October 19, 1937 – March 26, 2021
Jacquelyn Mielke loved to tell a good story and was blessed to live one, too. Like all good stories it was outrageously entertaining, full of twists and turns, joys and sorrows, mishaps and adventures, and despite its sad final chapter has a happy ending because her friends and family will remember her always with love and a smile and a tear – the trinity of gifts one leaves behind when they’ve touched the lives of others.
Jacque was born in Hood River, Oregon on October 19, 1937 to Dorothy and Albert Quine. She spent her toddlerhood and elementary school years in Portland, growing up with her sisters Shirley, Judy, and Jennifer, and moved with her family to Northport, Washington for her high school years. She attended Whitman College and the rigorous nursing program at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where she was offered a full-time teaching position upon graduation.
They recognized her gift for connecting with people in a fun-loving, warm-hearted way. She accepted the challenge of teaching nursing students barely younger than herself, supporting her husband, Roger Mielke, as he attended Dental School at the University of Oregon.
In 1962 they arrived in Campbell River to establish Roger’s dental practice and to start a family that grew to include four sons, their spouses, and children: David (Thomas); Bradley (Terri, children Amelia, Tristan); Michael (Eriko, children Kye, Sheena); and Tyson (Rachael).
When Roger left the family in the late 1970’s, Jacque applied for an RN position at the newly built Yucalta Lodge and worked there until her retirement. With Jack Chicalo, her partner of 40 years, she lived in her beloved beach home on Ocean Grove Road, hosting Pig Outs and dinner parties and get-togethers of all kinds, honing her talent for making people feel welcome and accepted without judgement.
Her family grew to include Jack’s family: John, Gerry, Diane, Wendel, Gloria, Steve, Moses, Roxan, Tanya, Wes, and Trematon. With Jack and dear friends like John and Irene Ross, she traveled the world and explored many of the wondrous nooks, peaks, and crannies around Vancouver Island and the BC coast.
She sailed into the creeping fog of her dementia with grace and an utter lack of self-pity, remaining cheerful and upbeat even when she no longer knew who she was. This was an extraordinary feat, given all her years of experience with dementia patients and end-of-life care at Yucalta Lodge. She knew more than most how dark the voyage could be, but her innate ebullient spirit focused on the light.
When Jacque retired from Yucalta, she was featured in a documentary about her nursing career. It captures her feelings about her work with dementia patients and end-of-life care, and has a special poignancy because she herself would live out her final days as a Yucalta resident. You are invited to view it online here: bit.ly/JacqueInterview
Jacque slipped out of her fetters on March 26, 2021, lovingly surrounded by family. Her family deeply thanks the administrative staff and caregivers at Yucalta Lodge for making that possible and for their own skillful and tender care.
They would also like to thank the caring staff at Evergreen Seniors Home, CR & District Adult Care Society and Eden Street Salon & Day Spa along with the special neighbours and friends who supported Jacque in so many ways, during the years of her illness.
Soft and slow we let you go into the Mystery with love.
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