Jacqueline (Jackie) Karpus Trail’s battle against cancer was fierce but short-lived, as she left her physical body to be with her savior this past Friday, June 12th, surrounded by her husband,children, and grandchildren.There are many ways we could describe her: loving wife; dedicated mother; nurturing grandmother; confidential counselor; accomplished artist; skilled caretaker; thoughtful intellectual; committed to service; woman of enduring faith; baker of all things delicious; and non-mincer of words. And yet, even those fail to adequately sum up all she meant and continues to mean to each of us.
She was born in Chicago on September 2, 1936, daughter of Charles and Estelle Karpus. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, having been double-promoted due to her outstanding academic ability and her maturity. As a child, she developed a love for music that resulted in winning awards and delivering professional performances. Immediately following high school, she entered St. Joseph’s Hospital and School of Nursing, finishing the three year program at the age of nineteen. It was there that she not only met friends who would be a part of her life for over 50 years but also her future husband, James (Jim) H. Trail, Jr., a patient on her floor, who persisted in getting her contact information so he could ask her out on a date.
A few years later, just before her 20th birthday, they would marry at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Chicago, and begin an adventure together that would yield seven children, seventeen grandchildren, and their first great-grandchild, who will join the family in the coming days. Family members include her children: Pamela (Bruce), Bryan (Janet), Mark (Layne), Bruce (Jamie), James (Kristine), Elizabeth (Jonathan); grandchildren, Rachel, Matthew, Ian, Jennifer (Seth), Kathleen, Ethan, Kaeden, Brittany, Abigail, KD Rae, Emma, Jacob, Alexander, Chelsea, Reese, Chloe; great-grandchild, Jaxon; daughter-in-law, Karen.
She is preceded in death by one son, Scott.
Her children brought her incredible joy and she instilled in them the importance of family, of faith, and of service. In addition to pursuing the helping profession of nursing; being an active member of Holy Cross; and leader in both Girl and Boy Scouts; one of Jackie’s proudest accomplishments was earning the Silver Beaver award by the Boy Scouts of America for her distinguished service to the organization. She earned this honor through her work in developing and delivering the first Cub Scout Day Camp in Champaign-Urbana, which served more than 800 scouts and parents, during its inaugural summer, at the Champaign County Fairgrounds. In addition, she was awarded recognition by the Peoria Diocese for her service to Holy Cross Church.
As her children grew and her family expanded, she took on new hobbies and activities. When she was young, she recalled seeing a St. Bernard roaming around her childhood neighborhood and she never forgot it. Later in life, she began raising, training, and showing them in dog shows both near and far. She became a student of the breed which resulted in twelve champions.
One of her final acts, just before her illness revealed itself, was the purchase of a special set of wind chimes that she instructed Jim to hang in the backyard and to “remember me” each time the wind activates them. These days, as they chime, he takes extra time to stop and to listen and to remember. She will forever be in our thoughts and in our hearts.
There will be a private funeral mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church, with burial at St. Mary's Cemetery in Champaign.
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