The family of Jimmy Slack gathered in their Bridgeville home Tuesday night, , and told stories, wept, shared a few laughs and flipped through old photos of him.
“It’s just hard to sort through everything,” said Maureen Shields while looking at the numerous photos of her brother. “We’re going through pictures to make a picture board. It’s just really hard to go through pictures of someone’s entire life and at 25, that’s his entire life.”
Pittsburgh police found Slack’s body in the Ohio River nearly two months after . The family spent each of those 46 days he was missing hoping for a miracle that he would come home.
Now they’re trying to share the happy memories of the person they remember as smart and funny.
“He’s very compassionate,” said his mother Donna Slack. “He was very intelligent. He could be silly. He was just full of love and laughter.
“He’s just precious to me.”
Shields remembered her brother for protecting her and their sister, Laura, while growing up. She remembers when Jimmy, who was the middle child between the two sisters, held Laura when she was just an infant.
“My brother has kept me strong through everything,” Shields said. “He’s been there for my three children. He’s cheered me up when I’ve been sad. He’s given me hope.”
She thanked the massive outpouring of support to the family through social media and other communications. A steady stream of condolences began pouring in on the Help Find Jimmy Slack Facebook page moments after the grim news was reported.
“They’ve made this entire 46 days of wondering and hoping as bearable as it could be,” Shields said. “If we would have been without that support, we wouldn’t have been able to get through this.”
She pointed to the Jams for Jimmy benefit concert on the South Side apparently organized by his friend to raise money for the family to increase a $5,000 reward for tips leading to his location. Shields said she hopes the Feb. 2 concert at Lava Lounge will offer his friends a chance to share their stories of Jimmy Slack.
“If people want to get together and celebrate my brother’s life, who are we to stop them?” Shields said.
But for now, the Slack family was sharing their own memories.
“He was something else. He was a character,” Shields said. “Every second of his life was an adventure.”
Funeral arrangements are expected to be made Wednesday.