'He thrived on supporting us'; Aylmer, Ont. man killed in crash remembered as family man

Family and friends describe Jake Epp as 'hard working, and family oriented.'

The 26-year-old from Aylmer, Ont. was on his way to a job site, like he did every day to support his family, when he was killed in a crash on Colonel Talbot Rd. in the South end of London, Ont. July 15.

"I can't wrap my head around it but he's not here," says Mary Epp, Jake's widow.

"It feels unreal, it feels like a dream that I'm not waking up from."

Jake was employed at Concretus Specialties Ltd. in Komoka, Ont., for the past year and quickly rose the ranks in his field to senior finisher. He only worked there for a year but made a significant impact on his boss and co-workers.

"He was a great guy to work with," says Josh Fleming owner of Concretus.

"For him to come to work every day with a smile on his face, bring a great attitude and never complain, that is the biggest thing that I think we'll all miss. Everybody fought to have Jake on their team just to make your day a bit better."

The Epp's met as teenagers ten years ago and now have four young girls, all of them six and under. He is described as a man who would grind it out everyday for his family.

"There's not a day where he would complain that he would have to support us," says Mary.

"He thrived on supporting us. It was his whole life. He was a hard working man, and everyone knew it."

Mary was a stay-at-home mom, so an online fundraiser has been set up by friends to support the family.

It has quickly raised more than $75,000, $40,000 of which was donated by his Concretus work family.

"The messages have been flowing in everyday and it's made it so much easier," says Mary.

"It's not an easy road, but I am so grateful for the support that I have got from everyone, through it all."

A visitation for friends will be held in Aylmer on Monday. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday in Tillsonburg, Ont.

"We have guys that have put together shirts for the cause and we have guys that are putting stickers on the trucks to attend the funeral on Tuesday," says Fleming.

"The hardest thing is that Jake Epp was one of the guys that everybody begged to have on their site because of his positive attitude. His cheer, really good humor and hard work so it's really hard on everyone. He's really affected everyone here."

Mary is appreciative of everything Fleming and the company have done for her since Jake started working there.

"I'm so thankful that he had found a job that he finally loved and a boss that he loved," says Mary.

"It means so much that he had worked there, even if it was for a short period of time. I am just thankful that he was on his way to somewhere that he enjoyed going and he enjoyed the people that he worked with."

Mary says it's still a struggle to believe her husband of nearly seven years is gone.

"The last couple of days has been kind of a blur and it'll take time to heal," she says.