Jacqui Schulz Vanosdall, 65, of Pensacola, Florida passed away on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Always one for adventure, Jacqui departed with her usual grace and with the support of Bernie and her family on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 after receiving an invitation to an even better adventure than this life can promise. Jacqui entered heaven and the presence of Christ after a long battle with cancer. Jacqui embodied beauty, creativity and grace in her life and was always on the lookout for enhancing these characteristics in the world and in the lives of those around her.
Jacqui was born in New London, Connecticut. Her father, Quinley R. Schulz, was a Naval Academy graduate ('45) and a Navy submarine captain. With her mother, Jane Fay Schulz, and younger brother, Rick Schulz, Jacqui grew up moving every few years with the military to Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii before the family settled in Arlington, Virginia near Washington D.C. during her high school years.
Characteristic of her winsome spirit of adventure, Jacqui skipped her high school graduation ceremony the summer of 1972 to participate in an archaeological dig with the Smithsonian Institute in Israel (from the stories, it was apparently as cool as it sounds). After returning, she started college at Ricker College in northern Maine to "go where winters were winters", and transferred two years later to pursue her bachelor degrees in pre-med and fine art from Old Dominion University in Virginia. After graduating, Jacqui spent the summer of 1977 with an aunt and her family in the Pacific Northwest on Whidbey Island, Washington where she saw their relationship with Jesus Christ lived out daily and committed herself personally to follow Christ.
After a delightful summer on Whidbey, Jacqui returned to the east coast and began working as an artist and illustrator for the Fish and Wildlife Department and for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. During this time she met her future husband, Bernie Vanosdall, a Navy fighter pilot, after he and mutual friend Tom Perkins crashed a wedding shower Jacqui was attending. Then, as now, Bernie says, “I have always been delighted by Jacqui’s engaging conversation, intelligence and depth of understanding, to say nothing of her beauty inside and out!” Jacqui and Bernie squeezed marriage in on March 10, 1984, between Jacqui’s scheduled travel to Finland and Bernie’s US Navy carrier work-ups and deployment. Jacqui then followed the carrier (and Bernie) around the Mediterranean, visiting Spain, Germany, Italy and France from June until August (quite the honeymoon…!) and returning back to Virginia Beach, Virginia and starting their family.
As Bernie changed duty stations, Jacqui and Bernie continued their adventures together, moving around the US with the Navy to San Diego, California, back to Virginia Beach, Virginia and out to the wilds of Kingsville, Texas. Jacqui raised and homeschooled four kids, taking great delight in imparting her love for learning and discovery to them, along with her creativity and adventurous spirit. She also instilled in most of them her personal standard of excellence, witty repartee and a deep love of strong coffee.
Before they met, Bernie and Jacqui were each committed to knowing Christ, making Him known and teaching others to do the same, and that continued to be central to all Jacqui did throughout her life in and outside of the home. Bernie and Jacqui hosted Bible studies at their home, and cared for and developed the community around them. Following retirement from the Navy, Bernie and Jacqui went on full-time staff with the Navigators mission organization and in 2001, the family moved to Okinawa, Japan to begin a new adventure overseas.
During their ten years in Okinawa, Jacqui continued to teach (both homeschooling and teaching at an international high school) and graduate four kids while hosting weekly ministry events in her home and meeting with women and her Japanese neighbors and friends. We are not sure that it wasn’t Jacqui’s aim to visit every inch of Okinawa, and meet every person there, too! Jacqui (and the whole family) loved Okinawa, extending their original three year assignment year by year out to ten!
In 2012, after ten years in Okinawa, a sabbatical back in the US, and a lot of travel as kids graduated from colleges and grad school, Bernie and Jacqui moved to Pensacola, Florida (Jacqui’s 19th move) to minister to flight students and young enlisted “A” school students from every branch of the Service. Once again having guests in her home several times a week put Jacqui’s walk with God, gift of hospitality and personal grace and style on display as she blessed and impacted the lives of students, friends and neighbors. Bernie says, “The students she hosted in our home experienced Jesus’ love and grace first hand from Jacqui. She discipled a steady stream of young women and wives to know, love, and become like Jesus Christ. Jacqui’s winning smile, genuine interest and ability to ask engaging questions drew each person into a friendship that brought depth to their walk with Jesus.”
Jacqui could often be found, coffee in hand, in the garden with her chickens, experimenting with impressive and masterful recipes in the kitchen, or preparing for and hosting friends in her home. Close family friends, Tom and Ann Perkins, who have known Jacqui from the days before she married Bernie, say, “In the years that we knew Jacqui, there were several constants in her life: her kindness, her winsome spirit, her ability to make you feel you are the most important person in the room, her incredible talent in the arts (fine artist for the Smithsonian and Fish & Wildlife) and her hospitality. Their home has always been a revolving door for Navy, Marines, Air Force, military wives, and neighbors. We dearly miss her, but not for long.”
Jacqui brought beauty, grace, creativity and a cup of coffee to everything she did. People were her favorite and Jacqui was always deeply honored to be invited into other’s lives and valued their friendship and personal stories. Jacqui beat her very competitive husband, Bernie, and their four children: Button, Eric, Peter, and Wren into the presence of Christ. In addition, left to carry on the race are Jacqui’s brother Rick (Rose) Schulz, beloved relatives, and the many personal friends who have grown to become our extended family. Though dearly missed, Bernie and kids are excited for Jacqui’s new adventure savoring the beauty of Christ and enjoying him forever.
There are many, many more stories about Jacqui and her adventures that we could share, and that each of you have as well! We invite you to share your stories with the Vanosdall Family; you can contact Bernie directly. Thank you for being a special part of Jacqui's story!
314 S. 61st Avenue
Pensacola, FL 32506