To the Expositor:
I had just returned home from Sunday breakfast in Gore Bay when I was startled by a voice over the airwaves. The radio was tuned to the CBC with the Vinyl Café about to begin when I was taken aback by who was introducing host Stewart McLean. Turns out the broadcast was a repeat of a show recorded last year at the high school on Manitoulin Island and the voice doing the introduction belonged to Jake. It was an odd sensation to hear Jake’s voice, considering he had just passed away days earlier. What a coincidence that that particular show was repeated this particular week. I remember how excited he was to be the Master of Ceremonies for that radio event. Hearing his voice unexpectedly on Sunday unleashed a wave of emotions that up to that point, I had kept under raps. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that we will never again see him or hear him again.
Whether you were a fan or not, it was hard to deny he was a natural when it came to radio. He so much enjoyed talking sports with Bobby Alexander on the Moose. He just loved doing those goofy radio commercials and hosting the daily community calendar ‘What’s Doin’ on Manitoulin.’
His friends from the Gore Bay Theatre would tell you he was also a natural when it came to acting, and was respected for his talents across the province. I looked forward seeing him in the summer plays. He could have you belly laughing in one scene and choking back tears in another. Even after he became sick, Jake was still hoping to find a part he could tackle in an upcoming play.
I had been processing the realities of losing my friend long before he died last week, as did everyone else. His health had been in decline for some time and his family was preparing us for the worst. However, when the bad news arrived last week, it was still difficult to compute. I remember when Jake told me that his sickness was terminal but planned to continue his regular routine. His positive attitude to beat the odds, or at least prolong it, was so inspiring. I’m sure he thought he had a little more time to accomplish this, as did we.
A tearful farewell to a wonderful guy with the jolly laugh who always was glad to see you, who loved his family, adored his partner Tara, cared about his friends, was devoted to his furniture business, his colleagues and his clients, and supported his community and Manitoulin Island. It’s that simple.