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Berton Jacobson

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Berton Jacobson Obituary
Berton Jacobson

Passed away April 15, 2013, at the age of 90. Bert was born in New York City July 24, 1922 to Bernard and Julia Riegelhaupt Jacobson, who immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1920. Bert was raised in the Bronx, graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1938 and trained as a civil engineer at City College of New York, graduating in 1942. He gained post-graduate education at Columbia University and Leeds University in England. Bert was a World War II veteran, serving with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Following his war service he did a short stint as an airport engineer.


Bert joined the Martin E. Segal Company in New York in 1948 as the company's fourth employee. He opened Segal's San Francisco office in 1955. He became an acknowledged expert in the creation, administration, and development of collectively-bargained employee benefit programs. He retired from the company in 1989 as Executive Vice President and Western Regional Manager.


Bert married Jean Vallie McMahan in Stamford, CT, on December 1, 1951. They were married 59 years and raised four sons. They moved to Belvedere, California in 1955.


Bert was active in civic affairs. Through the years Bert served as a Board Member of the Mechanics Institute Library, the Tamalpais Union High School District, the City of Belvedere Planning Committee, and as President of the Belvedere Tennis Club. He was a generous contributor to numerous charitable organizations. Bert was an enthusiastic tennis player, sailor, and golfer. An avid news hound, he kept abreast of world politics and events through the last days of his life. Nothing pleased him more than the company of his family.


Bert is survived by his sons Derek (Catherine), James, and Henry (Robin), and grandchildren Alexandra, Brian, and Patrick, his brother Jerome (Doranne) of Springfield, IL, and numerous nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by Jean and his son Gordon.


A private memorial service will be held in Belvedere on Memorial Day.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 in memory of Bert, a lifelong supporter of civil liberties.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle from May 15 to May 19, 2013
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