Jacqueline “Jackie” Vannice

July 20, 1949 — November 28, 2023

Jacqueline “Jackie” Vannice was called to be with the Lord Nov. 28, 2023, surrounded by her family after a short, but intense battle with leukemia. She was born July 20, 1949 to James Rodney, Sr. and Ethel (Robertson) Vannice at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island hospital in Oak Harbor. At that time her family lived at Lake McMurray, Wash., where she spent her early years surrounded by her mother’s extended family. Lake McMurray remained one of her favorite spots for the rest of her life and she loved being there with her cousins and family.

Her father was a Navy man and when Jackie was in second grade they moved to Oak Harbor to be closer to her dad’s work. She spent the rest of her elementary school years and three years of high school in Oak Harbor. In 1966, Jackie’s father was assigned to Atsugi, Japan where she spent her senior year, graduating from Zama High School in 1967. Jackie spent time working in Tokyo as a model and also for a film dubbing company as a script girl. She enjoyed the job and even appeared in a film called “The Green Slime.”

In 1968, she returned to the U.S. and her journey led her to Minneapolis, Minn., where she worked for a radio/television station and then became a flight attendant for North Central Airlines. A couple of years later, she went to work at an ice-making machine company. Her desire to return to flying took her to Northwest Airlines in 1976. In 1978, the NWA pilots went on strike and she was immediately furloughed and re-hired by North Central Airlines. The many airline mergers of that time led her to work for successor airlines and eventually back to Northwest Airlines.

During her time as a flight attendant, she became an instructor and also the employee assistance program manager for Memphis-based flight attendants, helping them with drug and alcohol issues.

In 1988, Jackie met her sweetheart, Marc Zahrt, a Northwest pilot, while working. They were married in 1993 at the Callaway Gardens in Georgia.

In 1990, Jackie achieved her long held goal of becoming a mother with the adoption of her beloved daughter, Elizabeth. This was, by far, the most treasured event in Jackie’s life.

Between having a newly adopted daughter and moving from Memphis, Tenn., to Atlanta, Ga., Jackie left her employee assistance position, but continued to fly until her retirement from Northwest Airlines in 2004.

In 1999, the family moved to Oak Harbor to be closer to Jackie’s parents and extended family.

By the time she retired from Northwest with 28 years of flying, she was already heavily involved in Island County 4-H. First as a parent, then club leader, leader’s council president and ultimately as the 4-H Program Coordinator for the county. She absolutely loved all the 4-H’ers and enjoyed seeing them advance and succeed with their projects. She served as coordinator for several years before retiring from there. She and her husband moved to Mount Vernon in 2019 but she still went back to help Island County 4-H for a couple periods. She finally set that aside in 2020.

Jackie was involved with the Whidbey Island Genealogy Society, serving as president for several terms. She also served on the museum board in Coupeville. She was one of those people that was actively engaged and made a community enjoyable.

Never one without a goal or interest, Jackie’s most recent endeavor was the buying and selling of vintage and antique furniture and accessories. She got a lot of joy out of finding bargains at garage and estate sales, sprucing them up with Marc’s assistance, and reselling them at her spot at “The Spare Room” in Stanwood, Wash.

Jackie has always been an incredibly special person, lighting up a room as soon as she walked in, and was loved by so many people of all ages. She will be deeply missed and never forgotten, especially by her family. She is survived by her husband Marc; daughter Elizabeth Roth (Andrew); stepson Christopher Zahrt; stepmother Doris Vannice; special niece Jamesa Treadwell (Kevin) and family; brother James R. Vannice, Jr. (Christine); uncle Richard L. Vannice; and many wonderful cousins, nieces, nephews and their families.

A celebration of life will be held Jan. 13, 2024, at 11a.m. at the Wallin-Stucky Funeral home in Oak Harbor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hospice Northwest of Mount Vernon.