Professor: Jake had 'twinkle in his eye'
Jake Jagoda was my student at Empire State College, and I am just as deeply sad today about his loss as I was when I first learned that he was a victim of the 9/11 attacks from his mother, Anna May.
He was a wonderful young man -- bright, funny, respectful, and full of promise. Although he was younger than most of our students, he had the motivation and skills to undertake guided independent study. I can still see him, with a twinkle in his eye, arriving for a meeting with his fishing boots on. As everyone knows, he was passionate about the sea, but I recall that he was also excited about his new job in the city. Thankfully, he earned his degree in history, a subject he loved.
I will always remember Jake and his sister, Mary, both of whom were lovely young adults. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, my thoughts and my support are with their parents, Anna May and Louis.
Professor Barbarie Rothstein, SUNY - Empire State College
About 16 years ago I was on one of my many fishing trips. I wanted to try out a new boat so I chose the James Joseph out of Huntington. On that particular day, maybe 16 years ago, it was extremely hot approaching 100 degrees and I was woefully under prepared with only a 20-ounce Arizona Green Tea in my cooler for liquid refreshment the trip was all day (8 hours). So I knew I would have to be absolutely thirsty and wait until later in the trip before I would drink my lone Green Tea.
A little bit more than halfway through the trip the heat was getting the best of me and it was time to crack open my very inviting very cold Arizona Green Tea. I pull the bottle out of my cooler and turn the top and hear the telltale pop of the airtight sealed beverage. Right before I was about to enjoy my first sip I hear a voice: "Excuse me sir."
I look up and see standing there a kid ... probably high school age I kind of recognize him, I believe he was one of the mates on the boat.
There he was maybe 120 pounds at best and he says to me "Excuse me sir do you have anything to drink? I didn't bring anything with me and I am totally thirsty."
In my head I said, "You've got to be kidding me," but my heart said if this kid is asking me for a drink he has to be really thirsty. The boat was packed with other anglers, but for some reason he felt comfortable asking me. I told him, "sure thing, just go and get a cup because the only drink I have is this Arizona Green Tea."
He gets a cup, I proceed to pour half my beverage into his cup. That was my introduction to Jake Jagoda. After that I began going on the James Joseph a lot. Captain James is a great captain and the fishing is generally good and always fun. Every time I went on the boat whether it was with my dear friends Dwayne and Sybil, or by myself or with my daughter Nadia Nicole, Jake made sure we were well taken care of. Unlike the day I met Jake I was never underprepared on a boat again and every time I went on the James Joseph I made sure that if Jake wanted a cold drink from my cooler he was always welcomed to it.
A few years after that hot day my daughter caught a large Fluke and won the money pool. No one was happier than Jake ... he paraded the fish around the boat for all to see and Nadia was beaming with pride (so was I). We had many conversations Jake and I throughout those years he graduated high school and was getting a handle on what he wanted to do. Every time we spoke he was like I'm going to school and working as a mate on the boat and he never lost his focus he wanted to work in finance. Jake always was pleasant with a great sense of humor and showed us such a tremendous amount of respect.
In August of 2001, I believe it was I went fluke fishing with my best friend Dwayne and Jake was happy as could be. Another mate on the boat Dillon helped get him his first finance position. He was going to be working for Cantor Fitzgerald in Manhattan. He told us that this was a great opportunity for him. I wished him good luck and told him I would miss him on the boat he said that i would probably still see him around.
Unfortunately that was the last conversation I had with Jake. He was in the towers on 9-11. As we found out as the news unfolded Cantor Fitzgerald was absolutely devastated on that horrific day.
I know that there were dozens of people way closer to Jake Jagoda than I was, I could only imagine the grief they feel especially on this day. I just want people to know that a tragedy like this is not lost in a vacuum. I send my most sincere prayers out to the family of Jake Jagoda, his friends, Captain James Joseph, Joey, Dillon and the rest of the mates of the James Joseph. May God Bless you and all those that are still affected today by those events on 9-11.
William Nixon, Freeport
I started taking my son fishing on the James Joseph in Huntington when he was about 10. We were frequent passengers on the boat for many years. Jake and Joe were our favorite mates. As most young fishermen, he would frequently lose his bait, sinkers, lures and get his line tangled. Most mates would get frustrated dealing with these situations but, not Jake. Jake would always come to the rescue and get him rigged and untangled. He had an abundance of patience, a comforting smile and a gentle personality. We always missed him when he took a day off.
Then the dreadful day we boarded the boat and my son went into the cabin as he always did and came back out with tears in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that Jake had died on 9/11. They had a memorial for him in the cabin on the boat. It broke our hearts. He was a very special part of the memories my son and I share in regards to our fishing adventures.
I would like Jake's parents to know that they did a wonderful job raising their son. He touched more lives than they'll ever know. We think of him often. His friendly eyes, smile and his wonderful personality. We are so sorry for your loss and I hope this e-mail brings some comfort to you in knowing he is remembered ... yesterday, today and tomorrow ... by all of those whose lives he has touched. You must be so proud of Jake as we were to know him.
Donna and Brent Lupia, Kings Park