September 6 - Albert Jacquez was one of those rare individuals who could have an impact in sports without ever stepping between the lines.
A father to two Madison High School student-athletes, Alex and Evan, Mr. Jacquez was the true definition of what one could want a sports dad to be. A successful businessman with a demanding job downtown - he served on both the Clinton and Bush administrations - who still made time to support his kids ... as well as many others. A former high school athlete himself, Mr. Jacquez carried himself with a quiet confidence and grace that left an impression on anyone he came into contact with.
“He was a really special person, just a person you really respected,” Madison coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand said. “He helped me to grow up as a coach and as a person. We became very good friends over time. We would go to dinner, it was much more than sports.”
On Aug. 18, Gjormand along with the Madison and Vienna sports communities received the jarring news of Mr. Jacquez’ passing while en route to the family’s vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard. In the days since his death, the community has rallied behind the family that has been such a presence at the school for so many years.
If you’ve been to a Warhawk sporting event over the past dozen years, chances are you’ve seen Mr. Jacquez - always with his camera in tow and a warm smile for anyone he might encounter. In the years since Alex and Evan graduated and went on to play collegiately in baseball at Lehigh University and in football at the College of William & Mary, respectively, he remained a fixture at Madison.
His sons played baseball and football, so naturally he took many photos at those games. But he also did so at boys and girls lacrosse, basketball, soccer and softball games. His online photo portfolio has just shy of 17,000 action shots taken at Madison sporting events. Since 2007, he managed the Warhawks’ baseball website, and he and his wife, Lynn - who has spent countless hours volunteering with the Vienna Little League, Vienna Mustangs travel program and Madison’s football and baseball teams over the years - have continued to donate time and money to the program, even traveling to support the Warhawks over spring break trips to South Carolina and Florida.
Yes, his camera would also make those trips.
“Those people behind the scenes, the volunteers, they are who really make it run. They’re who make high school and youth sports go,” Gjormand said. “They usually come and go with their kids, but Albert was very unique, he really became a part of it and became an extension of our coaching staff. He went above and beyond, and it wasn’t just baseball. He took photos for so many different sports at Madison.
“His love for the school and his love for the kids was special.”
If I was covering a game Mr. Jacquez was at, I knew I could put my camera away as he’d take much better photos anyway, and would enjoy sharing them with me. Our readers have benefited over the years from the color those images have added to our stories. As have the readers of The Washington Post, the Sun-Gazette, Gameday Magazine and other publications that he provided photos to.
So I’d catch up with him for a few minutes - I knew he enjoyed talking about the Nationals, the Warhawks and updating me of the latest with his sons, who I coached with the Vienna Mustangs - then I’d leave him to continue with the hobby he had so much passion for.
Mr. Jacquez was, quite simply, the pure definition of a volunteer and a gift to the Vienna sporting community. Which is fitting, considering he was born on Christmas Eve. An outgoing and generous member of the community, a supporter and volunteer in youth and high school sports, and above all, a great husband and father.
He was all of the above, and we were all lucky to have him in our lives.
For information on Albert Jacquez’ viewing and to read his full obituary, click here. The family has requested in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to Madison’s athletics department, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, or to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Photo of Albert Jacquez by Jill Hecht