Jessamine Lee “Jackie” Bierschied Wheeler passed away Dec. 2, 2010. Jackie was born in Waynoka, Okla. on Oct. 5, 1930 to John Q. and Lucy Allen Weaver. Her dad didn’t like the name, so he called her “Jackie” and the name stuck.
In 1932, the family migrated to Fruita, Colo. and then on to Loma, where she grew up attending eight years of school in the old Loma schoolhouse. She graduated from Fruita Union High School.
She married her high school sweetheart, Joe Bierschied. To this union was born one daughter, Jamie Lou (deceased), and five sons: William Allen (deceased), Joe Dell Jr. (Julie), David Lee (Nicole), Carl Quincy, and Patrick Kim.
In 1949, they moved to Minturn, Colo., where Joe worked at the Gilman Mine. When uranium became a big boom, they moved back to Fruita and Joe went to work in a mine in Yellow Cat, Utah. Jackie and the children stayed in Fruita.
At that time, there was only one phone line from Moab to Fruita. Jackie got tired of being alone with the kids all week, so she went to Grand Junction and made a deal with a trailer salesman. They took all of her furniture as a down-payment on a brand new 28-foot trailer. She tried to call Joe to tell him what she had done. But before the call went through (your number was put on a list and someone had to be home when your number came up), Joe heard about it that weekend when he came home, as Jackie was at the grocery store when her number came up, so the number went back to the bottom of the list.
They lived in Thompson for about a year, then moved to La Sal and Joe went to work for Hidden Splendor Mining, which later became Atlas. On a cold winter day in February 1958, they made the move to Moab.
Jackie was very active in the PTA and also as a schoolroom mother, at one time being a room mother for each of her three sons’ rooms.
Being a Catholic, she was very impressed with St. Pius X church, as she had been attending mass in one of the Redd Ranches ranch hand’s houses in La Sal, kneeling on the floor with the only heat coming from a pot-bellied stove.
She started singing in the church choir, becoming the soloist, teaching catechism, and one year was even the director of religious education. As such, she once gave a 30-minute speech before over 200 nuns, priests, and parishioners in Price. She supplied her sons as altar boys, washing and ironing their surplus and seeing that the cassocks got to the cleaners as needed.
In 1965, when a person (Marge Garcia) suggested that we have a public dinner on Election Day, Jackie became the first chairperson and held that position until 1978. It is still a big money-maker and is still going strong. In 1999, Jackie’s health started going downhill so she resigned from being cantor.
In 1981, Joe died and in late 1982, Contel announced they were closing the Moab office, so Jackie transferred to Show Low, Ariz., leaving behind her home, sons, and grandchildrenwhen she moved there in March 1983.
One evening about a year later, she got a phone call from an old Loma friend by the name of Hugh Wheeler. They were married in Moab at St. Pius X on Oct. 20, 1984. Hugh retired from the post office in Grand Junction and moved to Show Low, where they lived until 1986 when Jackie retired from the phone company. They then moved back to Moab.
Surviving Jackie are her sons, Joe Dell Jr. (Julie), David Lee (Nicole), Carl Q., and P. Kim; her grandchildren, Tammie (Johnnie) Woodruff, Tiffany (Robbie) Swafford, Jamie, Quincy, Michaela, Tara, P. Kim II, Nathan and Makenna; eight great-grandchildren; step-children, Cheryl (Bill) Fiegel, Bill (Donna) Wheeler, Lori (Tim) DeRoche, Betty Wheeler, Patty Wheeler, and Andy Wheeler; and sister, Lucille Powell of Moab, Utah.
Jackie was preceded in death by her husbands Joe and Hugh; daughter Jamie; son Bill; grandson Dirk Bierschied; brothers John Weaver, Carl Weaver; Don Weaver, sisters Jane Trosper and Nona Hawkes, and her parents.
She loved to travel, having gone to Hawaii, Cancun, Mexico, cruised through the Panama Canal, Columbia, Jamaica, Greece, Yugoslavia, Grand Island in the Bahamas, and Costa Rica. She and Hugh, with their pick-up and fifth-wheel, traveled down into Mexico, where they loaded onto a train flatbed car that took them across the Copper Canyon to Ochus Rios then down to Mazatlan and from there they boarded a ferry across to the Baja, traveling up the Baja and then back home.
Jackie was an avid bridge player. In later years, she played on the Internet, making friends all over the world, including a very special friend, Wendy Jeffery, of Warwickshire, England.
Funeral services were held on Monday, Dec. 6 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Moab. Arrangements were by Kimmerle-Hefner Funeral Home.