To his family, friends and co-workers, 31-year-old Jacob Mays seemed to have it all.
At the age of 31, Deer Creek Board of Education member Jacob Mays had a list of accomplishments to his name. He graduated early from Deer Creek High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a master’s degree of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University while working part-time at the Stillwater National Bank. Upon graduating from OSU he moved to Tulsa so his wife, Angie, could work toward her degree while he commuted to Stillwater to what had become his full-time job at the bank.
Later he received a graduate degree from Vanderbilt University in Bank Operations Management. He was employed by MidFirst Bank as senior vice president and director of information technology and worked for MidFirst before his lifeless body was found July 4 in his home.
Mays was remembered Thursday by friends and work associates for his Christian values, volunteerism, intelligence, hard work and sense of humor. His memorial service was at Crossings Community Church.
Mark Shrock, a co-worker he met while working at Stillwater National Bank, said they became friends and Mays had told him that he wanted to have a positive influence in the lives of the people he met during his life.
“I remember Jacob told me one time that one of his philosophies is (and this is roughly paraphrased) ‘To try to make life better or improve things in some way for people he came to know,’” Shrock said, “and I would say that he definitely succeeded in doing that in our friendship.”
Shrock said he respected Jacob and his intellect and abilities.
“I am blessed that the Lord God in His infinite wisdom and sovereign plan allowed my path and Jacob’s path to intersect and at times move in the same direction for a period of about nine years,” Shrock said. “Seven of those years we worked closely with one another. Jacob was always kind, considerate and respectful to me even though he was younger than I and was my boss.”
Shrock said God’s Word was important to Jacob and they discussed many portions of it with each other.
“I will always consider it an honor and a blessing to have known Jacob and consider him a friend and a brother in Christ.”
David Dietz, EVP, Profitability Director at Stillwater National Bank knew Mays when he first started working for the Stillwater bank.
“Jacob came to work for Stillwater National Bank in April 2001 as a part-time help desk support person,” Dietz said. “He would come in and work four hours a day. Some days in the morning, some in the afternoon. He was a college sophomore with a family. It became apparent to me that this young man was no ordinary help desk person. Much more mature than his age. Great attitude. Fun to be around. He was a smart guy that understood technology and wanted to put it to work.
“He figured out new ways to access this and process that. Pretty soon, he was debating his ideas with the older, more established IT professionals in our department. Even at that young age, Jacob was confident and was a good debater. But so were these older IT people who had a lot more experience. I would say over the years, Jacob won more of those debates than he lost. But when he lost, he always jumped in to help with the agreed upon way wholeheartedly. Sometimes when he lost a debate in one of our manager meetings, he would sit back, smile, and tell everyone, ‘OK, I give’ and everyone would have a good laugh.
Dietz said Mays was successful at almost everything he attempted.
“I was beginning to believe Jacob was able to do anything he put his mind to, until we played golf. He could hit the ball a long way, just not real sure which direction it was going. I think he would have been a good golfer if he would have practiced, but he was always working or doing something with Angie, Hannah and Landon.”
Upon college graduation, Stillwater National Bank made sure Mays had a spot on their team, Dietz said.
“He knocked everything out with ease. His desk was always clean, and the bank had great technology in place. But he was putting in a lot of hours. I don’t know when he slept.”
After Angie graduated from school, she found a job in Oklahoma City at Mercy Hospital.
“They moved from Tulsa to Edmond and Jacob worked from our Waterford office,” Dietz said. “He still drove to Stillwater a lot. But in Edmond, he told me how he was getting involved with the Board of Education at Deer Creek. Doing large bond issues, analyzing census data, planning new schools. Again, some great accomplishments from having ideas, wanting to make things work better, and he was willing to put in the time and effort. What a gifted guy he was. I knew it back in 2001 when he was just a sophomore in college. I will miss Jacob, a lot.”
Mays was elected to the Deer Creek Board of Education in 2011 and has served on that board for two years.
Deer Creek Board of Education President Danny Barnes said Mays’ dedication to the Deer Creek students and community was an inspiration for all who worked with him.
Mays and his family were members of Crossings Community Church where Jacob spent countless hours volunteering his abilities to the church.
“Jacob Mays loved God, he loved the church, and he loved to serve using his gifts,” said Contemporary Worship Pastor Josh Edington. “A few years ago, we asked our congregation for help in the media/tech department. Jacob called us and was willing to help wherever there was a need. The longer Jacob was here, the more he grasped the vision of our team. Our goal was to point people to Christ without distraction.
“One time we bought a new piece of equipment that no volunteer seemed to grasp. Jacob took the manual home that week, and mastered this highly technical piece.
“I was so thankful for Jacob. Jacob was a man of integrity. He was considerate of others and he strived for excellence in everything he committed to do.”
Crossings Community Church Pastor Lance Ward, pastor of Congregational Care, told the mourners at Mays’ memorial service Thursday the week had been dark for many, especially the family and friends of Jacob, and with the darkness of his sudden death there has been a deep sense of confusion, disorientation, sadness and pain.
He reminded the mourners, “Jesus Christ is light, and when our hope is in him, His light shines brightly, even in our darkest days. The death of someone we love is never easy. Infinitely more difficult when that death is sudden and tragic. Our emotions run in all directions. We feel undone. We are often overwhelmed with unanswered questions and lingering guilt.
“You will never get over this painful loss, but with God’s grace, you will get through it.”
Jacob Mays was born Aug. 24, 1981, and he died in early July at his Deer Creek home. He is survived by his children, Hannah and Landon, his former wife of 11 years, Angie Mays, his father, A. Curtis Mays, of Kingston, and his aunt, Jayne Craig.
A fund has been established for Mays’ children at Kirkpatrick Bank.
Thursday afternoon Eddie Johnson, the spokesman for the Medical Examiner’s office, said, “Since the cause and manner of death is currently pending, there are no preliminary findings that can be released.”
It may take three to six months before the cause of death can be released, he said.
To his family, friends and co-workers, 31-year-old Jacob Mays seemed to have it all.
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