Hundreds turned out for her visitation, funeral and burial in Park Hills, not far from where she grew up, lived and spent her last days with her then-5-year-old triplets before her death June 1, 2011.
Jacque Waller, 39, was killed her by her estranged husband, Clay Waller, who on Thursday pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 20-year prison sentence. Her body was recovered May 29, buried in the sand in Alexander County, Ill., near Devil's Island near Cape Girardeau, after Clay Waller led authorities there as part of a plea bargain arrangement.
Saturday offered some closure for Jacque Waller's family and friends. Most important to her parents, Stan and Ruby Rawson, was that she be found and they have a chance to say goodbye to their daughter.
A longtime friend of Jacque Waller, Blye Galemore, delivered the eulogy during the funeral, held at Esther Baptist Church, which gave a glimpse into who Jacque Waller was and how much she meant to so many people.
Those who knew the stories Galemore told of Jacque Waller nodded as she spoke, laughed and cried.
"Although she was small in stature, she lived a very big life," Galemore said, referring to Jacque Waller's height of 5 feet 1 inch. "And she was a fighter. She wasn't a quitter."
Galemore recounted practical jokes she said Jacque Waller was notorious for, the care she gave her children and the effect she had on people who knew her.
"She was a mentor to many and an inspiration to many others," Galemore said.
Jacque Waller was employed by Anthem Blue Cross in Cape Girardeau. Her co-workers shared with Galemore stories of Jacque Waller's fun-loving antics for her to tell attendees of the funeral.
"She wore a pink feather boa to push the snack cart around at work," Galemore said, pulling a boa from a bag on the podium and placing it around her neck. Throughout the sanctuary, colorful feather boas at that moment also rose to the necks of Jacque Waller's children, family and friends.
During a stressful time at work or hard times in her life, Galemore said, Jacque Waller remained optimistic.
"I'm gonna bring on the thunder and I'm gonna bring on the lightning," Jacque Waller was known to say.
The triplets, Avery, Maddox and Addison, sat with Jacque Waller's niece, sister, brother-in-law, father and mother, in the church's front pew, facing their mother's pink rose-draped casket.
During the visitation, photographs of Jacque Waller growing up, on her wedding day, pregnant with her children, dressed for Halloween and smiling with family and friends flashed on a screen at the front of the church.
After the eulogy, Jacque Waller's sister, Cheryl Brenneke, rose and hugged Galemore.
"It was perfect," Brenneke said through tears.
The pink feather boa was placed on top of the casket.
The Rev. Vernon Long, Jacque Waller's pastor, who also performed the wedding ceremony of the Wallers, led the congregation in prayers. He asked members of law enforcement, co-workers of Jacque Waller and searchers to stand and be recognized. He also spoke directly to Jacque Waller's children.
"You may not have your mother with you, but let me tell you, love continues on when you're gone," Long said.
Saturday was Stan and Ruby Rawson's 50th wedding anniversary. The Rev. Cody Allen, who opened the funeral ceremony, said for the two years Jacque Waller was missing, thousands of people witnessed the same strength expressed by the words in the Rawsons' wedding vows.
"There is better, and there is worse," Allen said. "Today is better."
Waller was buried Saturday at Woodlawn Cemetery in Park Hills. Brenneke and her husband will continue to take care of the Waller children.
412 7th St., Park Hills, Mo.