Jerome M. (Jerry) Jacobs|
December 29, 1928 ~ June 8, 2012
PACIFIC GROVE - Jerome M. (Jerry) Jacobs died last Friday after a battle with metastatic melanoma.
Jerry was an award-winning broadcast journalist and producer and later taught his professional skills to hundreds of college students. Born in New Brunswick, NJ, he served as editor of his high school newspaper in New Brunswick and later editor of the student newspaper at Rutgers University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism. He went on to work for several New Jersey newspapers and radio stations before serving in the U.S. Army as a combat correspondent in the Korean War.
After the war, Jerry joined NBC Network News, where he became producer, writer and field producer of the network's "instant news specials," which covered such topics as wars, assassinations, natural disasters, Presidential trips, Papal journeys and any other event warranting national news coverage. He also served as editorial chief of NBC's White Paper series.
In 1964, Jerry won the national Peabody Award for NBC's three-hour examination of the civil rights movement, and in 1965-6, he won the national EMMY Award for NBC's coverage of the U.S. Senate's hearings on the Vietnam War.
After 13 years at NBC, Jerry moved to California to become a documentary writer/producer/director for David Wolper Productions. He later worked for Los Angeles television stations owned and operated by ABC and CBS and formed his own company, Odyssey Productions. During this period, he won two more EMMYs as well as awards from the U.S. and Chicago Film Festivals, the Associated Press, and the Greater Los Angeles Press Club. He was a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America.
In the 1970s, Jerry began his teaching career, first at UCLA and finally at California State University, Northridge (CSUN,) where he established the Broadcast Journalism program. Jerry's students have reported for broadcast stations in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Taipei, and numerous other venues. Among his cherished possessions are a couple of photos of his graduating classes holding a homemade banner declaring, "We are all Jerry's kids."
Jerry retired from CSUN as professor emeritus in 1992 and moved to Pacific Grove with his wife, author Nancy Baker Jacobs. Perhaps the highlight of his retirement life there was spending time enjoying the Monterey Peninsula's gorgeous coastline.
Jerry's life was filled with memorable moments, both good and bad. He grew up in a condemned house in New Brunswick, raised by a widowed mother who did her best to feed three children and two aged parents during the Great Depression. Their house was located between Father Divine's church and a Polish polka bar, which kept the noise level high and life anything but dull.
Among his NBC memories was a nervous moment during his production of the network's coverage of an Alabama Ku Klux Klan rally in the civil rights era. While staring directly at Jerry, the Klan's Grand Dragon declared that one of his main goals was to rid the world of "the Javitses and the Jacobses," referring to both then-Senator Jacob Javits and Jerry. While covering the Vietnam War, he was in a plane forced to make an emergency landing after one engine was destroyed by enemy fire. A happier memory was of his standing beside President John F. Kennedy during a Presidential visit to Costa Rica and their discussing the attractiveness of the various women within view.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; daughters, Jocelyn (Lyle) Hotzler of Ventura and Rebecca Lee (Jim Domke) of Parker, CO; son, Bradley (Afifa) Baker of Oakland; granddaughters, Amanda (Jason) Whitwood of Alfred Station, NY, Lisa Domke, and Kiran and Aiyla Baker; and four great-grandchildren, Nathanael, Samuel, Jacob and Abigail Whitwood. He is also survived by his brother, Noah Jacobs of Seattle and sister, Miriam Boris of Hillsborough, NJ.
According to Jerry's wishes, his ashes will be scattered in the sea he loved during a private family gathering.
Jerry's family wishes to thank Doctors Thomas Bradley, Dragan Dimitrov, Anne Rice and Andrew Johnston for their care. They also greatly appreciate the support he received from the friendly, compassionate staff of Forest Hill Manor Skilled Nursing Center.
Donations in his memory may be made to the
, the Food Bank for Monterey County or a
Published in The Monterey Herald on June 13, 2012