Steckler remembered as an ‘angel’

Published 12:13 am Thursday, November 8, 2007

NATCHEZ — The first thing people noticed about Jennifer Steckler was her smile.

“Everybody talks about her smile,” Suzanne Williams said. “She had a radiant smile. I think that’s what people will always remember about her and think about first.”

But her smile was more than just an expression — it was how she lived her life.

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Williams was one of several who came together to show their support when Steckler was diagnosed with leukemia.

The group, dubbed Team Steckler, hosted fundraisers and sold T-shirts to fund her medical expenses.

“We wanted to give it all to her, but she asked us to donate the money to other people,” Williams said. “That was the type of person she was.”

Steckler died Tuesday at Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Steckler was always thinking of others.

“She was active in anything and everything that was good,” lifelong friend Erin Williams Barham said. “If it was something to benefit others, Jennifer was there, either in charge of heading it up or volunteering.”

Steckler’s cheerful and giving outlook didn’t stop when she was diagnosed.

“She was exceptional, absolutely exceptional,” Barham said. “She had the best attitude. She was never down, never negative. She was always just Jennifer.”

Steckler’s approach to cancer and to helping others by raising awareness was inspirational.

“A lot of people would blame God or question God or wonder why it happened to them,” Barham said. “She never looked at it as being done to her. She continued to pray and ask for prayers from other people. It made her stronger to do that.

“She never wavered in her belief in God. I think she saw it as her burden, something she was given to do in this life just like she did anything else. She approached it with grace and dignity.”

Steckler and her attitude toward life won’t be forgotten, Barham said. She touched every person she met.

“She was an angel,” Barham said. “Anybody on earth who knew her knew an angel. No one will ever meet anyone like Jennifer Steckler.”

Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Mary Basilica.