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Marquette holds vigil for Jake Kaufmann

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A vigil was held Sept. 29 in remembrance of Jacob “Jake” Kaufmann, a rising senior who unexpectedly passed away July 22.  The event took place in St. Joan of Arc chapel and was led by Reverend Thomas Anderson. About 30 of Kaufmann’s friends attended the event.

The event was designed to be informal, Anderson said at the start of the vigil.

“This is simply to remember Jacob, to tell stories and to share our experiences,” Anderson said. “This is our Marquette chance to talk with one another about Jacob.”

Anderson passed out note cards and invited attendees to write down a word that described Kaufmann. He then invited people to come up and tell a story explaining the characteristic they wrote down.

Knowledge was the word that came to mind when he thought of Jake, Nick Stanko, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said. Stanko said he will always remember a bet he made with Kaufmann while they were enrolled in Anderson’s theology class.

“As friends, we always tried to wager whenever we possibly could,” Stanko said. “Ultimately, we bet on that class, who was gonna come out on top (with the higher grade). I remember the exam, the cramping that my hand went through from all the writing.”

Despite all the hard work, Stanko said his score couldn’t match Kaufmann’s.

“We got lunch afterwards to talk about it,” Stanko said. “Sure enough, the grades came out and Jake said to me, ‘That was probably the hardest A I’ve ever gotten in a class,’ and likewise I said, ‘Yes, Jake, that was the hardest AB I’ve ever gotten in a class.’ In any competition like that, I’ll always remember Jake being one of the most knowledgeable people I ever knew.”

The event was held specifically for Kaufmann’s Marquette friends, said Ricky Kaufmann, Jacob’s cousin and a senior in the College of Communication.

“Everything happened over the summer, so we wanted Jake’s friends from school to be able to pay their respects,” Ricky said.

There was a formal Mass in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., near Jake’s hometown, but Ricky said the vigil  “was special because it was here on Marquette’s campus.”

Ricky said Kauffman’s parents and extended family did not attend to be respectful of his desire to keep the event within Marquette’s community.

“I explained that it was less formal and more just Marquette students sharing memories of Jake,” Ricky said. “They didn’t want to impede or make anything we said awkward. They wanted us to have the freedom to talk.”

Through Jake, Stanko said he learned the qualities to look for in an ideal friend.

“I would say that in the three years I knew him, we made a lifetime’s worth of memories,” Stanko said. “I’m able to take away the experience of learning what a friend can mean to a person. I definitely want to emulate the friendship we had with anyone else that I become friends with.”

Ricky said he knew Kauffman for as long as he could remember.

“There are pictures of us before we even turned two months old,” Ricky said. “We went to Brewers games, took trips to each other’s cabins and went hunting.”

However, Ricky said his relationship with Kauffman evolved when they came to Marquette.

“When we got here, I got to know him in less of a formal, family way,” Ricky said. “I got to know him more as a friend rather than as a cousin.”

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