"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
Born on February 20, 2006, the son of Peter & Mary Sloan of Stevensville, MD, Jake was a seventh grader at Matapeake Middle School who had a love for music and could always be heard singing or humming a tune. He played the trumpet in the school band and sang loud and proud in the school chorus. He was an active member of Living Water Lutheran Church and would often help the church praise group with his mad tambourine skills.
Jake loved sports especially baseball, football, golf, swimming and also wrestling for the family championship belt; he was the reigning family champion. Every day he left the house hoping to make a difference. And he did. He was a friend to all, and made sure that no one was ever left out. Jake was the first to welcome new students to school, to ensure that nobody ate lunch alone and his infectious smile was contagious. He would send messages of motivation to students daily each morning before school, which was a reflection of the message his parents would tell him every day when he left the house: "Make a difference today". His unique sense of humor and spirit for life made everybody around him happy.
He used to say that after a prosperous 10 year career as a Major League Baseball Player, he would pursue life as a Pastor. He had no shortage of dreams, and planned on achieving every one of them. He truly was a unique person who lived each day with love and compassion for others.
Jake's time with us was only the first chapter in his story. His legacy of love will live on through this foundation, and through the lives that he touched in his short 12 years, for many generations to come.
Letters from Friends
This section is composed of excerpts from many heartfelt letters the family received. Just like the legacy that Jake has left behind, this will continue to grow. New stories and testimonies will be added regularly, as a place we can go to remember his life. Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences, your words are healing not only for Jake's family but to all who read them.
"Although he was in the grade with all the crazy kids he found a way to lighten everyone and make them a little less crazy. Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter once said "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remember to turn on the light." Jake was the person that always remembered to turn on the light and rescue those who were left in the dark too long. He was fearless and had the bravery of a lion when it came to performing on stage or just singing in the choir. He succeeded and fulfilled God's will on this world. While he lived a short life, he did more than any of us could every imagine doing. He accomplished the unimaginable in twelve years of life." - Sami
"I loved Jake like a brother. I remember in 2nd grade me and him couldn't be separated. I remember a week before he passed away I tried going up the ramp and doing a trick, and I flipped over the handlebars and ripped my $80 pants. We both started laughing and I'm wearing the same pants right now. We had so much connection and things in common, and planned on going fishing the next week. I will miss Jake's kindness to others. When I was feeling down he could always cheer me up, he was like no other person I had ever met. He cared so much about his family and friends. When Jake laughed it made me laugh, he was one of the funniest friends I ever had. I love you man and I will never forget you, you will always be in my heart. Thank you for making me feel happy for the short amount of time you were here with me." - Anthony S.
"We all love you, you make all the teachers happy when you walk through the door. You were just so happy every day, always with a smile on your face. We all love you." - Summer.
"One time, someone was sitting all alone on the bus, and as soon as Jake got on, he sat down right next to them. Whenever someone was sitting alone at lunch Jake would move from his table and comfort them. Jake was kind to everyone, a great friend, and he definitely made a difference in everyone's lives. We all love him and will never forget him." - Gianna T.
"There's one thing that Jake said that I will remember forever. "Yes, I do still play Pokemon. And yes, I do still trade Pokemon cards because I'm still a kid and everyone in modern day gets wrapped up in trying to be more mature but in reality, we are still just kinds. I'm still a kid, you're still a kid and you have to enjoy while you can." - Summer N.
"Jake effected so many lives at school, and created memories we would never forget. During Aladdin Jr. play practices he was always there doing something funny or silly to lift our spirits. Everyone loved him. Jake did so many things like band, choir, baseball, theater, and was so dedicated to every one of them. Someone once told me that everyone is sent to earth with a purpose, and once it's fulfilled, they are sent back home. Through Jake's actions and respect for others, I definitely believe this. Jake was one that helped heal the world all throughout his time on Earth and I will never forget that. Fly High, Jake" - Amber B.
"He made everyone happy including me. Jake was always working on his school work and had good grades because he always put school first. You raised a great son and Jake inspired all of us to make something better of ourselves. Jake never got frustrated with anyone and always had a positive attitude towards other people. I will always keep Jake alive in my memories, I always want people to tell his stories." Rocco D.
