In Memoriam: Jake Kroontje
On March 14th, Jake Kroontje, a first-year Trinity student, went to be with Jesus. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Jake, his memorial service provided a powerful testimony to the impact that he made on the people around him in his 20 short years. Despite the immense pain, Jake’s memorial was truly a celebration of life, complete with many of his favourite things: Snapple peach tea, flannel shirts, a taco bar, and a heartfelt guitar duo blasted at full volume—just the way he would have wanted. Jake was an incredible musician; as shared in a tribute to him, one of his greatest desires was to share the love of Christ through the powerful medium of music, which was a lifelong passion of his. Jake was remembered for his innovative pranks, his wit, his unceasing loyalty, and his deep friendships. As one family member shared, “Everyone liked Jake—except Jake.” The service was raw and forthright in its honesty surrounding Jake’s internal battles. Perhaps the most stirring, heartfelt moment of the service was the conclusion that Mrs. Kroontje, Jake’s mother, left us with: “If you don’t know why you’re living today or where you’re going, or if you wish to die, then for Jake’s sake, for his legacy, come talk to us. With God, things do not necessarily become perfect. We would not be standing here today if that was true. But with God’s perspective, there is no need for the world’s perfection. He gives hope, now.”
Jake left a legacy in the way he lived his life, a message that will carry far beyond his death. Through our mourning as a community, may we keep his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers, reflecting on the hope that Christ brings even on the darkest days—as made evident in the life and testimony of Jake Kroontje.