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Obituary for Jackie Malena
On April 11 2015, Jacquelyn Michele Smith Malena, slipped away from the bonds of cancer and soared to the heights that she so richly deserved. Jackie, as she was known, lived an exemplary life. She was a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, cousin and devoted friend to a closely-knit group of young women who held her in high esteem. Indeed, over the past month of her illness, her friends came from as far as Tennessee, Minnesota, and Ohio to share time with her once again. Joe, Her sister Kelly and girlfriends spent hours at her side over the past three weeks. Jackie was kind, caring and good-humored throughout her life. She was simply beautiful.
Jackie was the first-born child (April 1, 1974) of Jack E. and Carol Ann Smith (deceased) of Parkville, Mo. She and her sister Kelly were in a loving family where they, as young girls, helped their parents in their Independent drug store (Smith Drugs) in Parkville, and traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada. Jackie graduated from Park Hill High School. She attended the University of Arkansas for a year and then continued her education at Park University, receiving a BA degree in political science.
She met the love of her life, Joseph Malena, in 1998; they were married in 2000. Jackie and Joe produced two daughters, Alyssa (13) and Annamarie (8). They rejoiced in the nurturing and growth of their daughters, helping them excel in gymnastics and other ventures. Throughout Jackie’s lengthy illness, Joe provided unwavering support and unconditional love, reflecting her deep love for him and her family.
Jackie was an accomplished writer. Following the birth of her first child, Alyssa, Jackie published a tongue-in-cheek book on first motherhood – “Confessions of a New Mother.” Her second book “Surviving Cancer 101 from Discovery to Recovery” was published in 2010. Both are available through Amazon. The year 2010 marked the tenth year of her fight against liver cancer, which was first diagnosed when she was age 26 and 7 months pregnant. That cancer appeared to succumb to surgery, only to reappear in her lungs six years later. Despite dire warning to the contrary, Jackie survived another eight years, with amazing care from the Cancer Treatment Center of America (CTCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jackie and her family are grateful for the care she received from her medical team in Tulsa including Dr. Sagun Shrestha, Dr. Daniel Nader, Susan Brown, and Carla Poulos and the many other dedicated staff who helped her. More recently, she was supported by the ICU at North Kansas City Hospital. The family particularly thanks the staff at Kindred Hospital in the KC Northland, where she finally said goodbye to cancer. We are also grateful to Crossroads Hospice.
Jackie is survived by her devoted husband Joseph Malena, her daughters Annamarie (8) and Alyssa (13), her father Jack E. Smith and wife Linda, her sister Kelly and her children Jillian and Alek, her grandmother Carolina Huggins, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins and many friends.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Friday at Souder Family Funeral Home 1333 N.E. Barry Road, KC, Mo. Funeral Services will be at Holy Family Catholic Church 919 N.E. 96th Street KC, Mo. on Saturday, April 18 at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be in Resurrection North Cemetery. Those wishing to honor Jackie’s memory may make a gift to: the Alyssa and Annamarie Malena Education Fund in care of Joseph Malena.
Please help celebrate the life of Jackie by sharing a memory or expressing your condolences to the family.