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Elsie Jacobson

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Elsie Jacobson Obituary
Elsie Mary (Dunning) Jacobson died Feb. 6, 2014, at Longmont United Hospital while recovering from injuries received in a fall. She was 93. A cheery woman who made friends easily, she especially loved mystery novels, crossword puzzles, the Denver Broncos, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her regular visits by her young great-grandson Gil Tracewell were a special delight to Elsie and her neighbors at St. Vrain Manor. Elsie was one of Longmont's "English Ladies", with many friends in town who were also British immigrants. Until her later years, she often traveled - including some trips back to the United Kingdom - and collected thimbles from every place she visited. She was born Elsie Mary Dunning on Oct. 12, 1920 at Southend-on-Sea, Essex, in southeastern England, to timber porter George Dunning and his wife Annie Phoebe (Carey) Dunning. The couple also had a son 11 months later who only survived a day or two after birth, leaving Elsie an only child. Elsie began her formal schooling at Westborough Elementary School, though she tried to return home on her first day, telling her surprised mother "They all went out to play. I didn't like school, so I came home." After being firmly returned to class, she would remain in school through age 14, particularly enjoying English history and any opportunity to read, a love of books she inherited from both parents. Her mother also passed on a passion for sports. At weekend soccer matches, Elsie would later recall, Annie Phoebe would transform from a sweet, refined lady into a fan loudly demanding "Put your glasses on, ref!" Many years later as a grown woman, Elsie would show a similar vigor as she cheered on the Denver Broncos each week. A teacher recommended that Elsie sit the examinations for high school, saying that she could receive a scholarship. Her father refused, believing that "she'll get married and it'll all be wasted." Instead, at 14, Elsie went to work as a mother's helper, discovering that she loved to be with children. When she was 17, she met William Frank "Bill" Jacobson at church, first going out with him when a friend was supposed to see him and never showed up. Elsie's parents were strict about her not marrying until she was 21; the two wed on March 7, 1942 in Somerset, where Elsie's family had evacuated to after the start of World War II. During the war, she and Bill (who was ineligible for service due to tuberculosis) worked for two years at an airplane factory that made Lysander light bombers. She was one of only two women on the floor and fit in well, despite occasional pranks from the other workers. Living above the factory, she once witnessed a German plane strafe the yard as the second shift came in. The couple later returned to Southend-on-Sea, where she worked in a factory that made clothing for soldiers. She hated the job and quit once married women were allowed to leave the wartime workforce. On Feb. 12,1951, she and Bill had their only child, Susan Jacobson, in Southend-on-Sea. Elsie's mother died later that year. (Her father died in England in 1971, a month shy of his 91st birthday.) In 1957, Elsie moved with her husband and child to Montrose, Calif, where Bill had gotten a job with Bekins after advertising for a position in The Los Angeles Times. In California, she began to occasionally clean houses for extra money. After her daughter's marriage in 1971 to Robert Rochat, Elsie became a very close friend of Susan's new mother-in-law Eleanore. Elsie and Bill divorced in 1972. In 1974, Elsie moved to Longmont, Colo., where she lived with Susan and Bob for six years, helping raise her three new grandchildren: Scott, Leslie and Carey. In Colorado, Elsie worked for a little while at a Hygiene school cafeteria, and would spend 10 years on the housekeeping staff of Longmont United Hospital before her retirement in 1985. For the rest of her life, she was a regular and loved presence in the lives of her daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a member of First Christian Church and its later incarnation, LifeBridge Christian Church. After her retirement, she also volunteered with the OUR Center, Columbine Elementary School and at LifeBridge. Elsie was preceded in death by Bill Jacobson, her ex-husband. She is survived by her daughter Susan Rochat of Longmont and her husband Robert; by three grandchildren: Scott Rochat and his wife Heather of Longmont, Leslie Boyd and her husband Josh of Kirkland, Wash., and Carey Tracewell and her husband Jay of Johnstown; three great-grandchildren: Ivy and Simon Boyd of Kirkland, Wash, and Gil Tracewell of Johnstown; her niece, Anne Steele of Vancouver, Wash, and two second cousins, Shirley and Robert Leach of Thorpe Bay, Essex, United Kingdom. Services will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at St. Vrain Manor, with a reception immediately following. Services will be officiated by Paul Stettler, with music by Tim Foot, both of LifeBridge Christian Church. Donations in Elsie's name may be made to the Friends of the Longmont Library. Visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to share condolences.

Published in Longmont Times-Call from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2014
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