Jacque Jerome wasn’t a baseball fan. Or a soccer fan. Or a rodeo fan.
But she was fanatical about her children.
When they fell in love with those activities, so did she. She didn’t hide that passion either. No matter what any of her five kids were doing, playing basketball or racing barrels or anything in between, she would be there hootin’ and hollerin’.
“She was so loud,” her oldest, KT King, said, “but she was proud.”
Now, her kids are wondering who will be their biggest cheerleader.
Jacque was killed in a car accident Sunday.
As the summer sports season cranks up with leagues and camps a plenty, bad Little League parents will undoubtedly land in the headlines. But the truth is, there are tons of parents who will do it right. Miles will be driven. Games will be watched. Snacks will be packed. Uniforms will be washed.
Kids will be supported by parents not expecting any fanfare, just doing what they believe parents are supposed to do.
That’s what Jacque did.
For a lot of years, all of her attention was on KT But when he was 8 or 9, Jacque and husband, James, decided they wanted another child. Several attempts eventually led them to fertility treatments.
The treatments worked — Jacque got pregnant with quadruplets. Jaedyn, Kallyn, Hayden and Ayren were born on Father’s Day 2000.
Somehow, even though Jacque went from one child to five children, she still managed to be every bit as involved. She made every event, every match, every game.
“She was that mom,” KT said.
Kallyn got involved in barrel racing the past few years, and any time she competed, Jacque would record it on her iPad. As soon as Kallyn would cross the start line, the only thing you could hear on the recordings was Jacque’s voice.
“Kick!” she’d scream.
“Go!” she’d yell.
A few years ago, KT became a big soccer fan. He’d never really cared much about the sport, but when he went to Oklahoma State, he became enamored with it. Became a member of the U.S. national fan club, the American Outlaws. Even went all the way to Columbus, Ohio, last fall to watch the World Cup qualifier against Mexico.
After the U.S. won that match, KT and his fiancé, Corie Stewart, were walking back to the car when his phone rang.
It was Jacque.
“We’re goin’ to Brazil!” she hollered.
Jacque’s love and passion resonated not only with her children but also with other people’s kids. It was routine for her to have the quads and four other kids in her van. It was common for several extra kids to be at the family’s small farmhouse between Perry and Orlando.
That was the case Sunday afternoon when KT arrived to tell Jaedyn, Hayden and Ayren about the accident. Kallyn had been in the car, and even though she needed stitches in her arm, she would be fine.
But Jacque, 48, didn’t survive.
The kids aren’t sure what they’re going to do now because the support that Jacque showed at their events and activities carried over to everything. Need money? Talk to mom. Have a problem? Call mom. Even though times got tough — James had a long battle with Huntington’s disease and died a few years ago, and even though Jacque remarried, her husband worked long hours for the railroad that often left her alone with the kids — she would do anything to help her children.
A few weeks ago after Kevin Durant’s MVP speech and the Thunder superstar’s heartfelt praise of his mother, KT sent his mom a link to the video.
“I feel this way about you,” he told her.
“She would drop everything for her kids,” said KT, who is soon to graduate from OSU with a journalism degree and is a photography intern this summer at The Oklahoman. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when something goes wrong. I’m just going to have to try to figure it out.”
He fell silent.
“I’m gonna make her proud. I’m gonna try.”
KT has taken the responsibility of figuring out who will take in the quads. They’re 13-year-olds without parents. He’s a 23-year-old with four kids. He wants them to continue to go to school at Mulhall-Orlando. He wants them to be around their friends. He wants them to have as much stability as possible.
The kids have become his priority.
He is all about loving them, supporting them, championing them. He is there to dry their tears and cheer their triumphs.
Jacque would be proud.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.
How to help
Want to help Jacque Jerome's children? A fund has been set up at GoFundMe.com.