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Jacob “Jake” Wishard


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Jacob “Jake” Wishard

Jacob “Jake” Wishard took his own life on April 27. He is survived by his father (Alan), wife (Lisa) and daughter (Josephine) and countless friends whose lives he touched.

A native of Penn’s Valley, Pennsylvania, he grew up on “Sweet Annie’s” herb farm in Tusseyville and later in Centre Hall. He begrudgingly attended Penn’s Valley High, much preferring to ride his mountain bike and surveil the woods with the High Mountain Rangers than to torment his educators with his intellect and bravado. He and the Ranger’s left their mark in one of the most legendary graduation pranks in the school’s history.

An Air Force Veteran, he served “in a bunker, in a bunker” in Omaha, Nebraska during the first Gulf War. Upon his discharge he returned to Penn’s Valley where he worked in conservation law enforcement and the family business. He met his future wife and asked her if she did any winter hiking. Six weeks later they moved into a one-room cabin in the woods. He attended Penn State University, where a summer class on accounting profoundly altered the course of his life, when the professor suggested Jacob should consider going to law school.

Jacob and his wife moved to New Mexico in 1999, where he attended the University of New Mexico and earned both his undergraduate and law degrees. There was never a doubt what kind of lawyer Jacob would be. A career prosecutor, he served as an ADA in the 1st, 13th, and 2nd districts of New Mexico. He ultimately joined the US Attorney’s Office and served the District of New Mexico in the Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Roswell offices. He loved his job, and his country, and felt no greater honor than to say, “Jake Wishard for the United States.”

Some of Jacob’s greatest joy came from being bested by his daughter in philosophical debates and personal barbs. Similar in temperament and intellect, the battles were often epic and intractable. She took his breath away with her jaw-dropping insights into human nature. Like her Papa; she has a selfless nature and unwavering sense of fairness.

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Beyond the law, Jacob was a woodsman who loved outdoor adventures that involved getting his truck stuck, firearms and engineering deluxe campsites. He was no saint, but he was one of the most generous, brilliant, stubborn, and irritating humans on earth. He had a tremendous sense of satire, the kindest of hearts, and a constant eye towards supporting those he cared for — always putting the needs of others before himself.

Instead of flowers, consider a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In addition, the family requests that each person touched by Jacob’s life takes a moment to provide love and support to a friend, family member, or themselves. A memorial will be held once it is again safe to hug and hold one another in our grief and slap one another’s backs in remembrance of his jocularity and hijinks.


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