In Loving Memory of Jamie Renee Boone Fitzgerald
On March 1, 1977 I was blest with the birth of my second daughter, Jamie Renee, Boone. I lovingly called her Monkey from the day she was born. As joyous as that day was I could never have imagined the ever deepening joy I was given as Jamie grew and blossomed. Our Heavenly Father granted me the privilege of being the mother of one of His most valiant spirits. Throughout all her life and trials Jamie sought only to please her Heavenly Father.
It would be hard for me to imagine a more humble God serving soul. She was given more trials and tribulations than anyone else I personally know and yet never questioned why but only how to endure. When things got really tough I reminded her of Job and she realized she would never be asked more than she could endure.
I believe the most noble and valiant in the pre-existence chose the most challenging trails because they knew they could prevail and be examples to the rest of us.
Jamie was upbeat, positive and sometimes silly, always kind and thoughtful and loved being with family and friends having fun.. She was trained to send cards as a child and found joy in doing so as an adult. She loved talking on the phone and many of us heard from her every day! She loved the sharing and support from friends and family members. She had special phone relationships with her Aunt Barbara, Aunt Shelly and Cousin Carl. Carl would help her find courage to expand her horizons and work past her fears. I had the pleasure of talking to her several times each day sharing experiences, insights, understandings, gospel principles and prayers.
As a baby she never did crawl but scooted digging her heels into the carpet and lifting her bottom up and forward and propelled herself across the floor. I called her Scooter during this phase. She finally walked at 19 months!
One of my special memories was when she was 8 years old. It was a few months after her baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I had just returned home from BYU Education Week and Jamie was sharing with me that some of her friends had wanted her to do something wrong. She told them no and when they asked her why she told them she didn’t want to lose the Holy Ghost. That touched my heart and was the beginning of what I call my Jamie Stories.
She had many fears as a young child and sometimes school seemed overwhelming to her. One of her teachers, Mr. Coffinger, in elementary school gave her an award for being brave when he asked her to be. Yet when she saw a wrong she had the strength to face it. When she was 10 she was at a public pool and some older boys were taunting a younger boy who had no feet. She walked over to the bully and with her knees shaking chastised him and the bullies just looked at her and walked away. The crippled boy said “Thanks girl”.
Jamie was a tomboy and loved playing outside on Sesame Street where we lived for the first 12 years of her life. One of my favorite mind pictures of Jamie is when we were at Price Club and she asked for a skate board. When the answer was yes the happiness on her face as she stood in line holding her skateboard was priceless.
She loved acting and I signed her with Bobby Ball Agency and she did a few commercials and spent two summers with her sister, Kari, in Childsplay, an acting group for children.
Her favorite sport was soccer and she started playing when she was in the second grade. When she first tried out she attempted to kick the ball and missed it and wanted to walk off but I made her go back and try again and she kicked it perfectly. She went on to play through high school and was an amazing runner on the field. During one game her coach watched her run down the field and marveled at her speed saying “Where did she get those legs??”
Although very athletic she was also musical. When she was 5 I bought a piano because she wanted to learn how to play. She took lessons for a couple of years and then switched her interest to the violin and played through her Freshman year at Marcos De Niza High School..
Her passion was horses and at age 5 her father, Dale Boone, started her horseback riding lessons. At age 15 I bought her a horse named Nikita Pepanita. Mine was named Talley and we boarded our horses first at the home of Marsha Pool, a friend and horse trader we bought our horses from, and then at Papago Stables where she rode Nikita until she got too tall for the short horse and sold it to Jane Scott the daughter and former Miss Wyoming of the owner of the stable. She was friends with Wayne and Clay Scott and for years we would go to the stables to watch the 4th of July fireworks together.
While I was remarried to Fred Whiting Jamie became friends with his children and developed a special bond with his oldest daughter, Julie. Over the past few years we shared time in California visiting and enjoying our California vacation together. The vacations were shared with Jamie’s older sister Kari, her step sister Julie and lifelong friend Tarina Wood, who was our neighbor on Sesame Street until we moved.
At age 15 Jamie’s life faced a horrific challenge – the diagnosis of being Bi-Polar Schizoeffective. Her fear was so great that she dropped out of Marcos DiNiza High School for several months and repeated her sophomore year at Mountain Pointe High School after her father and I, then divorced, decided it would be best for her to live with him as he was remarried and could guarantee a structured daily routine which would serve Jamie best. Jamie and I were like Frick and Frack and not having her by my side daily was a sacrifice I knew I had to make and yet was so thankful for a dedicated father and his new wife Mary who loved Jamie and Kari as her own.
Jamie read and studied about her condition and the medications that could help her. She tried to understand and deal with her fears. She became inactive from the church for a few years but was always sweet and loving and was fast friends with everyone she met.
She had a fear of flying but in September of 1998 was willing to go on a three week trip to London, Paris and a bus tour of England and Scotland with my mother and I. She was the darling of the trip and had wonderful experiences. She was also willing in 2008 to go on a family trip to Alaska for a cruise which she enjoyed with her husband, Kevin, myself and her sister, Kari, her husband, Ryan, and their 3 children, Kaleigh, Rylee and Shane and Savanna Dilettoso who Jamie loved like a sister.
Jamie was one of the entertainers on passenger performance night having tried out for and getting the part of Gloria Estefan singing The Rhythm Is Going To Get You. She was a hit!! As was her brother-in-law, Ryan Powell, who was chosen for the part of Elton John singing Crocodile Rock.
