Marysville’s two-time Olympian discus thrower Jarred Rome was found dead on Sept. 21 at 42.
It will likely take weeks before a cause of death is known, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Officer.
Rome was a longtime Marysville resident and attended Marysville schools.
“I knew him as a student at Marysville Junior High School first,” said Randy Davis, a local Marysville teacher.
“When I moved to Marysville-Pilchuck High School I asked him to come out to the track team, which he did,” he said.
Davis followed him for a long time after Rome moved on to college.
“Every time he was throwing in the area I would follow that as a fan,” he said. “Me and his throwing coach decided to fly him down for the Olympic trials in Sacramento,."
That would be the first Olympic trials that Rome won, which allowed him to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
He would represent the U.S. at the Olympics in 2004 and 2012, and in 2011 Rome won a silver medal at the Pan American Games.
Davis said he remembers at those first qualifiers officials would take all the winners aside to interview them.
“He was relatively unknown at this point, so they took him aside and asked him for some of his background, and he said he came from this little town called Marysville and he talked a lot about his hometown. That was something that was always apparent, that he was very proud of his hometown,” said Davis.
Rome would eventually return to Marysville to give back.
“He would approach me later about putting on a throwing camp here in Marysville,” said Davis. “Jarred did a great job bringing people together for that.”
Davis said that Rome wanted to share his knowledge and skills with local youth and help them.
“He had learned so much about athletics and the world,” because he had traveled so much, said Davis.
“He always felt that he should share those things with the people here,” he said.
The summer camp that Rome put on was popular with local throwers from around the Puget Sound and with Marysville locals.
“The kids just absolutely loved it,” said Davis, who added that some of the kids took up track and field and would text him for tips after the camp was over.
The fees for the camp also returned to the Marysville community.
“He would always turn around and give any money he raised from the camp back to our track and field program here,” said Davis.
Rome also didn’t turn away people for lack of funds.
“Jarred told me that if there’s any Tomahawks that were having trouble paying, just to let him know and he would let them in the camp,” said Davis.
Rome was in town this September to be inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame, which took place on Sept. 18.
“I met Jarred for the first time at the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet recently. He was very humbled to be honored into the Sports Hall of Fame,” said Tammy Dunn, executive director of the Snohomish County Sports Commission.
“He arrived early so that he could bring us items for the memorabilia table we had for the 2019 Induction Class,” she said.
He was a track and field assistant coach for throws at Boston University and the director of the Ironwood Thrower Development Camp in Idaho.
Davis said he’ll remember Rome as someone who was “always upbeat, positive and happy.” He said it was a tragedy that Rome was only 42 when he died. “Sometimes things don’t make sense,” he said.
Rome is survived by his wife, Pamela Rome, parents Dan Rome and Jane Blackwell, and his two sisters.