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1981 Jamie 2024

Jamie Ann Marley

June 2, 1981 — May 21, 2024

Jamie Ann Marley passed away at the age of 42, on May 21, 2024 after a sudden illness following a reaction to a medication.

Jamie was born June 2, 1981, the 4th of 5 children, to Daniel Keith and Julie Dawn Jorgensen Marley. At birth she had dark, very curly hair and some health issues that prevented her from going home with us. She spent the first 10 days in the hospital. She needed to have IVs placed in her head so her beautiful little curls were shaved off, but they grew back fast. We were so afraid that we would lose her then but, gratefully that was not Heavenly Father’s plan.

In the hospital, they discovered that she had something called Marcus Gunn Jaw Winking phenomenon. Every time she moved her jaw she winked. An eye specialist, Dr Biggs identified the Phenomenon. Marcus Gunn was the discoverer and Jaw Winking is what she did. It is a muscle connection between the jaw and the eyelid so when her jaw went down, her eyelid went up. That is all there was to that. So, it was kind of fun when she was sleepy and drinking a bottle because when she had both eyes closed, the left one winked in rhythm as she drank.

She had more trouble than her siblings learning to talk and was still not walking at the age of 3. Her pediatrician had dismissed our concerns and told us “…maybe her head was small because her brain is not growing.” Not very comforting or useful.

At 2 ½ her Great Grandma Vera, who worked at the Child Development Center, suggested that she be evaluated for the program to see if she could get some help getting started. She was and she did qualify for services but no one could or would say why there was a delay. Finally, a brave Speech Therapist told us that Jamie’s delays were not because of the mild hearing loss which had been discovered, but rather they were due to a permanent cognitive delay. Genetic testing did not specify any disorder so she was labeled with a Cognitive Delay Not Otherwise Specified. At that time, we were told that she may never walk or talk very well - if at all - and that she probably would not read.

They were wrong! Jamie could read quite well. She walked with her own unique gait, but she loved to walk. If walking on ice she had to be careful because her toes pointed out penguin style and she would fall if not careful, but she enjoyed walks in any type of weather. She was especially fond of walking in the rain. When she was younger, if it was raining, she would put her coat on and go for a walk. People would call us and say, “Did you know Jamie is out in this rain?” and we would tell them, “We know. She loves walking in the rain.” Every time someone called to report, they helped us.

As for talking, Jamie was a social butterfly and loved to talk to everyone she met. She knew every person and pet on our street (not to mention many more streets) and she had no inhibitions about visiting with them. She always gave people the benefit of the doubt. She would never assume they did not want to talk to her even if that were true and the more they talked to her, the more they grew to enjoy the visit. Even when someone was very cruel to her, she would just keep being their friend until they did not want to be mean to her anymore.

One day she came home from school and said, “Mom, am I a retard?” Choking back the tears, mom asked her if she knew what that meant. She indicated that she did not and so mom explained that when something is retarded it is slowed down like in music when you sing something slower so it will be prettier. Then mom asked her if she thought she was a retard? She just laughed and said, “No, I a Jamie!” As a young child she never let the cruelty that was sometimes directed at her affect her. It just bounced off and she won a friend.

When she was 6 years old, she sang “You light Up My Life” for the state Council for Exceptional Children convention in Sun Valley. She was the hit of the convention. In preparation for that, she sang a little concert in the mall with some of her peers and when the audience would not quiet down as her music started, mom told her she would have to wait until everyone quieted down a bit. She just put the mike up to her mouth and said, “Everybody be quiet!” They did, and she sang beautifully. She always had a very sweet voice and a love for music. She had such an ability to remember musical details that she often astounded people who thought they knew quite a bit about music. She could remember names of songs, the artists who perform it, often the year it came out and what she was doing when she first heard it. She liked to play a game with dad where they guess the song when given just a little piece of it. She almost always won, (and dad is pretty good.) She fit right into our musical family though she outshined us all.

When she was young, her favorite music was country music and she could tell you everything about it, including if the artist was married, had kids, had pets – things you’d never believe. As a young adult she switched to anything by anyone who had a British accent. Even though she had her favorites, she was capable of remembering any music from any genre once she was introduced to it.

