At his home and surrounded by family, Robert Jacobson passed away the evening of Saturday, March 20, 2021. A longtime resident of Moscow, he was 94.
Robert Ordell Jacobson (Bob/Jake) was born in Fargo, N.D. Oct. 29, 1926, to Reuben Jacobson and Rose Schroeder. He was the second of four children. When he was young his family moved to Montana, first to Shelby and later to Hamilton where he spent countless days on the rivers fishing with his brother, Russell. Rivers and fishing were a lifelong passion for him.
Robert excelled at school, basketball and the violin. At an early age, enchanted by comics, he expressed himself through art. He dreamed of continuing to study art at college. However, due to the number of men returning from WWII and using the GI bill to further their education, he and his Air Force buddy, Bill Hardwick, were shut out of attending the University of Washington. He later considered this one of the most fortunate setbacks of his life since he and Bill then made their way to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), where Bob met and married the love of his life.
Professors were in short supply after the war and young Robert (known as Jake) was tapped to teach Typography while still an undergraduate. As chance would have it, Jeanne, a vivacious Home Economics major, was one of his students. It was love at first sight for both of them. Robert used his position as editor of the Aggievator, a student produced magazine, to request that Jeanne stay after class so that he could ask her to consider being featured as Girl of the Month in an upcoming issue. Then, after a dorm-room-window serenade, the relationship blossomed. In 1950 they married, had three kids, and stayed faithful and in love for 64 years until Jeanne’s death in 2014.
Bob’s degree was in Commercial Art and after graduating he set up shop in Oklahoma City with partner and friend, Dick Gilpin. In 1963 he accepted a position at Northern Arizona University where he taught until 1976. He was fondly remembered by his students, many of whom contacted him later in life to express their appreciation for his mentorship. In 1975 he started a mail-order business producing posters for libraries, and later secondary and primary schools. The business, Robert Jacobson: Design, was quite successful and since it was mail-order and ‘could be run from anywhere,’ he and Jeanne elected to move the business to Moscow in 1981. The choice of Moscow was made spontaneously when they drove through the town to visit longtime friends in Albion. It was love at first sight and they thrived in their new community making many new and lifelong friends.
Bob was a brilliant cartoonist, calligrapher and painter. He enjoyed storytelling, fishing for steelhead, trout and bass with his friends, bird hunting (though he later gave it up and felt bad about shooting those beautiful creatures), playing basketball and watching OSU sports on TV. He was a passionate Bananagrams player, and it helped keep him sharp and witty until his final days. He was widely read and always very interested to learn new things and discuss ideas. Everyone in his orbit felt his warmth and kindness, his thoughtful generosity, and we all benefited deeply from his loving affirmations. He was truly a gentle man, a great father, and a true friend.
He is survived by his children: Jayme Jacobson, Heather Nelson and Erik Jacobson; son-in-law Paul Nelson; grandchildren Sam Abrams, Emily Nelson, Jesse Jacobson and Ruby Jacobson; great-grandchildren Oliver, Emmet, and Aila; and his sister Marilyn Easter.