Valencia High scheduled a celebration-of-life event after learning about the death of alumnus Jake E. Solley,23, who passed away while on active duty as a sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps two weeks ago, according to a spokesperson with the Armed Forces.
Solley, whose death remains under investigation, graduated from Valencia High School in 2012.
Dave Caldwell, Hart District spokesman, said, “It’s just tragic any time one of our former students die far too young. Our condolences go to his family; we’re all suffering.”
The former Viking was known for his four-year football career before joining the Marines after graduating.
Valencia High football coach Larry Muir said he and everyone on campus are concerned and shocked about the young man’s recent passing.
“Jake was more than just captain, he was the heart and soul of his team,” Muir said. “Even after joining the Marines, he would come back to games and be still very involved in our program.”
Solley would return to campus and talk to players, encouraging them to do their best. He once offered a Marine-like boot camp training to student-athletes, the Valencia coach said.
“He easily connected with others and helped people. And at the same time, at the Marines, (he was) a tough, young man,” Muir added.
Details into his death could not be confirmed at this time “due to Privacy Arct requirements,” according to Master Sgt. Dean Hurtado with the Marines.
An honor mission with the Patriot Guard Riders was held Friday to escort Solley to Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary, where his family, friends and Marine Corps family attended.
Valencia High School has invited the public to attend an honorary event at the school’s theater at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. With limited parking, those attending are advised to park vehicles in the student lot across the campus.