Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue| Jennifer Pascale

Jennifer Pascale's nurturing arms embraced dozens of kids

PINELLAS PARK — From the start, doctors didn't think she would make it. She was born 10 weeks premature.

But she fought.

• • •

Jennifer Pascale was always a family person. When she was a little girl, she nurtured her baby dolls. She was quiet and liked to be with a small group of friends. She loved her older brother, Shawn Keeney, and they picked on each other back and forth.

Mrs. Pascale was born 10 days before Halloween. It was her favorite holiday. Her family dressed in elaborate costumes and built makeshift haunted houses.

In her early 20s, she met Michael Pascale. On their first date, they went to Olive Garden, played miniature golf and walked along Madeira Beach.

He loved her sense of humor. Her calm personality. Her high morals. Her desire for stability.

"She was always correcting me," said Mr. Pascale, 35. She made me a better person. She pointed my life in a good direction."

At the wedding, they danced to I Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. Soon after, their children came along — Riley, now 7, and Rachel, now 5.

Mrs. Pascale studied special education and worked at Pinehurst Children's Center in Pinellas Park. She taught after school, drove the bus and made meals.

She loved baking, cross-stitching and scrapbooking. Two years ago, her husband sectioned off part of their garage for her crafts. She was thrilled.

But one month later, on Mother's Day 2006, things changed. She was diagnosed with colon cancer, which had spread. She tried experimental treatments and eventually moved into her mother's house to rest. Her husband brought the kids over.

"When everybody was around, she really pushed herself in order to visit and play with them," said her mother, Sally Keeney. "She'd be exhausted when they went, but she wanted to do that."

On Halloween 2006, her family built a haunted trail on her brother's half-acre in Pinellas Park. Shawn Keeney, who builds professional haunted houses, planned an elaborate design with skeletons and special effects. Her family raised $6,000 to help with medical bills. She wasn't well enough to see much of the display. But she was overwhelmed.

• • •

Mrs. Pascale died Tuesday. She was 31.

Doctors had told her family to prepare for her death. That was six months ago

But she fought.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8857.


Jennifer Pascale

Born: Oct. 21, 1976.

Died: April 8, 2008.

Survivors: husband, Michael Pascale; children, Riley and Rachel Pascale; parents, Eric and Sally Keeney; brother, Shawn Keeney; maternal grandfather, Peter N. Stefani.

Services: visitation from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at R. Lee Williams & Son funeral home, 3530 49th St. N, St. Petersburg. Funeral at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 7851 54th Ave. N. In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations.

Jennifer Pascale's nurturing arms embraced dozens of kids 04/10/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 11, 2008 4:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.