Champion for Children: Jackie Eads

Posted on by Bonnie Rodriguez

Last week, we lost a dear friend and sister in Christ, and a champion for youth - Jackie (pictured left at a YFC Christmas in July Camp celebration, along with the camp speaker, Don, and her sister, Judy).

Jackie Eads was a champion of young people, embodying unconditional love and acceptance for all. She was born in Denver, Colorado and came to Miami at a young age. Her parents also had Judy, Jackie's dear sister who was by her side throughout her life and until the very end. Jackie passed away on October 31, 2019.

From an early age, it was evident that she would be committed to Christ in everything she did. She attended the University of Maryland, where she became a Kappa Kappa Gamma, a sorority in which she was involved beyond her college years. Her career path led her to Miami Coral Park Senior High School in 1963 where she was the Activities Director for over 40 years. During that time, she was a teacher, mother-figure, mentor, and friend to countless young people. "Miss Eads" had the unique ability to make each person feel thoroughly loved and unconditionally accepted. She deeply touched the hearts of all her students, and many continued to be blessed by her encouragement and involvement in their lives long after graduating high school.

Jackie was a role model to all, freely sharing God's love and showing how to love not just with words but with deeds. Although she never had the opportunity to become a "Mom", God gave her children that would be part of her life forever. Besides her career, which required work beyond the bell including evenings and weekends, Jackie's passion to bring young people closer to Christ led to her involvement in Youth for Christ. Jackie first got involved with YFC in 1977 when students formed a Coral Park Campus Life Club. She volunteered faithfully and through her service, she met the love of her life, John Thatcher. Together they impacted so many people with the love of Jesus Christ through YFC and countless other worthy causes.

In 2006, she became the first female board member of Youth for Christ and served faithfully to her last breath; so much so that when Jackie got sick a few weeks ago, the President of Youth for Christ/USA published a tribute to her that included the challenge "to live Jackie." To live Jackie is to live for Jesus and to live for others in all the little ways: a card, a gift, a cup of coffee, a smile, a text. She was relentless in her thoughtfulness and love for others and for nearly 50 years, Miami Youth for Christ was the recipient of her affection and attention. Her deepest desire was that everyone she knew would embrace the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, the simple, powerful and transformative Gospel that defined her.

If you want to "live Jackie", you only need to embrace 10 words: Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. The staff team of Miami YFC is committed to honoring her life by "living Jackie" and sharing that simple message with every teenager in Miami. Jackie Eads was absolutely the most generous, thoughtful and genuinely joyful person known. She was a true champion of teenagers, not only as the Activities Director at Coral Park High but also as a cheerleader, advocate, volunteer and board member for Miami Youth for Christ, Granada Day School and the Agape Network.

Additionally, Jackie was a devout member of Granada Presbyterian Church since 1971. Her involvement in the church included being a member of various community groups. She also taught both in the Lois/Ruth Circle and Sunday School to teenagers. Jackie Eads lived a life where God's presence was felt wherever she was. May all who were blessed to have known her, even if for a brief moment, continue to "live Jackie." In lieu of flowers, Jackie requested donations to Youth for Christ, which may be mailed to: Youth For Christ, PO Box 561101, Miami, Florida 33256.

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