Jackson Yelle’s father, Scott, remembers his son’s caring and warm demeanor; he said it was easy for him to build friendships, and he had a strong love for his family.
“He loved life, was always up for an adventure,” Scott said. “People would find it easy to make a friendship with him.”
Jackson, an Elon University junior from North Eastham, Massachusetts, died at the age of 21. He was in Myrtle Beach on a weekend trip when he was killed in a hit-and-run on April 30. An arrest was made May 1.
Jackson was a business analytics major with a statistics minor, and a member of Club Baseball. Scott said he was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do for a career. He worked for the Cape Cod baseball league last year doing analytics and statistics work and gravitated toward the sports environment. Scott said Jackson loved his time at Elon.
“It was his happy place. He really loved it,” Scott said. “He really enjoyed school, he liked being there, and the friendship. … He had a nice cross section of folks that he was engaged with.”
To his teammates, Jackson was someone who led by example, with an energy that touched the lives of those who knew him.
Adam Faberman, an Elon senior and Club Baseball coach, provided a statement to Elon News Network on behalf of the organization. Jackson is remembered by his teammates as a “fierce competitor” and “a comforting and consistent presence within the club.”
“The entire EUCB family is absolutely devastated by the incomprehensible, sudden, and unexpected loss of a brother, friend, and true representative as to everything that the club stands for,” the statement said. “Jackson embodied everything that our club stands for and it was an absolute blessing to know him, be friends with him, and have him as a part of our organization. This loss is genuinely devastating to a club full of brothers who will be doing everything in their power to honor Jackson at all times, make him proud, and ensure that his name lives on forever.”
Scott said the Club Baseball team were Jackson’s “boys, his guys,” and he talked about them often. When he speaks to the team, he wants part of his message to be one of taking care of one another in the days ahead.
“I want them to know that A, he loved them, and B, it’s not their fault,” Scott said. “It’s a tough world, and we have got to look out for each other and take care of each other, I think he would want that.”
Jaden Ryan, an Elon junior and club baseball fundraising chair, remembers his friend and teammate as someone with a “special kind of energy to be around.”
“He was a ball of energy,” Ryan said. “When he walked in a room everyone lit up.”
Ryan called Jackson “the life of every party” and said he always found a way to make situations fun.
“He loved to dance, any song that came on he would be up dancing getting everyone up and having fun,” Ryan said. “At the baseball field, at practice, always having a good time. He was just someone who loved to have fun.”
Off the baseball field, Jackson’s professors remember him as an engaged student and a friendly face.
“Every greeting from Jackson came with a smile,” Tony Stafford, an instructor in marketing wrote a statement to Elon News Network.
John Wimmer, lecturer in management systems, was Yelle’s adviser.
“Jackson was a bright student always looking for ways to grow and improve,” Wimmer wrote.
Lecturer in Management Lakeisha Vance said Yelle enjoyed the full “Elon experience.”
“He immersed himself in academics, sports, and social activities that helped him grow into a well-rounded young man,” Vance wrote.
As the campus community honors Jackson’s legacy, Scott said he hopes his son is remembered as outgoing, warm and caring to others, and carefree.
“I think he would want people to go on living and not be too sad for him,” Scott said. “He was notorious for saying, ‘Oh I’m fine,’ and I think that would be his attitude still.”
For resources, students, faculty and staff can contact the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life at 336-278-7729, staff with Student Care and Outreach in the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200, or counselors from Counseling Services at 336-278-7280.
Students can access 24/7 resources from the crisis counselor on-call at 336-278-2222, TalkNow from TimelyCare, or Student Life administrator on-call through Campus Safety and Police at 336-278-5555. Faculty and staff may also utilize Elon Work-Life Resources for support.
Max Wallace contributed to the reporting of this story.