Young Port Royal mother dies. She had overcome brain surgeries, complications to have baby


The young Port Royal woman who survived a series of aneurysms and other health complication to deliver a healthy baby, has died.

Jessica Kuczka, 26, of Port Royal, died Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston where she fought for her life — and her baby’s — since Thanksgiving. She was the wife of Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jacob Kuczka.

Sauls Funeral Home of Bluffton is assisting the family with a private funeral.

Jessica is from St. Louis, where she met her husband while they were working in a museum more than five years ago. She graduated from Webster University in Missouri before earning her master’s degree in historical preservation from SCAD.

The Island Packet wrote about the Kuczka family after Jessica — who was 7-months pregnant with Oliver at the time — had multiple seizures on Thanksgiving Day. Doctors discovered she had suffered two brain aneurysms and needed emergency surgery.

Jacob, who Jessica married in March on Hilton Head Island, spent countless hours in the hospital with her and Oliver, who was delivered prematurely by C-section.

Jacob had previously said the seizures had left Jessica with memory issues and difficulty speaking. But he said the day she finally got to meet Oliver, she looked at the baby, then to Jacob, and said “I love you.”

“That was the happiest time of my life,” Jacob said then. “Meeting her and marrying her are always going to be great milestones but that was the best.”

Oliver’s health was improving at the time of the previous article. He is now 11 weeks old.

Knitting, museums, drawing, painting, singing, and the beach all brought Jessica happiness, according to Kuzcka’s obituary.

At the time of her death, Kuczka was the executive director for the Historic Port Royal Foundation.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked remembrances be made to the foundation.

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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