things he wants.
Christopher agreed, noting Von is employed at McDonald’s.
“They took all his clothes ... things he purchased with his own month,” he said.
Asked how he helped the children cope with tragedy upon tragedy, Christopher said they relied on their faith in God and the reality that the thief or thieves only took material things.
Myers, however, wants to know why someone would steal from a family who just lost a loved one.
Directing her comments to the thief, Myers said, “Why? If you asked for anything, she (Jackie) would have given it to you. You didn’t have to steal. Why would you do that to the family?”
Christopher also addressed the culprits, saying “I just want to tell them, God bless them and I hope they are happy. He noted he’s able to say that sincerely because he’s a Christian.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, the family is facing funeral expenses and trying to replace their missing items.
“We are going on with our plans, just as if she (Jackie) was here. She would want us to,” Christopher said.
Myers hopes the community will respond to the family’s losses by providing donations.
For more information. call Myers at 570-3333.