retired public utility executive, World War II veteran, and long-time resident and active member of the Stamford community, died on Wednesday, July 20, 2005, at Stamford Hospital. He was 83 years old. Although Mr. Jacobson had been battling cancer for six years, the cause of his death was a brain hemorrhage resulting from a fall.
Mr. Jacobson was born on June 21, 1922, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the eldest son of Mollie (Mallor) and Aaron Jacobson. As a child, he moved with his family to Waterbury, Connecticut, where Mr. Jacobson graduated from Crosby High School. He returned to Worcester in 1939, enrolling as an undergraduate at Clark University.
In 1942, Mr. Jacobson enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Following naval engineering studies at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Notre Dame, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His active service included submarine duty in the Atlantic arena and in many major engagements in the Pacific, including the battle for Iwo Jima, aboard the storied battleship U.S.S. Washington. He was honorably discharged from the Navy at the rank of lieutenant in 1946.
He returned to Clark University, where he received his bachelor of arts in the same year. He then enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he earned his master of science in mechanical engineering in 1947. It was while working at The Texas Company (Texaco) in Beacon, New York, that he met Maria Bohm, who had just competed her graduate studies in chemistry at Northwestern University.
Mr. Jacobson returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1948 and enrolled at Harvard Law School. On December 18, 1948, he and Maria married at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, Maria's alma mater. He graduated from law school in 1951, relocated to Danbury, Connecticut, and was admitted to the Connecticut Bar that same year.
In 1954, Mr. Jacobson moved to Stamford to commence employment at the corporate headquarters of Citizens Utilities Company (now Citizens Communications). His technical and legal skills brought him a remarkably successful 36-year career at Citizens, where he started as an engineer, was named president in 1970, and became chief executive officer in 1981, a position he held until his retirement from the company in 1990.
Mr. Jacobson was a distinguished member of the Stamford community and engaged in the activities of a number of not-for-profit organizations. He served as chairman of Silver Hill Hospital, Connecticut Ballet, and the Harvard Graduate School Alumni Council. He also played an important role at the University of Connecticut at Stamford, Jewish Family Service, and Stamford Historical Society, among others. An accomplished athlete, he and his family were longtime members of Roxbury Swim and Tennis Club. He served as the club's president for several years.
Mr. Jacobson is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Maria; his daughter Joanna of Stamford; his son Jonathan and his partner James McKibben of New York City; his daughter Paula and her husband Tom Grover of Danvers, Massachusetts; and his four adored grandchildren, Alex, Jacob, and Rebecca Grover, and Brendan Jacobson O'Neil. Mr. Jacobson also leaves his brother Alvin and his wife Karen; his brother Larry; and numerous well-loved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, cousins, and friends.
A small service will be held for immediate family members only. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Mr. Jacobson may be made to the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital, Shelburne Road at West Broad Street, Stamford, Connecticut, 06904.
Published in The Advocate on Jul. 24, 2005.