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CVM Pays Tribute to Departed 3VM Jacob Cahoon

Posted October 26, 2017



Students line up to offer their condolences by leaving a message in a book for the Cahoon family.

Tears were shed and laughs were shared as the Texas A&M Veterinary Class of 2019 joined with College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences administrators, faculty, staff, and other students to remember and celebrate the life of third-year veterinary student Jacob Michael Cahoon, who died on Oct. 20.

CVM executive associate dean Kenita Rogers and associate dean for professional programs Karen Cornell welcomed Cahoon’s family, including mother Laurie, father Michael, and brother Nathan, to the candlelight ceremony held in his honor on Oct. 23 on the front steps of the VENI Building.

Other special guests included Cahoon’s family and friends Jimbo, Tonya, David, Jackie, and Rachel Moore; Marie Hossfeld; Ben Sunshine; and Ruth, Scott, and Aaron Wilkerson.

“We are bound by being here tonight to celebrate the life of Jacob Cahoon, a son, a brother, a friend, a student, a colleague,” Rogers said. “He is one of us, and that is forever. We are proud of him, just as we are proud of each of you, and that is forever.

“We celebrate the unique individual with whom we shared this dream, and that is forever. He, of course, remains a part of his Salado family and also remains an integral part of this college family, and that is forever.”

Cahoon’s classmates and friends shared their reflections of the person they loved, reaffirming the bond they shared through their love of veterinary medicine and painting a portrait of Cahoon through glimpses of their experiences with him.


Classmate Ryan McKnight shared laughs with the group as he recalled some of Cahoon's quirky characteristics.

Classmate Ryan McKnight paid homage to Cahoon’s quick humor and sarcasm as he addressed the group with a game.

“If you are a diehard (Chicago) Cubs fan but live in South-Central Texas, you might be Jacob Cahoon; if your first language is sarcasm, you might be Jacob Cahoon; if you live exclusively on frozen pizza, you might be Jacob Cahoon,” McKnight read, ending the list with, “If you’re a good friend who constantly makes your friends laugh, you might be Jacob Cahoon.

“Thank you for the impact you made on my life and the lives of everyone here; you were taken far too soon,” he said.

Classmate Kari Means’ interactions with Cahoon were read by a peer.

“Anyone who knew Jacob would say his humor was unparalleled, which left us with not a lot of appropriate stories to share at a vigil," Means wrote. "I first thought of Jacob as a quiet, introverted guy who was probably afraid of my extroverted-ness, but I came to know him as a very and caring person. He always tried to lighten the mood with jokes because he knew that we were stressed and nervous about everything. He knew every detail about what the surgeon was supposed to do, even when he was anesthetized.”

Finally, Cornell shared the more serious side of a young man who said he was inspired to become a veterinarian by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, by reading from his veterinary school application his goals following graduation, which included owning his own small-animal practice in a rural community like his hometown of Salado, Texas.

“I envision creating a clinical environment similar to the one where I’ve enjoyed working for the last four years, a place where families and pets experience compassion and quality animal care,” Cahoon had written. “I will employ my leadership skills to give back to the community, as my own hometown has given to me. I will use my musical talents and experiences to develop projects that will nurture the youth with the same kind of richness that I experienced in school and community musical programs.


The Cahoon family (front row, sitting, from right) listen as Cahoon's peers speak before leading "Amazing Grace."

“Through participation in musical programs I learned valuable skills that I want to share with others: listening, benefiting from the guidance of peers, encouraging others, and working cooperatively,” he had continued. “These are all attributes which I consider essential not only to the success of a veterinarian but to the vital being of a productive member of society.”

The ceremony ended with the singing of “Amazing Grace” as candles were lit among the more than 200 in attendance, followed by a time for silent prayer, reflection, and support.

Books with personalized messages from attendees were given to Cahoon’s parents, as well as to his roommates Nicole Copeland and Alexandra Wahl, both also veterinary students.

Services for Cahoon were held on Oct. 28 at the Salado United Methodist Church. The CVM provided group transportation to the funeral for those who wished to make the journey.

The resounding condolences to his family and tributes to Cahoon can be summarized by the ending of Means’ written message: “Jacob was really loved, and he will be missed.”

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