"Jake was so wonderful, and the nicest kid I have ever met. This school is going to be different without him, he made a BIG difference. Every time he would walk through a door he would bring smiles to everyone's face. Jake was a loving person with a great personality, and loved everyone for who they were. " - Audrey D.
"Jake was an amazing friend to all even to the people who barely knew him. Jake was nice, kind, and sweet every time I saw him. I remember when we were younger her gave me a gift on Christmas. It wasn't a gift that all girls would like but he knew I would like it. Jake is the kind of person you never forget. Jake is a role model for everyone. If he ever saw a kid that looked sad, he would go talk to them and make sure they were OK. Even though Jake can't be with us in person, he will always be in our hearts. I'm proud to say he was a friend." - Morgan P.
"Jake was a great teammate on and off the field. Even if we were losing a game, he would make it fun. Jake would say let's focus on winning the next game. Jake will always be my friend. - Christopher S.
"Jake was a great kid, I remember at baseball he would always help kids that were not good, or were disabled to make them a better player or more confident about themselves. Jake never got in trouble. Jake loved to be involved in all our class games and activities. He loved to help out with anything he could." - Joshua M.
"Jake was the nicest kid in the whole grade, probably the whole school. Everyone looked up to him, including me. He might have lived a short life but every day he tried to be the best version of himself. If there was a kid sitting by himself, he would sit with them, if there was a kid getting picked on he helped that kid. Be proud of the good things Jake did in his short life." - Michael C.
"Jake was selfless, funny, musically talented, and had a great voice. He had the biggest heart and was always happy. Always a friend to all, we never saw him mad and was always making us laugh. He will be dearly missed by all of us." - Allie F + Darcy L
"I have been Jake's friend since Kindergarten, he always made me laugh. Every morning I would ask to see his socks because he had the coolest socks." - Hudson L.
"Jake was such a wonderful kid. He got many talents from his parents. Mrs. Mary, he has a musical talent that he obviously inherited from you, and his little jokes he would crack were definitely a gift from you Mr. Pete. Jake lived a wonderful life and had an amazing family to stick by his side. Jake is not gone, but here with us in our hearts, and looking down on us from above, watching our lives. Jake will be so dearly missed." - Caitey P.
"Making people laugh was Jake's superpower. He was a phenomenal person to be around. Jake can't be with us here on earth anymore, but he will always be in our hearts and in our memories or him. I hope this note makes you smile, for Jake loved to make people smile and that's what he'd want you to do." - Brooke H.
"Jake was always so joyful growing up and in school. I remember how we would always hang out, playing basketball, going swimming, just riding bikes around or skateboarding and having fun." - Evan N.
"Jake was an amazing person and was super nice. He had an outgoing personality and was polite and could make anyone's day. Jake was funny, smart, and was always trying to make new friends. He played the trumpet like no one's business and sang beautifully. He could make anyone smile. He constantly went out of his way to help someone. He befriended me in 4th grade and could make me smile and laugh, he was never mean or rude. He was always inviting new people to his lunch table. He was an amazing kid." - Ryan M.
"I want you to know everyone loved Jake so much. We all had our own special memories of Jake. Mine was how he was so musical and was always messing around on the xylophone (he called it the dingy dong dongs). We all cherish Jake and the memories we made with him." - Josephine M.
"I've known Jake since I moved here in 2012, when I moved here I always thought of Jake as a nice person. He was always bursting out funny comments that would put a smile on anyone's face. Jake was that kid that put others back on track when someone did something wrong or the one helping someone through something. Jake would never brag or be mean, he left a mark on every person he met. I know that Jake is in heaven sliding in his high socks and singing and playing his trumpet as loud and good as ever. We will miss Jake so much." - Josephine M.
"Jake was a wonderful and outstanding student and friend and was so kind to everyone. Everyday when I walked into school I would see him smiling and lifting someones spirit. I remember how happy he was to become an uncle and I remember the shirt he would hear that said Funcle and I he would talk about being an uncle with a huge smile on his face. He would always stick up for someone and I will always remember him for that. I have been going to school with Jake since Kindergarten and he has always been a great role model." - Kitty K.
