He Found His Happiness
Jennifer Jacobs has done her share of crying and praying for her husband Jason, who disappeared in his office at Fiduciary Trust on the 97th floor of 2 World Trade Center.
But now she is mostly trying to celebrate the good times, sifting through memories made with Mr. Jacobs, 32, a man who loved her at first sight, but whom she could initially regard only as nice. The memories are everywhere. In the kitchen of the new home they bought in January, on a quaint little block in Randolph, N.J., she stares at the cookbooks and gourmet magazines that her husband loved more than Monday night football but not nearly as much as his little girl, 13-month-old Zoe. In every room of their home, she remembers watching him strip and paint the walls over and over, promising that they would be perfect.
In the memories, she says, there are only smiles and laughter. "There are no regrets. We had an incredbile relationship. We have this beautiful child. We got the house we wanted and we always said 'I love you,' even that day when he should have been trying to get out, he called to say 'I love you and I love Zoe.'"
"I wish I could spend the rest of my life with him, but I know Jason had already reached all of these great places in his life. Most people, they live their whole lives without ever being that happy."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 5, 2001.
Jason K. Jacobs, 32, loved family and cooking
Eight years ago today, Jennifer Traiger met Jason K. Jacobs in New York City. It wasn't supposed to be more than a brief encounter; Traiger just wanted to say hi to her brother's friend, someone she had met while she was a senior in high school.
"We walked and talked for 10 hours," she fondly recalled. "Walked through the village, had dinner."
Two days later, Mr. Jacobs sent her a dozen roses with a note that read, "Just for being you."
Three years later, they married.
"We connected from Day One," Jennifer Jacobs said. "We had common values and goals. We were always in sync."
On the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Jacobs, a business partner at Fiduciary Trust Co., called his wife from his 97th-floor office in the World Trade Center's South Tower.
"He sounded funny," Jennifer Jacobs recalled. "It was early. I thought maybe the car had broken down. He said a plane hit the World Trade Center, but it was the other building. He said if I saw it on TV, not to worry.
"I turned on the TV. Then all of a sudden his building explodes. I was hysterical. I ran to the phone to call him. There was no answer."
Mr. Jacobs and his wife lived in Randolph, where he was born. They had a 14-month-old daughter, Zoe.
"He loved her so much; I can't even describe how much he loved her," Jennifer Jacobs said. "She was his little buddy. I brought her into (his office) one day. Several of his (colleagues) said, 'Now we know why he goes running out of here at 6 o'clock.'"
The two were born the same year, just 11 days apart. On their honeymoon, they spent two weeks in the Greek Islands. One day, the couple bought a marble chess set; the pieces were Greek gods and goddesses. The two ended up lugging the chess set back to their hotel "on a tiny moped with an itty bitty light in the dark, on this cliff," she recalled, laughing.
She described her husband as "very hard-working, very professional," yet someone who was "laid back, funny" at home. Mr. Jacobs -- with his freckles, he looked much younger than 32 -- took pride in his cooking, and subscribed to many food and cooking magazines.
"He would read them cover to cover," she said. "He'd read them on the train. His briefcase was heavy, but it wasn't always from work!"
One of his favorite dishes was filet mignon in a red wine-mushroom sauce wrapped in pastry dough, served with a carrot and potato purée.
There was one side dish he never got tired of making, Jennifer Jacobs said. He would take a tomato, make a rose out of it, and place it on his wife's plate.
Profile by Peter Genovese published in THE STAR-LEDGER.