She started Special Olympics at the age of 8 as a runner. Her gross motor delays made that difficult and she was well-aware when she did not win and it was pretty discouraging for her to come in so far behind.

Next, we tried gymnastics. More fun, but still not her forte. The Pocatello Special Olympics team coach said we could try swimming if we would coach it. So, a couple of us parents and her big brother, Ryan, learned the rules and started the swim team. She has always loved water but needed to use a flotation device for a few years. She is a very determined young lady and eventually she matured enough physically that she was able to keep herself up and she started to swim. She was never very fast if you compare her to her typical peers but in Special Olympics the heats are decided by the speed, age, and sex of the participants so she was as fast as anyone in her heat and brought home many gold, silver, and bronze medals.

She began singing the national anthem for the Idaho State Special Olympics opening ceremony and at the opening for her event. Jamie competed in the 800-meter backstroke for many years and almost always won that one. A pool is 50 meters one way. 100 meters is up and back. Do that 8 times and you have 800 meters. She was never very fast but she was strong and sure of her goal. Her head coaches Marc and Teresa Lewis gave so much love and attention to the team and we can never thank them enough. A few years ago, she told mom that she was tired of swimming and wanted to try something else. She did Track and Field, Soccer, Boche Ball, and I think volley ball was in there but never really succeed. She was going to try softball next.

Jamie was always one of the friendliest kids in school. She was not obnoxious about it. She was genuine. She loved just about everyone and they found it easy to love her. She had the opportunity to have Eileen O’Shey as her teacher through elementary school. Eileen believed that these kids belong with their peers as much as possible and their curriculum should be adapted so that they can absorb as much as they can of the curriculum and from their peers. We believed that the typical peers had just as much to learn from them.

Jamie didn’t really have any behavior problems which would disrupt the learning of her peers and she was able to spend a lot of time in the regular-ed class. She made many friends who continued-on with her to jr. high and then on to high school. She was able to go to Alameda Jr. High with those regular-ed friends. Alameda had something of a little gangster problem. One day, someone was saying something mean to Jamie and one of the kids from the “gang” promptly put them in their place and told them if they ever bothered her again, they would have to answer for it. That is where she got the name Jamester the gangster. When her younger brother, Jeremy, went with her to the youth dance for the first time, she told him he wouldn’t have any friends if it were not for her. Not being mean, she was never cruel, just stating a fact. Jeremy, of course, agreed with her. When he was able to drive he often became her chauffer. He says it was an honor to drive her places. Though siblings do have their differences.

She was truly in her element at Highland. She felt accepted and loved. She was a social butterfly The highlight of her high school years was singing in the Highland High Choir. Mr. Haggerman always included her and she loved every minute of it. One of our family highlights was watching the whole auditorium erupt in cheers when she sang a solo with them her senior year. There were very few dry eyes. Teenage years are a blur when you have 5 teenagers. But Jamies Siblings loved her, protected her and stood by her. You really do have more friends if you are friends with Jamie.

After high school, Jamie had not had much luck with jobs. Not everyone appreciated her skills and abilities. But when she got the job at Liberty Tax as Lady Liberty, she just loved it. She loved walking, so long as it wasn’t too fast and no matter the weather. She loved it when people would honk and wave. She didn’t much like it when they yelled profanities at her. She was not at all tolerant of a dirty mouth. The people she worked with were kind and treated her very well. Every year she looked forward to tax season so she could go back to work. (Now if that’s not optimism I don’t know what is.) When there was no longer a position for her, she was sad, but she filled her day with walking around the park feeding squirrels and visiting with people at the park. She used most of her spending allowance to walk somewhere fun for lunch. That freedom of getting out on her own was imperative to her. COVID drove her crazy.

Jamie has owned several cats. You may have heard her meow. Her current cat “Chase” is as loyal as they come. He would watch as she caught the bus and then when it was time for her to come home, he would go out to the sidewalk and walk her back to the house. He misses her.

