I began planning my funeral when I was young enough to believe it would never actually happen. When I picture it – which, fortunately, happens rarely – I imagine myself hovering near the ceiling, observing my turn-out, noting who really misses me and who’s just going through the motions. Ultimately, it’s about assessing what impact – if any – I had on the people in my world. I’d like them to play “Old and Wise.”
Unfortunately, I won’t have much control over my funeral. Most likely, I won’t even get to watch it – which seems terribly unfair – who among us wouldn’t love to be a silent observer at their own wake? Who isn’t curious about what people will say? But, maybe Alan Parsons got it right.
Jake’s unexpected death in his fifties was a shocking wake-up call for a lot of people. He died in the car as Anne was driving him to the ER after a cold/flu took a turn for the worst.
I met him in 1978 when I wrote the Success show at Lirol. It might have been a passing acquaintance except that – sheer coincidence – Jake lived less than a mile away. Consequently, he was invited and attended all our parties and quickly became friends with all our other friends. Jake had an extraordinarily large circle of friends. He met his future wife Anne at our parties- she went on a few river-rafting trips with him too – but they remained friends for years before they married and had a son.
As the photos reveal, Jake was a party animal, an extrovert’s extrovert, our very own “wild and crazy” guy. His stamina was legendary because he could party all night and still perform successfully in his demanding job as assistant director/ line-producer (more about this career in my 3/16 blog). He loved adventure, fishing and the outdoors. He seemed fearless.
He was surprisingly well-read and literate, with a special interest in history, which most people might not guess based on his gregarious outdoors persona. All the years I knew him, he had a loyal dog at his side. I remember the Doberman best. Jake named him “Lucky” because Jake saved him from a junkyard existence.
Although Jake was extraordinarily unlucky to have his life cut so short, he packed an awful lot into the years he had. There just weren’t enough – not for him, not for the people who knew him. Anne’s fears at the memorial were understandable – I would’ve felt the same way if I found myself a widow in a sea of couples – but also unfounded. Both she and Jake are unforgettable.