The passing of Jacob Wells

The Light that Burns Twice as Bright Burns Half as Long –Lao Tzu

Jacob Wells

John Jacob Wells  1969-2014

Jacob was a runner. On November 1, 2014, he was in the 19th mile of his 156th career marathon when he collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest. Several minutes passed before he was revived and his brain suffered oxygen deprivation for several minutes. He had massive brain trauma and the Doctors gave us very little hope. Jacob died at 2:04 PM November 7, 2014.

Jacob was not an elite runner, but he was a good runner, having run in the Boston Marathon twice. He loved running. He had a passion for running.

Jacob was a certified public accountant. He graduated in 1991, Magna Cum Laude as the top graduating senior of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He had 23 years of public accounting experience with significant experience in the nonprofit and governmental industries.

Jacob was a volunteer. He served on the board of several Arkansas nonprofit organizations serving as treasurer on some of them. He was a keynote speaker for many CPA functions. He conducted workshops and seminars for the same. One of his favorite subjects was the proper use of the English language. He claimed that the ability to communicate was as important as numbers in the relationship with a client.

He was recently awarded the 2014 Public Service Award by the Arkansas Society of CPAs. Jacob volunteered in his running as well. He willingly offered counsel and encouragement to runners and race committees alike. He particularly liked to encourage new runners. He led blind runners and pushed quadriplegics to the finish line in many races. He was Race Director of many races. Jacob was recently selected Volunteer of the Year for 2014 and also Race Director of the Year for 2014 by the Arkansas Road Runners Club of America.

Jacob was an organ donor. His organs would only be viable if death came within fifty minutes from the time of extubation. Jacob finished his last race in nineteen minutes. Recipients were already prepped and waiting in the operating rooms. By five PM the surgeries would be finished and within a few hours the recipients would begin to feel the effects of Jacob’s last gifts. Jacob’s organ transplants were successful. A man in his late 60’s received Jacob’s right kidney and is doing well. His left kidney was received by a lady in her early 60’s and she also is doing well. Jacob’s liver saved the life of a man in his late 40’s.

Much has been written and said about Jacob’s selfless giving. I want to share a story of mine. Jacob and I were alone together one day when he was around thirteen years old. It goes like this:

“Dad, are we rich?”
“No, not really. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I just always have some money in my pocket to jingle, and whenever we need something, you and Mom always get it for us. It just kind of seems like we are rich.”

A few seconds pass and Jacob continues:

“Dad, when I grow up I’m going to be rich. I’m going to get the best job I can. I’m going to make the most money possible. Then I’m going to give most of it away.”

Jacob was my son.

– Ron Wells, BOA Treasurer