EW's Jacque Lapsey brought passion to work, play, and family

One is never ready for the call — the one in which you learn you’ve lost someone important to you. On Jan. 17, Entertainament Weekly received such a call about a member of our family. Former San Francisco ad sales manager Jacque Lyttle Lapsey, who had just left EW to join Martha Stewart Living, had died of pneumococcal meningitis, an inflammation of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.

Just 36 years old and nearly eight months pregnant, Jacque had fallen ill the previous afternoon and was taken to the hospital by her husband of nine years, Chris Lapsey, 33. Doctors could not save her, but they delivered 3-pound 14-ounce Holt in Jacque’s final hours. (She leaves behind two other boys, Will, 4, and Luke, 2.) ”Holt is doing very well,” says Chris, ”which would be the most important thing to Jacque.”

Jacque’s boundless spirit made her an unforgettable part of EW. Passionate, irreverent, and self-deprecating, this minister’s daughter, who grew up one of nine kids in Sullivan, Ind., was born to work here. A DePauw University grad, she became EW’s San Francisco manager in 1998. ”Jacque’s clients connected with her unbridled enthusiasm and unique style,” says EW publisher Dave Morris. ”It was hard to find anyone more fun to be around. Period.”

Jacque’s S.F. office brimmed with family photos, including a poster of the kids. She grappled with being a working mom (a 3-month-old Will accompanied her to an EW meeting in New York), but she loved her job. That she brought grace and gusto to both roles made her an inspiration to every mom on staff.

She was also a pop-culture queen. At an EW costume party, this fan of designer Marc Jacobs transformed herself into Laverne De Fazio (”L” sweater, etc.). And, of course, she knew what she’d do if she ran Hollywood. ”She wanted to update Desk Set, in dotcom-crazed San Francisco,” says EW assistant managing editor Maggie Murphy. ”She was so convincing. If I had $20 million, I would’ve greenlit it then and there.”

Last summer, because she and Chris longed to return to the Midwest, Jacque took a job at Martha Stewart in Chicago—but we hoped she’d return to EW one day. In her eulogy, Rev. Christine Chakoian of Community Presbyterian Church in Clarendon Hills, Ill., said: ”[Jacque] threw herself into her life — all of her life — 150 percent. And she wouldn’t have given any of it up—not one moment, not one loved one, not one friend.”

We’ll treasure every moment we had with Jacque. Our hearts are with Chris and her boys. They, and she, will forever remain a part of the EW family.