Jessica Lynn Ertl-Jensen, a.k.a. “Roxy,” “Seester,” or “[insert name of whatever grandkid comes to mind first here],” passed away peacefully in her Sheboygan home on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at the age of 47 due to complications from obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure.
Jessica was born on November 21, 1973 to Rita and Andrew Ertl, exactly one year and two days after her elder sister, Kristyn Marie Ertl. Both Jessica and Kristyn received the genes for kick-ass Scrabble playing and obsessive jigsaw puzzling, as well as the ability to find humor in the most unlikely places – how else could one endure a Catholic mass every Sunday? As youngsters, they were often mistaken for twins, given the similarities in hair color and age. Like many twins, they were very close, but also keen on establishing unique identities – and then envying (in the most amiable of ways) what the other was able to accomplish.
In contrast to her quiet and studious elder sister, Jessica was the “social butterfly” and style maven, blessed with a large and decidedly unique assortment of friends. She was a beacon of hope for all the “poor, huddled masses” and “tempest-tossed” souls of Sheboygan: If your clothes were dark, your hair bright blue (or fuchsia, messy, or mohawked), your gender in flux, your piercings frowned upon, your talents out of the mainstream, or your look perpetually downcast, then you had a friend in Jessica. And what a friend she was: Loyal, fun-loving, fiercely protective.
As a card-carrying member of the Goth subculture for many years, she harbored a disdain for any lightbulb over 40 watts. Well, lightbulbs in general. Candles. She loved to dance in all black and sketch people. She used found objects to create one-of-a-kind collages. She was a Goodwill treasure hunter par excellence. Her room was a mess, but never boring. And neither was she.
For most of her youth, rebellious self-expression was her forte – in art, music, clothing and décor. She could forecast a trend months before it emerged and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. This translated into a long career in retail and a knack for finding the perfect gift. She was generous to a fault with her loved ones.
Jessica aspired to a life less ordinary. When the ordinary came knocking, she transformed it. Work, kids, minivan – no one saw it coming. But when it did, she embraced motherhood with a creative vengeance. She dedicated herself to sharing experiences and adventures with her brood: Taking trips, playing together, discovering new things, cooking and baking, decorating for the holidays, adopting strays, visiting museums, dressing up for Halloween. She was one of those cool and funny moms everyone wants.
With her, it was always more about doing than having. Jessica prioritized time and closeness with her kids over everything else. And the rewards are evident. She imparted all the best of herself to her children: Bella’s originality, Andrew’s kindness, Evelyn’s sense of fun, Alice’s intuition, and Liam’s energy. They are her incomparable legacy and gift to the world.
Jessica was preceded in death by her father, Andrew Philip Ertl, and her stillborn child, Wyatt Hacker. She is survived by her mother, Rita Mae Ertl (nee Petrie), older sister, Kristyn Marie Ertl, and five children, Bella (24), Andrew (21), Evelyn (16), Alice (11), and Liam (10). She is mourned by all who knew her.
Arrangements for her cremation have been made by the funeral home. No formal services will be held at this time. A small informal gathering will be arranged when it is safe to do so. Donations and correspondence may be directed to Rita Ertl, 531 S. 8th Street, Apt. 103, Sheboygan, WI 53081.
“In all exists a legacy.”