She adored her older sister, Kari. Jamie was two years younger than Kari and often annoyed her but Kari always had her back. Jamie was a wonderful aunt to Kari’s 3 children, Kaleigh now 15, Rylee now 12 and Shane now 10 and they all have special memories of her and loved their nick names: Kaliegh was called Dulce, Rylee was called Duke Duke or Dukers and Shane was called Dane Dane or Boone Boone.
Although for several years in her early 20’s she was not attending church regularly Jamie was always prayerful and aware of promptings. Eight years ago she was going to drive out to California to meet a new person and was prompted to call Meredith, a relative of the family, who she had met 4 years prior and knew for only 3 hours. She explained to Meredith that she was coming to California and Meredith told her you have to meet my brother. That was Kevin Fitzgerald and it was an immediate click. They spoke on the phone for 5 weeks from July 2004 to August 2004 and then she came out to officially meet him. She moved to El Cahon to be with him in April 2005 and one year later their marriage was set for April 22, 2006. The day of the wedding I came down with Guillian Barre, a rare auto immune syndrome and the following week Jamie contacted Bishop LeMieux from my ward for counseling during her fear of losing me and began her missionary lessons to come back to the church. While I was in the hospital she wasn’t sure if I would live and desperately wanted to talk to me at least one more time. When she was prompted to call she was able to hear me tell her “I love you Monkey” before the nurse told her I was crashing and had to hang up. Kevin also took the missionary lessons. I was released two months later in July and Kevin was baptized the following August and Jamie and he were sealed one year later.
Jamie and Kevin are a chosen couple who set the example of love and unity and service to their fellow man. Jamie looked every day to who she could serve. She served the widows because of the inspiring example set by LDS President, Thomas S. Monson. She gave to the homeless people and one of my favorite stories is how on one cold, cold day she bought a coat, scarf, gloves, socks and hat for a homeless man named Edward who just cried at her kindness.
Jamie loved her once a year opportunity to serve at the Mormon Battalion making dolls which she gave to the little children. One of my prized possessions is the doll she was allowed to make for herself and gave to me because she knew I wanted one. Jamie was totally unselfish.
The person Jamie most loved serving was her husband Kevin. With his help she overcame her fear of cooking and when his mother Donna came to visit she would bring Jamie new recipes to cook and help prepare them with her. Jamie became so happy with her accomplishments in the kitchen! She loved her walks with Kevin and their beloved Boston Terrier, Brutus. She liked taking the trolley with Kevin down to San Diego. She loved watching TV talk shows with Kevin and the history channel and admired Kevin’s knowledge and how well he discussed his ideas and thoughts.
Memorial Day weekend 2011 I came out for a LDS Singles Conference in San Diego and Jamie got permission from her Bishop to attend to keep me company. We were able to spend time together in the San Diego Temple Friday evening and at the Saturday night dance Jamie and I danced together all evening having more fun than I have had in a long time. She was such a great dancer.
Jamie was athletically fit and loved to run. She had recently been training with John Rankin who left for the summer Olympics but gave both Jamie and Kevin running shoes before leaving for the London 2012 Olympics and was looking forward to helping Jamie train when he returned. He had Jamie write why he should train her and respected her answers and agreed to work with her upon his return.
Jamie had Trigeminal Neuralgia and suffered with it for years thinking the pain was related to her teeth and after removing several molars realized it was a nerve condition. Julie Child from my 10th ward had suffered from the same condition and became close friends with Jamie and consulted with her frequently about the condition. Jamie was able a few months ago to have a successful surgery by Dr John Alksne at UCSD who verbally told Jamie he was aware of a higher power in the operating room who guided his hand. Jamie felt the angels around her during the operation.
The veil between Heaven and Earth was thin for Jamie and she was ever aware of the promptings of the Holy Ghost. She had many miraculous experiences because of her choice to always put God first and live a life of obedience to her Heavenly Father’s commandments and covenants.
During the last few months things began changing for Jamie. Her vision became double in one eye and there were episodes of not seeing at all out of her other eye and fainting. She had been put on new medication and was not tolerating it well.
This past month she had a manic episode which resulted in her going to Grossmont Behavorial Health Hospital and then because of legal rights currently in place in California was released pre-maturely and sent home against her psychiatrist’s advice to the judge.
Kevin was in Nevada visiting family believing Jamie would be in the hospital for 2 weeks. She was planning a visit to Arizona. However, she was alone and got scared and called the police for help. That call resulted in her death. She passed away Friday 13, 2012.
God’s tender mercy was to allow me to be on the phone with her and hear her last words and to allow her passing in such a way that there were recipients for Jamie’s heart, lungs, and liver as well as other parts of her body. My prayer is that the recipients go on to achieve something wonderful for others with their extended and improved life and serve mankind as Jamie would have done if she was still alive.
Jamie is remembered for her childlike faith, loving nature, giving spirit and constant desire to serve. Jamie set the bench mark on how to be of genuine service to her fellow man.
I so love my little Monkey and am so thankful for my testimony of the plan of salvation and the knowledge I have that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ and that I will be with Jamie again someday. I am thankful she and Kevin are sealed for Time and Eternity and will be together again.
When my mother passed away it was while listening to Andrea Bocelli singing the Lord’s Prayer with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Ironically, Jamie’s brain herniated while listening to the same song allowing her to pass in time to give her life saving organs to others. I will play it for you now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEplqV0scyo