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Human-Interest Story on Missing Person Jackie Markham


December 14, 2000 marks the disappearance of our mother, Jackie Markham, from her home in Callahan, Florida.  We have spent countless hours each day on the phone talking with anyone who will listen to spread the word of her disappearance in hopes that someone has some information that will lead to her whereabouts.  We have sent thousands and thousands of flyers throughout the Jacksonville area and surrounding counties to many various businesses and organizations in hopes that everyone will post the flyers of our mother to help us find her.


Each day is a challenge for us-Jackie’s children and grandchildren.  Every second of each hour that passes is consumed with thoughts of our mother.  We cannot stop the constant thoughts of her disappearance and her whereabouts.  Is she cold and wet?  Is she hungry?  Is she in pain?  Is she suffering?  Countless hours without sleep have passed as we struggle to hold our lives together and try to put the pieces together of her disappearance.  Every day life is unbearable and an inconceivable effort to live.  We cannot comprehend the living nightmare in which we are living.  We are living in a state of shock.  We do not understand what has happened to our mother and why this has happened. 


We struggle with every day life and every day tasks because of the incredible horror and anguish we feel in our hearts and souls.  The implausible guilt we feel because we are not able to protect our mother from this living hell.  We feel we may never feel a sense of normalcy again.  There is such an empty feeling in our bodies as though someone has ripped our heart from our body and destroyed it.  We feel numb and lost.  All the therapy sessions have not even begun to piece our lives back together nor our shattered hearts and souls while living this horrible tragedy.


We long to see our mother’s face, her smile, to hear her voice and wonderful laugh, to feel the warmth of her love through her touch.  It is so incredibly painful to not have her with us.  It is a pain and hurt none like we have ever felt.  A feeling of pain we cannot even begin to put into words.  Most of the time all we can do is cry because the feelings are so overwhelming it feels as though crying is the only emotion.  We have each experienced every emotion from constantly crying and not being able to hold back the tears because of the overwhelming hurt and pain, to frustration, to sheer anger.  We try our best to find a shred of strength in one another to be able to cope with each passing day. 


We want everyone to know our mother, Jackie.  She is a loving, compassionate, and trusting woman.  She is an independent and confident individual.  She would not hesitate to help another human being even if she hardly knew the person.  She ALWAYS finds the good in everyone and never sees nor questions the bad.  She has a dynamic, outgoing and fun loving personality that everyone around her loves and is attracted to.  She is a beautiful, strong and vibrant woman with the biggest heart and soul anyone could ever have.  Everyone who knows Jackie has always heard through the years how much she loves her children and grandchildren and how much they mean to her; they are her world.


Jackie moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 when she was just 20 years old.  She was married to her first husband and known then as Jackie NeSmith.  She raised her three children, Lisa, Melissa, and Scott on the west side of Jacksonville on Hillman Drive.  She was extremely active in the community for many years while her children were growing up.  She was very involved with the schools her children attended and very active in the church the family attended.  Jackie became close friends with all the neighbors and was the neighborhood mom to all the kids.  She knew everyone’s pets throughout the neighborhood and did not hesitate to doctor a cat or dog that got hit by a car on the busy street in front of her house.  She would pick up the animal, wrap the animal in a sheet and immediately take it to the vet for medical care.


Jackie got all of her children and the neighborhood children very involved in sports and taught them everything she knew.  Jackie played softball all the years she was growing up in Georgia and her teams always won state championships.  Jackie started the first Women’s Church Softball League in Jacksonville in the mid 1970’s and even coached her daughter, Melissa’s, softball team.  She started the first women’s softball team at Florida Rock Industries where she was first employed and her daughter Lisa played on the team with her. 


Jackie divorced in late 1970’s.  She remarried in mid 1980’s and moved near Jones Rd. in Jacksonville.  She became known as Jackie Markham and worked side by side with her husband in the trucking business.  Jackie’s dedication to her career and job is insurmountable.  She is known and respected by everyone in the trucking industry for nearly 20 years she has worked in this industry starting with her first job at Florida Rock Industries after her divorce.


