CARLSBAD — Jack Munday’s energy and gregarious personality was a light to all to knew him.
So it was hardly a surprise when more than 100 friends and family members of the late Jack Munday came together on June 26 at the Carlsbad Art Wall at Señor Grubby’s in Carlsbad Village to honor the memory of the 16-year-old Carlsbad High School student who died in a car accident on June 24, 2020.
During the gathering, friends and family shared stories of Jack’s outgoing and oversized personality. The group engaged in a paint-by-numbers mural drawn by artist Bryan Snyder, who connected with the family about the project and used two of Jack’s own drawings to anchor the mural.
“Jack was love, the essence of it,” said Trey Munday, Jack’s father. “He could look into your soul and see the good and empathize.”
Trey and Jo Munday described their son as a jitterbug who loved the outdoors and just about any outdoor activity. Jack played baseball, was an umpire, a surfer, skater, cross country runner, artist, and yes, a fan of the ladies, his mom said laughing, but noting he was “chivalrous.”
But Jack was also loyal, funny and inclusive with the rare ability to connect to so many people from all walks of life, one of his closest friends Finn McIlory said. Jo Munday, McIlroy and others also spoke of how Jack would befriend those who didn’t have many friends.
Jack also wanted to open a surf school for the deaf, Jo Munday said.
Her son also loved his two younger brothers, Beau and Sam, and would include them in many of his outings as he could. Jack also worked two jobs and always seemed to be on the go, Trey Munday said. But what really surprised the family was the reach of their beloved first son.
At his beachside vigil last year, hundreds of students, friends, teachers and others poured onto the beach in memory of Jack and in support of the family. And the mural project was much of the same as more than 100 people came out in support.
But in the year since Trey and Jo said they’ve seen just how much Jack was loved and appreciated by so many people around him.
“Jack’s impact on this community was so, so huge,” Jo Munday said. “I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand how many lives he touched. To me, it’s reinforcing the power of humankind.”
McIlroy said his friend was “the life of the party” and could make connections with anyone. He painted a seal in his friends’ memory and said the mural will make “Carlsbad understand his vibrant lifestyle.”
About 10 months ago, Jo Munday called Snyder, who didn’t know the family, and the two instantly hit it off. She shared stories of her son, his passions and his creative side.
Snyder used Jack’s own artwork from middle and high school to develop the mural’s concept. The two anchor pieces in the mural, a wave and a 3D drawing of “Jack,” were drawn by the teen and Snyder incorporated his other passions into the piece.
“I offered the wall as a temporary mural, but more importantly a gathering of people … and a way for all of us to come together and share memories,” Snyder said. “Art is a great window into how someone thinks and what makes them tick.”