While this season’s football efforts and the superb efforts of the Hall of Fame inductees were the main focus for the gathering, there was a sidelight that was of immence significance. It was the attendance of Jessica Buskirk, the wife of the late St. John coach, John Buskirk. She was there to honor a close friend she grew to know during her husband’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
She had come to say hello to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.
“One of the things John told me while he was in the hospital at the end of his life was that he wanted me to be happy the rest of my life,” she said. “He was in the hospital and he was still worried about the things the kids who visited him and played for him were involved in. He cared so much about their lives.
“It was his focus, and he was focused on the rest of my life, too. He wanted to know if I ever heard from any of the kids, especially the seniors who played for him at St. John.”
Buskirk has moved into a new part of her life, spurred on by the enduring love between her and John.
She moved to Painesville three years ago and has remarried. She and her new fellow are now the proud parents of a young son, and she sees a bright future ignited by her first marriage to John Buskirk.
“Scott and I have a little boy, Joey,” she said. “He’s just a bundle of love for us all.”
Looking to the future as well, Jessica, sees the affects of his efforts then in his players and hopes it continues with her son as well.
“I am so grateful for the time Urban and Tim Tebow put in with John late in his life,” she said. “They were there for us any time we needed them, and were genuine in their concerns. They were so much like John, trying to build and support the young men they were involved with. They called all the time and I just had to be part of this special night to honor the football players from this season. It’s a special night for everybody, especially me.”
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.