CASHTON, Wis. (AP) — Family and friends gathered in Cashton to pay respects to a young man who died from injuries he suffered in an accident on the day he was to be married.
Jacob Gronemus, 22, suffered third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body in a welding accident Oct. 1. He died Saturday in Madison at the University Hospital burn unit — the day he was to marry 19-year-old Ashley Kast.
Tears turned to laughter Wednesday as family and friends shared their memories of Jake, according to the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1beIYm7 ).
Kast said she met her fiance when she was in high school. It was almost exactly one year ago that he proposed, Kast said.
“He took me squirrel hunting,” Kast chuckled through her tears. “I came back with a ring.”
Family members said Jake was the oldest of four siblings and was a role model at home, at school and on the football field, where he played fullback for the Cashton Eagles. His brothers, Mark and Nick, carry on his tradition on the team.
“He was always the one giving the hits right back,” Mark said. “He was aggressive.”
Off the field, he was described as kind, generous and hardworking with a luminous smile and an old fashioned kind of courtesy. Before he proposed to Ashley, he took her father, Gabe Clark, out to dinner and asked for his blessing.
“He was perfect for Ashley,” Clark said. “She was a better person for knowing him. We all were.”