Mother and co-workers remember April Jace

Mother and co-workers share their grief while remembering April Jace's tragic death.

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Mother and co-workers remember April Jace

Mother Kay Henry and co-workers remember April Jace after her tragic death last May. “She made awful things fun somehow,” said Henry. | Photo courtesy of Kay Henry.

Mother Kay Henry and co-workers remember April Jace after her tragic death last May. “She made awful things fun somehow,” said Henry. | Photo courtesy of Kay Henry.

Mother Kay Henry and co-workers remember April Jace after her tragic death last May. “She made awful things fun somehow,” said Henry. | Photo courtesy of Kay Henry.

Mother Kay Henry and co-workers remember April Jace after her tragic death last May. “She made awful things fun somehow,” said Henry. | Photo courtesy of Kay Henry.

Dayna Drum, Writer

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When April Jace saw a Campus Safety T3 vehicle sitting unattended, her first inclination was to hop on and pose for a picture. Even in solemn moments Jace’s bright personality shined through. As her maternal grandfather lay dying in a hospital room in Nebraska, Jace’s first impulse told her to show up and surprise her mother to support her through the process.

“She made awful things fun somehow,” said Kay Henry, April’s mother and administrative assistant at the school of education.

Almost four months after the tragic murder of Biola financial aid counselor April Jace, the Biola community and her family continue to deal with their grief.

Henry describes her daughter as a great mother, graceful, compassionate and funny.

“I used to tell April that she was the best daughter in the world because she really was,” Henry said.

Grief also confronts the financial aid office as co-workers continue to find Jace’s notes and files and students seek out her assistance.

“She’s definitely not forgotten because there’s so many things that keep it fresh,” said Geoff Marsh, director of financial aid.

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF

Since Henry returned to work in mid-July, she has received a variety of responses from people around her. Christians’ difficulty facing grief has become apparent to Henry as she continues to process the loss of her daughter.

“I don’t know that we’re good at being in a painful situation. We’re real good about praying…and being okay the next day. That’s not going to happen. I feel like I’m countercultural right now because I’m not fitting in,” Henry said.

However, the Biola community finds simple ways to support her.  

“What I’ve gotten from the community since I’ve come back is when I’m standing outside of a building crying, not able to walk, there have been people that have come up to me that I don’t know or I’ve met once or they know me very well…they stand with me and they just pat my back and they walk with me to the next place,” Henry said.

Henry encourages the Biola community to show sensitivity to those around them facing grief.

“What I would ask people to do is sort of look at each other and see by their body language and by their demeanor what they might be open to,” Henry said.

COMMUNITY RESPONDS WITH DONATIONS

In an effort to honor Jace’s memory, friends and family have donated to the Henry-Jace family.

Shortly after Jace’s death, Biola created a memorial fund to assist in the immediate needs of Jace’s two young sons. As of early July, the fund consisted of $2,730, according to Lara Hurlburt, assistant to the director of development.

Jace’s family also created a Go Fund Me page to assist with the cost of the funeral and other expenses, which raised over $33,000 as of September 3. In addition to the two funds, people have given the family gifts directly, Hurlburt said.  

Additionally, the process to create a scholarship in April’s honor for students who have been affected by violence has begun, Hurlburt said. Once established, donation opportunities will become available.

The memorial funds and scholarship are just a part of keeping her memory alive, although those who knew her agree that the void left in her absence cannot be filled.

“Her vitality can’t be replaced,” said Rosanne Zukle, financial aid counselor.