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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Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated
When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
“When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.
OC welcomes missionary, military families
For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.
Planning Commission approves rezoning
The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district. Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
“They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”
Out of the stressful wreckage: Scholarships for car crash victims
After the dust has settled, the injuries have healed and there’s a replacement car in the driveway, victims of automobile accidents often still face an uphill battle trying to move on with their lives. According to psychologists, for some the fear never really goes away. It’s common enough that the National Institutes of Health gives physicians specific recommendations for patients exhibiting acute stress symptoms and PTSD after motor vehicle accidents. With more than 3 million injury accidents a year nationwide, the San Francisco Bay Area personal injury law firm Appel Law Firm LLP, sees their share of the aftermath — only they decided to do something about it.
Agencies ask for volunteers to support grandparents who raise grandchildren
Local law enforcement agencies are helping Sunbeam Family Services provide much-needed school supplies to grandparents who are faced with the challenge of raising their grandchildren. According to a recent census poll, there are nearly three million grandparents raising more than five million grandchildren in the United States.
Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors
This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.
Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond
Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.
Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs
Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.
Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage
Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
“It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
“If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
“We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
“I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.
Firefighters sharpen forced entry skills
Of all burglaries, 60.5 percent involved forcible entry, according to recent FBI statistics.
As a result, many home and businesses are installing a greater number of complex mechanisms on their doors and windows. Edmond Fire Maj. Joe Elam said 10 local firefighters recently sharpened their skills during a forcible entry class offered by IRONS and LADDERS, LLC., of Lawrence, Kan.
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