By Matt Pascarella
Jason Jacobe, a 2002 graduate of Windham High School, was a stellar athlete and valedictorian of his
class. Jacobe was a kind, caring individual who liked helping others.
Tragically, he passed away from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) on Thursday,
ALS is a disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons eventually leads to their demise and loss of muscle movement. It is a disease that only affects body movement and does not hinder intellectual health. There are approximately 5,000 new diagnosed patients a year.
Jacobe’s mother, Diana, remembers her son as someone with a tremendous amount of character. In high school, other parents of younger students would tell her how much they appreciated Jason helping their son with a sport without putting him down. Jason even took time out of his schedule to play with his niece, Emma. “He played store and made meatballs out of Playdoh with her. Jason loved life and people,” Diana explained.
|Jason with niece, Emma|
Jacobe attended the University of Maine at Orono obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, he worked for Woodward and Curran, earning his professional engineering license.
In 2008, he moved but continued working for Woodward and Curran in their Georgia office. His former supervisor and friend, Carlos Ayala-Diaz, described Jacobe as a role model, a passionate worker, and someone who you could count on to get things done. Ayala-Diaz said what he misses the most about Jacobe are the many fun and inspiring conversations they had with one another.
Jacobe’s college roommate and former coworker, Daniel Florez, recalls him being a good friend who liked to help others. He admired Jacobe a lot.
Jacobe met Elizabeth Myers in 2011 on a beach vacation they both took with a mutual friend. At the time, Jacobe lived in Atlanta and Myers in North Carolina. They dated long distance until Myers moved to Georgia. After receiving his ALS diagnosis in February 2016, Jacobe married Myers in April 2016.
Jacobe wanted to live a life full of things he loved: camping, hikes, his dog Jackson, small trips with family or friends and sports.
|Jason with his wife, Elizabeth|
“Jason never said ‘why me?’” recounts Myers. “He managed the best he could. He was always trying to help me help him. He never fought what he needed, but he fought the disease like hell.”
When asked by a friend if he was angry about ALS, Jacobe expressed that he didn’t feel sorry for himself, but felt bad about the toll it was taking on others.
Two of his best friends, Josh Taylor and Derrick Roma were friends with Jacobe since they were eight. Taylor remembers his friend as “humble, but a leader who always looked out for others. He had an impact on a lot of people, including me.”
“I’ll forever remember Jason’s unique personality, his goofy sense of humor, his drive, and his integrity. We will all miss him,” says Roma.
“There was an unknown with ALS,” explained Myers. “We were committed to tackling it together. He was able to give me the greatest gift, our daughter Annalise Margaret, born June 7, 2018. Jason’s legacy will live on.”
Jacobe had sporadic ALS, which in approximately 90% of cases the cause is unknown, and support is crucial after a diagnosis. Local ALS Association chapters have experts who can provide resources from support groups to financial aid to respite.