Sam Ehlinger’s Mother Jena Ehlinger Remarried After Losing Husband

By GloriaPublished on: February 9, 2024 Updated on: February 12, 2024
Birthday February 1966
Birthplace Houston, Texas
Age 58 years
Son Sam Ehlinger, Late Jake Ehlinger
Table of Content Show

Fans see NFL star Sam Ehlinger as a strong personality both on and off the field. But little do they know that his mother, Jena Ehlinger, is his pillar of strength. As a matter of fact, the athlete calls her an “inspiration.”

Here’s bringing you all the details about Jena and how Jena managed her life beautifully despite the hardships she faced, including the loss of her husband in 2023 and her son in 2021.

Sam Ehlinger’s Mother Jena Ehlinger Is A Manager

Jena, fully Jennifer Cissel Ehlinger, was born in February 1966. She is a professional development manager at Vinson and Elkins. She has been engaged in the company for nearly two decades.

The talented lady graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas.

Sam Ehlinger's mom Jena Ehlinger
Jena is from Houston, Texas.

Likewise, she has also been a crucial member to advocate against the fentanyl epidemic in Texas and bring the change in law for the same.

Also Read: Sam Ehlinger Met His Wife Cami Jo DiGiovanni At Texas University

Jena Ehlinger Was Married To Ross Herbert Ehlinger Until His Last Breath

Ehlinger was married to Ross Herbert Ehlinger. The couple’s paths crossed at the University of Texas, during Ross’ sophomore year. They became inseparable ever since and got married in 1993.

Ross was an established trial lawyer at Austin. As a sports enthusiast, he was a triathlete and also used to coach football.

Jena Ehlinger with her late husband and children
Jena and her late hubby Ross with their little ones. 

In their long marriage, Jena and her late husband had three children together. Their eldest child is Samuel George Ehlinger, who we all know as Sam, a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Then, they welcomed their second child, Jacob McAdams Ehlinger, nick-named Jake, and later their third child, daughter Morgen Adeline Ehlinger.

Her Husband, Ross Passed Away From A Heart Attack

Unfortunately, after 20 years of togetherness, Ross tragically left Jena. Ehlinger lost her husband to a heart attack while he was competing in a triathlon, “Escape from Alcatraz,” on March 3, 2013.

He died in the frigid, choppy waters of San Francisco Bay during the swim portion of the Alcatraz triathlon. His death was reportedly triggered by a heart arrhythmia whose catalyst is unclear.

She raised her young kids as a single working mother

After her husband died at the age of 46, Jena was all alone. She raised her 3 teenagers single highhandedly. At that time, Sam was 14, Jake was 12, and Morgen was 9. The children were close to their father, and his loss created a big void in their lives.

Jena Ehlinger and her three children
Jena and her grown children.

Despite having to deal with the loss of her beloved partner, Jena did everything she could to give her little ones the best life possible. Talking about how his mother dealt with everything, Sam said:

She is… its hard to explain.. my inspiration…she lost the love of her life and she was thrown into raising three young kids by herself. You just think to yourself, How does someone do that?

Over the years, all of her offspring started taking a good turn in their lives and tried to move on from the loss they endured. But sadly, the Ehlinger family had to face another tragedy.

Ehlinger Also Lost Her Son, Jake

On May 6, 2021, Jena got a call from an Austin police officer saying her son Jake was found unresponsive in the house he was renting with 3 friends. After the toxicology tests, it was discovered that he had taken Xanax, which was laced with fentanyl and a few other drugs.

Jena Ehlinger and her late son Jake Ehlinger
Like his brother Sam, Jake was a bright student and a health-conscious athlete.

The news came down as a big shock to the Ehlinger family as they were sure that Jake wasn’t somebody who would get caught up in something like fentanyl. Jake was a bright young honors student at UT’s McCombs School of Business. He was even a walk-on linebacker for the Longhorns. 

Jena revealed that she didn’t go anywhere for almost a year after her beloved son’s death. Even if she did get out, she cried every step of the way. She also wore Jake’s T-shirt, lay in his bed, cried all day, and talked to him.

Jena Ehlinger’s Attempt to change laws against fentanyl poisoning

Sam Ehlinger’s mother wasn’t okay with the medical examiner declaring her second-born son’s cause of death to be an “accidental overdose.” She knew that was not the reality, and it was complete negligence from the manufacturer to poison the medicine with fentanyl. So, with the help of her advocate friends, she decided to fight to change the law against the fentanyl epidemic.

She began meeting with state legislators and even testified at the legislative committee hearing. Consequently, with the collective efforts, legislation was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott to combat the fentanyl crisis in Texas.


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Losing her son to fentanyl poisoning has been haunting Jena, so she is doing everything from her side to protect young people from the hazards of fentanyl.

Ehlinger has been sharing her son Jake’s story through her podcast named “Athletes Doing Good.

She Holds Precious Memories of Her Departed Loved Ones

She believes that her family is her biggest strength. Jena is often found posting about her kids, Sam and Morgen. Likewise, she often remembers her late son and late husband and expresses her warm love for them.

In March 2022, Jena made a heartfelt post on Instagram remembering Jake and Ross, with a caption saying:

Ross, 9 years later and we love you more everyday. This year is harder and easier knowing you have your best bud Jakey with you. We are doing our best to honor you both by being joyful and loving….

Likewise, she made a warm post marking Jake’s 23rd birthday on December 13, 2o23, expressing how much the family loves and misses him.


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Jena Ehlinger started a new chapter in her life

After going through a lot in life, Jena decided to give life another chance. She married again and is now living her life with her current husband, Currin Van Eman. Currin is a commercial real estate broker and developer. She revealed about her marriage in January 2022. But, Currin had been appearing on his wife’s Instagram since January 2020.

Jena Ehlinger with her current husband on a beach
Jena with her new husband, Currin.

Likewise, she has started her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy alongside working on obtaining a grief counseling certificate as well.