COLUMBIA — Friends say that Jacob Meadows only needed certain things in his life — family, friends, nature and music.
Laura Schopp, family friend and MU professor of health psychology, called him "one of those gentle souls."
Jacob William Meadows of Ashland died Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, after taking his own life. He was 17.
He was born Oct. 5, 1995, in Columbia to John Meadows and Jamie Bartelstone Meadows.
Schopp, who was selected by the family as its spokeswoman, said she had known Mr. Meadows since he was born. She watched him flourish over the years as he developed his passions and talents.
Mr. Meadows developed a love of nature from his father, she said.
"I remember when he was maybe 8 years old or so, he’d walk around with a chicken under his arm," Schopp said, laughing, as if she were picturing the memory. "He was just one of those kids who had love for all kinds of creatures."
When he was younger, he had a turkey named Raspberry.
"It was just so sweet how he took care of it," Schopp said.
His mother led him to find his kind, open heart, Schopp said. She was also the one who introduced him to a love of music.
As a senior at Southern Boone High School, Mr. Meadows was a member of the school's marching and jazz bands. He played the saxophone in both bands and the guitar just about everywhere else.
"He loved music and had a deep appreciation for jazz, so it meant so much to him to be a part of the band — he found his home there," Schopp said. "One of his friends described to me, 'He wasn’t a part of the jazz band at school – he 'was' the jazz band.'"
Mr. Meadows' 16-year-old sister, Sarah, who plays the piano and is a singer and songwriter, looked up to her brother for guidance in her music. Mr. Meadows often gave his sister kind, thoughtful and realistic pointers on how a piece could be improved, Schopp said.
"They would do everything together," she said. "When they were little kids, they would go bullfrog catching at night. Then as they got older, they worked together consulting with each other in art and music – it was really important to both of them."
Along with his band director, many other teachers just "really got it about Jacob," Schopp said.
"He had a different look on things, and his teachers really seemed to understand and appreciate that to help Jacob be focused and productive to use his gifts," Schopp said. "They seemed to really love and nurture Jacob."
Even though band took up a majority of Mr. Meadows' time, she said he had friends in many different circles.
"He was one who could really appreciate all kinds of people," Schopp said. "We are all so much richer for having had him in our life."
Mr. Meadows is survived by his mother, Jamie Bartelstone Meadows of Columbia; his father, John Meadows, and stepmother, Nancy Meadows, of Ashland; his sister, Sarah Meadows of Columbia; and his paternal grandmother, Lorene Meadows of Aurora.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Ashland Baptist Church, 203 E. Broadway. Memorial services will follow at 6 p.m. Friday at the church.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Southern Boone High School band, 14520 S. Crump Lane, Ashland, MO 65010 or to the family, in care of Robinson Funeral Home, 601 N. Henry Clay Blvd., Ashland, MO 65010.