Defining Jacque Sue Waller: Family, friends, co-workers reflect on missing area woman

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Submitted photo Jacque Waller cradles her great niece with two of her children at her side.

Jacque Sue Waller, the woman missing from Jackson since June 1, knew the risks of in vitro fertilization.

It may not work, a doctor told her more than five years ago, or worse, it would and she'd carry the triplets to term and one, or maybe two of them, wouldn't survive.

It didn't scare her, though; Waller wanted babies. All she wanted was to be a mother.

"When she decided she wanted children, she went about that in a big way. The doctor implanted three eggs," said Stan Rawson, Waller's father. "It wasn't long before she looked like she had a Volkswagen under her shirt."

Fast-forward five years and the bubbly, blonde 39-year-old was spending a May afternoon at her sister's in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., teaching her son and two daughters how to ride their bicycles. The day, according to Waller's sibling Cheryl Brenneke, is described by her sister as the best of her life.

"We've got it on video," Brenneke said Tuesday, trying to hold back tears. "She was proud, proud of that. She was proud of those babies."

Less than a month since then, Brenneke has custody of Waller's three children, who like Brenneke, haven't seen their mother in seven days. Jacque Waller was last seen by her estranged husband, Clay Waller, near his Jackson residence on Woodland Drive. The two have been married 17 years.

He was named Monday by the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad as a person of interest, not a crime suspect, in her disappearance.

Like the major case squad, family, friends and co-workers close to Waller know her disappearance is out of character for a woman so devoted to her children. She'd do anything to surprise her children and make them happy, said friend and co-worker Bridgid Sample, who recalled Wednesday helping Waller search for the perfect Christmas gift for the two girls. The two had been begging their mother for a real puppy, but Waller, Sample said, had an idea to make them just as happy.

"She wanted to get the girls these lifelike, but toy, puppy dogs. They would breathe, bark, and you could walk them," Sample said. "We spent our lunch hours just combing stores for the puppies. ... She finally did find them."

Submitted photo

Waller was unaware the dogs had motion sensors, and the toys stayed when she went to pick her children. Sample said Waller called her from the car, laughing hysterically over loud music, which she hoped would drown out the barking. Waller, Sample added, still managed to surprise the children Christmas morning.

"She was so funny. She could get me cracked up at the most inopportune times," said Sample, who worked with Waller at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. The two were managers.

"In the position that we shared over the last year there was some stressful and difficult situations we had to go through at work," Sample said. "It was easier to get through those knowing I had her on my side."

Robin McQuay and Kimberly Pettit, also co-workers, called Waller a "great boss" always willing to help. And when the company began outsourcing, Waller kept a positive attitude.

"She was pretty laid-back, actually," McQuay said. "She always joked that we may be on the way out because she had two other teams prior that were moved from Cape Girardeau."

Pettit said Waller brought "light and spunk" to the department.

"She was always cracking jokes to get us to laugh and from day one she fit right in," Pettit said. "We all loved to hear stories about her triplets, and obviously, from these stories, they are just as funny as her."

While Waller had hobbies of her own -- shopping mostly, according to her sister -- her children were her mainstay. She was always at their sporting events, taking them to the mall or a playground. Waller's children adored her just as much, McQuay said. Recently, Waller brought them to a fundraiser at Culver's for a fellow employee with breast cancer.

"They were all arguing who could sit by Mommy first. They absolutely loved their mom and were so happy to have her come work at home soon," McQuay said.

Waller's commitment to her job and dedication to her children were matched by her mission to try anything at least once. Stan Rawson said his daughter tried bungee jumping and one fall decided she wanted him to take her deer hunting.

"She thought it would be a grand exercise, I guess. I don't know exactly what she thought it would be. She was that kind of girl," Rawson said.

She was smart, too, her family said in a Tuesday interview, graduating from Farmington Senior High School and Southeast Missouri State University, where she was a cheerleader. Waller graduated with a business degree, Rawson said.

She was also the type to follow through on her goals, no matter how difficult. A few years ago, according to her family, she made the commitment to lose the weight she had gained during her pregnancy. She joined a gym, hired a personal trainer and got fit.

"That's Jacque for you. ... She didn't do anything halfway," Rawson said.

Sample said she and other co-workers are leaning on one another as the investigation into Waller's disappearance continues. She said she knows Waller wouldn't want them to give up hope.

"I think that it's been a roller coaster, depending on what's coming out on the news. ... But, we're hoping and praying," she said. " We just want her to come home or for there to be a resolution for her family."


Pertinent address:

Woodland Drive and North Neal Street, Jackson, MO

525 S. Hope St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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