Friday, January 21, 2011

In Memoriam - Jacob Price

One of the things that crime fiction lovers like about their sleuths is that they do the right thing. They solve crimes, they sometimes "save the day," and even when they don't go wading into gun battles or rescue people from burning buildings, they add good to the world. They make a difference. We want to believe that there are people out there who want justice, or who want to protect people from criminals, or who want to make things right, and our crime fiction heroes often give us that sense, even if they are far from perfect themselves. That's one reason that we cheer on characters like Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus, Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti and Adrian Hyland's Emily Tempest. I like that about those sleuths, too. That's why this blog is about crime fiction. But you don't have to be a sleuth to make a difference, to set things right and to make things better, which is why today's post isn't really about crime fiction.

Instead, today I'd like to share with you the story of a real person who made a difference and who, in his own way, set things right just as much as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse or Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. Jacob Price was born with what many people would think of as "strikes against him." He had Down's Syndrome and a rare heart condition, either of which alone could have left a person unhappy, frustrated, and even bitter. But that's not how Jacob chose to live his life. Instead, he led a full, active, rich and giving life.
He was a talented singer and musician, and "…established himself as a leading light" of The Honeytones, a band that includes a wide variety of music in its repertoire and allows musicians with special needs the chance to share their talents - and their love of music. Do you see the Honeytones button on my sidebar? Please do check the band out. If you live in the U.K. you're especially lucky because you can book the band yourself or go hear them play. Even if you can't do that, you can help spread the word about them.

Jacob Price was more than just a musical artist, though. He was also a real influence for good. For example, he took part in a rigourous 12-week Prince's Trust course and although it wasn't easy, he didn't give up and in fact, won an award (that's Jacob accepting his award - third from the right). He inspired other young people taking the course with him not to give up, either. He befriended people wherever he went, and just his example of kindness, perseverance and good humour was a model for others. Including me. I admit that I never had the honour of knowing Jacob personally, but I do know that he made the world a better place.

Without the bitterness of a Lincoln Rhyme or the fears and insecurities of a Sid Halley, Jacob Price overcame significant obstacles and realised his full potential. Life gives all of us sadness, difficulties and even tragedy. By simply living his life to the fullest and sharing his talents, Jacob showed us all how to embrace life. In doing so, he became a hero. At least for me.
Sadly, Jacob passed away on 12 January, 2011. But in his short lifetime, he made more of a difference than many people do who live many more years.

In Jacob's memory, I invite you to try something you didn't think you could do, or that you were told you couldn't do. I invite you to choose kindness instead of prejudice, and to focus on the good in life. That's at least as heroic as anything a crime fiction sleuth does.

NOTE: My sincere thanks to Norman and Diana Price, who were kind enough to share these 'photos of Jacob and to allow me to share his memory. Our thoughts and wishes for hope and healing go out to you both!


  1. Oh thank you so much Margot. I will definitely keep Jacob's creed to heart! Much love to his folks and friends who must miss this absolute dynamite force of life!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Norman´s son - and to life!

  3. Jan - No need at all to thank me. I, too, have much to learn from Jacob and from his wonderful parents. So many lessons he taught...

  4. Dorte - Oh, believe me - it's my pleasure to share his story.

  5. What a wonderful tribute. He seemed like a wonderful inspiration to many. I'll check out his link.

  6. What aa inspiring and beautiful post, Margot - it helps me put some things in perspective. Jacob Price, RIP.

  7. Clarissa - Thank you :-). That is exactly what Jacob was, too - a real inspiration. I do hope you'll enjoy the band's link, too.

    Book Mole - Thank you :-). I know exactly what you mean. When you learn about someone like Jacob, you really can put things in perspective. That's a lesson he taught me, too.

  8. This is a beautiful tribute and very touching. Thanks for sharing his story.

  9. TK - Thank you for your kind words. Jacob was a unique person who brought quite a lot of good into the world. It's my pleasure to share his story.

  10. What a wonderful tribute, Margot, which I read with tears in my eyes. Although I too did not ever meet Jacob, it was always so much fun to hear about his exploits from Norman. My thoughts are constantly with Norman and Diana. Jacob will not be forgotten.

  11. Maxine - Thank you so much :-). I feel exactly as you do; I so enjoyed hearing about Jacob's doings, and I'll always remember him - and those great stories. My thoughts and wishes, too, to Norman and Diana...

  12. A wonderful tribute. To learn a person with so much against them could be so positive should make the rest of us stop and appreciate what we have. Sounds as though Jacob was a very special person and his spirit will live on through the lives of those he touched.

    Thoughts in Progress

  13. Hi Margot .. I had seen them on a tv news snippet .. and they are a special band of people - and to lose one person, who could give so much .. but benefited so many in his short life .. is so sad, but here you're opening others' eyes to what can be achieved - & Jacob would love these thoughts.

    Choosing kindness over prejudice will be so important for us all in the coming years ..

    Great post - thank you .. Hilary

  14. Mason - Thank you :-). Jacob touched so many lives and even with so many challenges, he and his parents chose to give rather than to be selfish and bitter. That, to me, is heroic. Jacob will not be forgotten.

    Hilary - Thank you - that's so very kind of you :-). I'd have loved to see that TV snippet about The Honeytones. They are a special group of people, aren't they?

    And I agree; there is a greater need now than ever to choose kindness over prejudice. Jacob certainly did, and that, I think, is why he did so much good in his short life. Thanks for your comments.