The Wake Forest community grieves the loss of 20-year-old junior Jordan Bayer, who died at Carolinas Medical Center Main on Nov. 6 after suffering severe injuries in a car accident on Nov. 5. Bayer was returning to Wake Forest from the Charlotte Douglas Airport after an interview he had in New York for an internship with Goldman Sachs.
Bayer was a mathematical business major, treasurer of the Sports Analytics Club and a member and risk manager of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Yet in addition to these qualities, Bayer was best known for his welcoming demeanor and selfless ability to put others first.
“He was known for lighting up a room and making you feel so important whenever you interacted or engaged with him,” said Will Hayden, a senior and member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. “No matter what he was going through, no matter how bad his day was, he was always willing to stop anything that he was doing to make you feel better or help you with anything you were going through.”
Many of Bayer’s other closest friends echoed Hayden by saying his selflessness made everyone want to be around him. He was incredibly grateful for his friends and was also seen by them as open and approachable.
“He truly wanted to make other people happy,” said junior Sebastian Pellejero who is also a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. “I lived with him last year and I remember always walking into the room to find him watching ‘Entourage.’ He would always invite anyone and everyone walking down the hall to come into the room and watch it with him.”
Although Bayer was known for always being open and supportive to others’ problems, he also faced personal problems of his own which caused him to take a semester off last year. Yet his ability to handle his issues and recover inspired many of his closest friends.
“When he told us in our GroupMe last year that he was leaving, he told us all not to pity him and that he would be back,” Pellejero said. “That’s exactly how it was. He set his mind to it and he came back.”
Several of his friends said that watching Bayer struggle was definitely tough, but seeing him transform back into the person they knew well motivated them.
“Watching him come back from his personal struggles to become the hilarious kid he was this semester was incredible to see,” Hayden said. “He was at the height of his life so far when he was taken from us. He went out on top and that brings us a little bit of relief and condolence.”
Before coming to Wake Forest, Bayer grew up in Brookline, Mass., where he was the captain of his lacrosse team and member of the golf team, in addition to being a part of Junior Mentorship Program. Freshman Jonathan Bell, who also attended elementary and high school with Bayer, said that he similarly touched the lives of everyone around him in high school.
“I always knew Jordan as a mentor,” Bell said. “He was two years older than me, and even though he had no obligation to help me and all my friends, he was always so willing to share advice with us and be our protector.”
The funeral will be held in Brookline, Mass. on Friday, Nov. 13.
With many of his closest friends and fraternity brothers being abroad during their junior year, the brothers of the fraternity created a fundraiser to collect donations in order to cover the travel expenses for those who wanted to be able to attend the funeral.
“Because of the fundraiser, every single member of the fraternity will be at the funeral,” Hayden said. “We have people flying from England, Spain, Australia and even Yosemite National Park.”
The brothers all expressed their gratefulness to the Wake Forest community and all the donors for being so supportive and for facilitating a way for them all to attend the funeral together.
The members of the fraternity plan to consult with his family and give all of the leftover money towards a scholarship or foundation in Bayer’s name. They have also discussed holding an annual or biannual event in memory of Bayer.
“Anybody who can cause more than $30,000 to be raised in less than 48 hours is mindblowing,” said junior Austin Bauersmith, a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. “This just shows how much he meant to everybody when people are making an effort to fly 24 hours from Australia to stay for a day and a half, then fly 24 hours back.”
Despite the miles, his fraternity brothers who are studying abroad also expressed their sentiment for their friend.
“Jordan left no stone unturned,” said Grant Wissak, a junior who is studying abroad in Australia. “That applies in many aspects from his work ethic, determination and desire to make everyone around him happy. He wouldn’t sleep until the job was done.”