In 1993 Jackie’s father had a massive stroke and he was not expected to live.  Jackie spent a great deal of time in Georgia visiting and taking care of her bedridden father.  Jackie and her father had an incredibly close relationship.  He taught her everything he knew and put a fishing pole in her hands when she was just in diapers.  There was not anything Jackie’s father nor Jackie could not build nor repair.


Jackie and her parents shared a great passion for the great outdoors and everything it had to offer.  Jackie spent many hours during her youth with her father and mother enjoying the outdoors by camping and fishing.  They shared a great respect and love for nature - sharing and learning about all animals, plants and trees, and fish.  They spent many hours all over Georgia searching, digging, and collecting arrowheads.  One of their most favorite hobbies was rock collecting from creeks and streams all over the southeast.  They all had the gift of a “green thumb” and the ability to grow anything and everything they desired, especially in a garden.  Jackie had so many wonderful pets throughout her lifetime, even a flying squirrel!  The love and respect of nature and all its wonderful qualities and characteristics is a passion and tradition both Jackie and her father passed along to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. 


After Jackie’s father had his massive stroke, he was determined to live despite his failing health and Jackie was devoted to making her father as happy and as comfortable as she possibly could and give him the best quality of life possible.  Jackie’s father could no longer speak nor walk from his stroke, but Jackie and her father had a special way of communicating that only the two of them understood.  You could see such incredible love in each of their eyes for one another.


Jackie faced the biggest challenge of her life because she knew her father would only be happy and he would fight to live only if he could live in his own home.  Jackie had to reconstruct her father’s house and make it wheelchair accessible and provide 24-hour healthcare for him.  Jackie accomplished her goals of caring for her father and though he was slowly deteriorating day by day; Jackie dealt with each deteriorating change with such grace, love, and determination to give her father dignity and quality of life.  Jackie’s father passed away in July 1998.  He lived for five years when he was not expected to live one day.  He had an unbelievable will and determination to live that even doctors could not scientifically understand nor explain and it was all because of the love, devotion and dedication of his wonderful daughter, Jackie. 


Everyone knows Jackie ALWAYS follows through with everything she commits to and they can count on her 150% to get the job done.  She has not missed a day of work in all her years in the trucking business.  Even when she has been ill, she goes into work.  Working in this business is a constant 24/7/365 on call type of business that never stops.


Jackie broke her ankle in 12/99 and was in a great deal of pain and had a cast on her foot and leg.  She was told by her doctors to stay off her ankle and rest and not to drive but she went to work the very next day anyways.  She had someone from the office go to her house and pick her up to take her back and forth to work every day.


Jackie has not taken vacation in all her years in the trucking industry.  The only time off she has ever taken has been to go to Tampa to visit her children and grandchildren and even then she is on the phone conducting business with her drivers.


Jackie divorced in September 1999 and bought a house in Callahan in Spring Lake Estates and has lived there for about a year.  She loves her home and has enjoyed decorating it.  She is very proud of her home and loves the community in which she lives.  She spends the little bit of free time she has on projects around her house.


Jackie is very open about her life.  Her children know at all times her plans and know she can always be reached at work, home, or by her cell phone.  Her children immediately went to Jacksonville on 12/15/00 when she did not show up for work nor did she call into work.  Her children knew there was something desperately wrong.  She was suppose to arrive in Tampa on the evening of 12/15/00 for her grandson’s birthday party at noon on the 16th.  Jackie loves her grandson more than life and would not miss his birthday party for anything in the world.  She never arrived into Tampa the entire weekend.


We are asking the help of the community.  This is not only a tragedy for Jackie’s family but a tragedy for everyone.  Jackie is one of our own who has spent 31 years of her life in Jacksonville.  Please post flyers in your place of business so that everyone can see her picture.  Please spread the word of her disappearance.  Please join in and help us find Jackie Markham! 


Please take a close look at her face.  Please think if this horrible tragedy was to happen to your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter, your aunt, your niece - how would this effect your heart, your being, your life, and your family?  Please if you have any information, please contact the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office at 904-225-5174.  We greatly appreciate the support of the community in our efforts to find our mother.


Thank You!!


Her Children & Grandchildren





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