Family and friends share their memories

Jacqueline ArcarisJacqueline “Jax” Elizabeth Ann Arcaris was lifted to heaven at the age of 40 at 1:22 a.m. on February 8, 2012.  She left this world exactly how she wanted; at her home in Denver Colorado, at peace, surrounded by family and friends.  She lived life fully and adventurously, even when she was dealing with breast cancer.  Jax inspired people near and far with her zest for life.

She was born on December 28, 1971 in Los Angeles, California to Mr. & Mrs. George J. Arcaris Jr. She is survived by her husband, Britton Thomas, her mother Susan, her brother George, sister-in-law Christine, and three nieces;  Juliette, Sarah, and Catherine.

Jacqueline is a graduate of Pasadena Polytechnic High School in California receiving the headmaster’s award for the student who best embodied the qualities of the school. She then attended Purdue University where she became a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.  She was actively involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), serving as the ASCE student chapter president for two years.  She graduated from Purdue in 1995 earning her Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering.

After graduation, Jacqueline began working in the oil industry, gaining experience as a field engineer, spending four years in the oil fields of Texas and Louisiana.  While working in this male-dominated industry, she found great success in her ability to earn the respect of those around her.  

In 2000, she decided to pursue her love for the outdoors and moved to Colorado where she would soon meet the love of her life.  Jacqueline met Britton in the Rose Bowl area at Beaver Creek Ski Resort on St. Patrick’s Day in 2001. She married Britton on May 14, 2005 in Estes Park, Colorado.  Jacqueline and Britton shared an ardent love of the outdoors and they accomplished more adventures in their 11 years together than many do in an entire lifetime.

While in Colorado, Jacqueline spent 12 years as a professional civil engineer, focusing in water resources planning, environmental engineering, and project management. Jacqueline was known in the industry for her energetic, supportive and professional leadership.  Jacqueline became a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in the state of Colorado in 2008.  
  
Throughout her career, Jacqueline continued to be a leader within the ASCE in Colorado and the Purdue Alumni club.  She  helped establish the Colorado ASCE younger members group, serving as president of  the group.  Jacqueline then served as the Colorado Section Treasurer and a Region 7 Governor for the Region Board of ASCE.  She was also active in the Purdue Club of Colorado and served as the Treasurer since 2006.

Jacqueline was full of life and loved new experiences and adventures.  Some of her favorite activities included telemark and alpine skiing, hiking and backpacking,  climbing “14’ers” (14,000 foot mountains),  rock climbing, soccer, volleyball, yoga, plants and gardening, and travelling. Her adventures took her to 4 continents and throughout the United States on hundreds of trips with friends and family. The biggest mountain she climbed was Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.

She was passionate about nutrition and dedicated to eating and living in a way that allowed her body to thrive and heal.  She focused on living each moment fully and was committed to being emotionally healthy and making genuine connections with the people in her life. Jacqueline loved all art including children’s artwork and her famous blue dogs. She was a National Ski Patrol volunteer at Loveland Ski Area and was adored by her friends there.  

Jacqueline loved animals and children, and they loved her with joy and delight.  She was a wonderful friend and made everyone feel as though they were loved and the most important person in the world.  We are all better people for having had her in our lives. She will be dearly missed – but we know that she is still with us on every adventure we take.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW--What a Ride!"

– Mark Frost

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Jax was a lot of things to a lot of different people. A skier, adventurer, confidant, climber, engineer, a smiling face, wife… the list could go on and on. Most importantly she was a true friend to many people. I always knew she was special and she could make you feel like you were special too. She made everyone she met feel special and I am know coming to find out that she has changed the lives of many people some which she has never met.

I received a letter from a high school classmate of mine that never met Jax. She wrote it Monday the 6th. Jax never got to read it, but I’d like to share it with you all now.

Jax,

I don’t know how many letters you receive from total strangers. I hope you don’t mind this one. You have been on my heart all day today. I’ve taken you to a play ground, on a walk home, to yoga and out to look at the moon. Each time wishing I could take your place for just a little while and you could have mine. I hope you were at least able to have a clear sky for a view at the full moon.

I imagine you are thinking of all the things you wish you were doing. I wish you were doing them too. But, it occurred to me that what you are doing now and have been doing is what you were meant to do. Can a stranger get away with saying something so awful?

It sounds heartless but I do not mean it that way at all. What I see from the way outside is you changing lives. Not just one, but many. I see so many posts from people who have met you once or have never met you and yet you have left a lasting impression with them.

Laughter, zeal, strength, courage and lots and lots of love. But you are also honest – so honest. I think you are a shining example to many and it has nothing to do with your battle – though mighty – with disease. It is because of who you are, how you’ve grown, and what you share.

I know, or rather, I read, how hard it has been. It may be too hard to see the work you are doing in others. Imagine, too, how your trust in God is influencing others to think of things above and not earthy things. It is a scary thing to share faith boldly and it is just one more accomplishment you’ve earned with grace.

Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for others. I know you trained to rescue people on ski slopes and mountains but I think your higher calling is to rescue lost souls from your computer screen. God is using your “weakness” to make you strong in other ways. The cost is so very great, though, and I hurt for you because of it.

That’s why I’m convinced you’ve been blessed with unfailing love. Not many know that in a lifetime. It is rare. Of all the things you have to miss, I am so glad that is not one of them.

Please know I have posted your website on my facebook page and you know you are very popular in Paducah, KY. Several people have read all of your posts start to finish and are praying for you.

My yoga teacher always closes class this way, and tonight, it is my prayer for you.

May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you come to know the light that is your true nature.
May you find healing, and…
May you be a source of healing in the world. Namaste.
The light in me greets the light in you.

All my love, sweet Jax.

-- Eulogy from Britton Thomas, Husband of Jacqueline

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Click here to read the Jacqueline ("Jax") Arcaris story written by Bill Davis.

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Click here to read the eulogy for Jacqueline ("Jax") Arcaris written by Rev. Joel Garrett.

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To post your own tribute about Jax here, please email us at ICANCancerPrograms@askican.org and we will post it within 24 hours. Please include your phone number.

The Jacqueline ("Jax") Arcaris Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program
is a vital part of ICAN's Cancer Patient Advocacy and Clinical Trials Program Advocacy Services.

For more information about this special program, please click on.....

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