Family and friends of 2017 Hilliard Darby High School graduate Jacob “Jake” Huff gathered July 9 at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park to remember a son, a teammate and a friend.
They will gather again from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 16, and at 10 a.m. Friday, July 17, for family visitation and a memorial service, respectively, at Tidd Funeral Home, 5265 Norwich St.
Huff, 21, died July 5.
“It didn’t matter who you were or your background -- if Jacob knew you, he had time for you,” said Jacob’s father, Kevin Huff.
He said his son was just beginning to forge his adult life while working as a masonry apprentice and never more than two or three days would pass without a call or a text between the two.
“We never ended a call (or a text) without saying ‘I love you,' " said Kevin Huff, reminding other parents and children to do the same.
Huff recalled his son as a fierce competitor and a natural-born leader.
Jacob was captain of the lacrosse team at Darby High School and a co-captain of the Darby Panthers football team.
“Everyone’s life was a little brighter with (Jacob) in it,” Kevin Huff said.
Hilliard police officer Jon Gleason recalled Jacob’s smile.
Gleason is the school resource officer at Darby High School, where he met Jacob.
“You never know who you will meet that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Jacob was one of those kids,” Gleason said.
“He was quick to say ‘hello’ and the kind of person who always left a situation better than when he found it."
Jacob was found dead July 5 inside his apartment near the campus of Ohio State University. The cause of death is yet unknown, Kevin Huff said.
Jacob is survived by his parents, Kelli (Larry) Marioth and Kevin (Valerie) Huff; two brothers, Elliott (Kenzie) Bigler and Dominic Buckley; five sisters, ReAnne Daye, Karsen and Kennedi Marioth, Jenna (Andrew) Stewart and Linnea Huff; grandparents, Cynthia Fillinger, Arlene Huff, Sheryl Trick and Chuck (Liz) Huddleston; and friend Jessica Cox of Hilliard.
Cox, 21, was close friends with Jacob since they met as seventh-grade students at Heritage Middle School.
“He was always a shoulder to cry on (and) we saw so many things the same way,” Cox said.
She recalled a day at Darby High School when they were eating lunch together and saw another student sitting alone.
“We both looked at each other and, without saying anything to each other, invited him to join us,” she said.
The two could communicate that way, Kevin Huff said.
“They had a love for each other that was unmatched,” he said.
In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations via GoFundMe to the Hilliard Darby Athletic Boosters in Jacob’s memory.
Donations can be made at gofundme.com/f/jacob-huff-memorial-fund.