"Jake was such a good person, he was always there for everyone. He touched so many lives including my own. He was a light that shined bright with generosity and selflessness. He couldn't be mean to anyone. I remember we used to say that Jake would be famous one day because he was such a good singer." - Ariana W.
"Jake was really kind and really respectful to everyone. He was really positive and always smiling no matter what. He helped around school and helped the teachers too. Jake was well loved and everyone knew he was positive and caring." - Emilio V.
"Jake impacted everyone's life in a positive way. I didn't really know until now but he impacted my life a lot. I've heard so many amazing stories about him, its amazing the impact he has had in everyone's lives. I know he is doing fine up there, I can only imagine the impact he's having from up there." - Alyssa W.
" I met this kind boy during choir practice. I was alone because my other friends weren't there, and he walked up with a big ol' goofy smile. He made me laugh and made my day a million times better. He was a sock-slider-in-the-auditorium goofball that loved everyone. We learned how a 12 year old could change so many lives, we make make the world into what he wanted by being kind to everyone. You are all so lucky to have known such an amazing person his whole life." - Nicole B.
"Jake was family to all the people around him. We will miss his jokes, the laughter he brought, the smiles everyone got when they were around him. Although we can't see him, he is there smiling at all of us, thinking of all the memories he shared with us. Jake made us laugh in chorus to the point where we could not stand and that is the best memory to remember him by." - Elizabeth C.
"Jake was such a strong, caring, responsible, intelligent person. He did such great things for his community and he was only 12. He really was the kind of person you wanted to hang out with, or just never stop talking to. Whenever I saw him he had a smile on his face. I know that he was a happy kid when he was here, the world needs more people like Jake. Jake would want us to remember all the happy and cheerful times we all shared. His love will never fade" - Adrianna C.
"I'm new here, and I became friends with Jake because he was really nice and he was my first friend. When I was sad he would always make me happy and he showed me his friends and I made more friends. He was so nice." - Cesar C.
"Your son was the best, most nice, and most kind and I think you all raised a mighty fine boy" - Vincent D
"I only met Jake last year, but instantly saw how nice he was. He would try to be friends with everyone he met. He was such a sweet kid and his legacy will always live on." - Gabi B.
"I only had two classes with Jake, but he was so smart. Everyone was always so upset during morning classes, but not Jake. He came in happy and always ready to help anyone. he was a really good friend, and the people who got to know him well were lucky. He will never be forgotten by anyone." - Hannah L.
"I remember on time on our baseball tournament in Bel Air where he almost had a home run and that was a good time" - Nick B.
"Jake was the nicest person I have ever known, he would help everyone no matter who it was. He was like the glue that kept our group of friends together, he'd always stop fights and solve problems, he was just an all around great guy. I had some great times with Jake at North Bay, school concerts, pool parties, and every day at school. He made everyone's lives better at this school. Jake was one of my greatest friends. I know that Jake is in a better place." - Elliott L.
"Jake was such a nice kid that could make people laugh. I remember he had cool handshakes with his friends. Team captains would always pick him first because he was so athletic. One day he sat at my lunch table and was telling jokes and making everyone laugh. I remember by stomach hurt I was laughing so much. One day my dog died and he made my day by making me laugh and that meant a lot to me." - Gracie.
"I met Jake last year on the Aladdin Jr play, and my immediate first thought was how much I respected him. Most boys in the choir had joined as a joke or a way to get out of another class. Jake joined simply because signing was something he liked to do. I respected him for not caring what other people thought about him. Jake was always the kid to sit with you if you were sitting alone and always the one to help you out if you were new. I remember learning the choreography for a song called prince ali, where Jake had to sit behind me while I danced. Throughout the song, Jake would always make the same funny comments every time, and I started to rely on his tiny voice in my head for cues. Jake has made an imprint on my life as well as so many others and has inspired me to help people just as he did. The entire school will continue to live on in Jake's memory, inspiring and helping people just as he did" - Ana C.
"Jake was the nicest person I ever met in my entire life. He was like a brother to me. He helped me through though times, helped me with school, kept me on track, and was the funniest person I know." - Michael G.