She was always active in different organizations like 4-H where she met a whole new group of people to love. She participated in lots of “Special” groups like Special Primary, Special Mutual, and Special Institute and of course Special Olympics. We, her family, were introduced to so many wonderful spirits like her who became her second family. They were such a part of her life that we cannot imagine her without them. If you have not had the chance to participate in something “Special” You should try it. I’ll bet you would love it.

She started attending Young Single Adults as soon as she was of age and moved up to Single Adult status at 30. The activities in all those organizations gave her so much joy and she made endless friends. There were seldom acceptable reasons to miss the opportunity to be with these wonderful people whom she loved so much. They encouraged her to go through the temple and she had a desire to do so. Her understanding was innocent and we were excited to have her there with us there.

On Sept. 1, 2015 she went through the Rexburg temple with several of her Single Adult friends and her family by her side. She enjoyed the peacefulness of the temple. She was still learning. But, aren’t we all?

A few years ago, her dad asked a couple of the players from the Pocatello Grays baseball team who worked with him, how hard it would be to let her sing the National Anthem to open one of their games. The players excitedly made the appropriate enquires and it was set. She has sung for them 2-3 times a year since that time. She was the biggest Grays fan in town and they loved her unconditionally. I believe their opening game is the night of her funeral. Jamie would tell you it’s a lot of fun.

Her friends and leaders at CCI were very dear to her. She would tell us all kinds of stories about her activities with them and how she saw old friends when they were out exploring the town. Occasionally there was one of the participants who frustrated her. But whenever we were someplace fun, she would say, “Jimmy would love that.” She cared about even those who drove her a bit crazy.

She has been the highlight of our family and was often the one who kept us on the straight and narrow path. She reminded us to pray and made us laugh, a lot. If we were grumpy to each other, it affected her first. She became stressed and upset. This helped us change our ways...most of the time.

Her participation in the community was impressive, The Lions Club, the Civitans, Serving ice cream and water at Revive at 5, Singing for the Grays, Smile Fest, Rodeos and 4-H, anywhere they would have her. She loved every minute of it.

We are very grateful to Heavenly Father and the Savior for allowing us the honor and privilege of having her in our family and in more ways than can be measured, for allowing her to lead our family.

Those who knew and understand who she was on this earth, can only imagine what a perfect spirit she must have been in the Pre-Existence and who she will be in the Eternities?

We would like to thank the community for looking past what society often judges as second rate, for helping us keep an eye on her, helping keep her safe, including her in your life and fun, and seeing into the beauty and wonder that is Jamie.

Thank You Very Much, The Dan and Julie Marley Family.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents: Heber and Faye Marley, Donald and Erma Jorgensen. aunt Rebecca Reece, uncle Robert Marley, cousins Nephi Muhlestein and Sarah Marley, great nephew Eric Jorgensen.

She is survived by her Parents: Daniel and Julie Marley. Her siblings: Ryan (Gina) Marley, Rachel (Greg) Durrant, Alisa Vineyard (Billie Cutler), Jeremy (Jana) Marley. 19 nieces and nephews: Miriahanna Marley, Alora Marley (Garret), Joseph Marley, Kiya Marley, Isaac Marley, Micah Marley, Tyson (Jil) Durrant, Jacob Durrant, Maggie Durrant, Spencer Vineyard, Jonah Vineyard, Hank Cutler, Carter Cutler, Mason Marley, Evangeline Marley, Sam Marley, Declan Marley. Ten aunts, ten uncles, dozens of cousins, And her cat Chase.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed to our family and have helped us make this tribute to Jamie possible. Thank you, Yolanda and Mel.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 954 E. Walnut Street in Pocatello, Idaho. A viewing will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2024 at Wilks Funeral Home 211 W. Chubbuck Rd, and one hour prior to services at the church.  Following the service at Church, the family will host a balloon tribute.  If you would like to participate, please bring a helium-filled balloon to release.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the "Tribute Wall" tab above. The family would be deeply grateful for any contributions to assist with funeral expenses. Donate by clicking the "Donate Now" link above. Thank you for your kindness and support.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jamie Ann Marley, please visit our flower store.
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