George Howard (Jake) Jacobus of Delray Beach, Fla. and Edgartown died peacefully surrounded by family and close friends on Jan. 8, 2013 in Delray Beach. He was 82. His death resulted from a long illness due in part to heroically battling chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) for 29 years.
He was born in Caldwell, N.J. at the height of the Great Depression on Jan. 5, 1931, son of Hester Todd Jacobus and George Russell Jacobus. He graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Caldwell, N.J., class of 1949, where he served as student body president and captain of the varsity basketball team.
Jake graduated from Dartmouth College with the class of 1953, where he was a government major and a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. In the mid-1950s he trained young pilots to fly T-33s as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Webb Air Force base in Big Spring, Tex. A consummate entrepreneur and businessman, he was a founding partner and CEO of Fairfield Communities Land Company, Inc., which built resort communities throughout the south and southwest. It was headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., where he lived from 1966 until 1976. His first marriage to Elizabeth Jones ended in divorce. He and his second wife, Catherine Hohenlohe and family moved to Delray Beach in 1976. He was the founder and general partner of Connark Company, an investment and real estate development company located in Delray Beach. In the 1980s, Jake served on the board of trustees of Newmont Mining Company. He was an active philanthropist along with his wife, including serving on the board of directors for the Achievement Centers for Children and Families Foundation of Delray since 1998.
Jake and Catherine bought their house on Chappaquiddick in 1979 and thus began a love affair with Martha’s Vineyard. With offspring living all over the U.S. and abroad, Chappaquiddick remained through the years as “family central” and Jake instilled a love for the Vineyard and Island life in them all. His idea of a perfect day started with an early morning solitary row in his dinghy on Caleb’s Pond; a trip with a grandchild into Edgartown to pick up the papers by whaler or by the On Time ferry (along with a chat about the weather and tides); sailing on White Wings or Pogue About with other family in the afternoon; little necks on the half-shell with cocktails; and fresh fish at dinner with all the family members and friends who could be squeezed at the table. He counted among his friends many year-round and summer residents, and over the years he and Catherine generously supported dozens of Vineyard organizations, including the YMCA, the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Trustees of Reservation, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Red Stocking Fund and Vineyard House.
Jake was a lifelong student of European and North American history and a resolute Republican, though many tried to sway him. In his great respect for education, he and Catherine awarded private scholarships for higher education to numerous deserving young people. He was a natural athlete and always fit, walking, rowing or swimming daily until within weeks of his death.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Catherine H. Jacobus, six children and their families: daughter Ann Jacobus Kordahl and husband Jim Kordahl of San Francisco, Calif.; son William R. Jacobus and wife Crystal Jacobus of Tallahassee, Fla.; daughter Sarah Lacy Jacobus of Dallas, Tex.; daughter Alexandra Cook and husband John Conforti of Boston; son Todd H. Jacobus and wife Shana Jacobus of Chevy Chase, Md.; and son Christian H. Jacobus of Saginaw, Mich.; 12 adoring and devoted grandchildren; one great-grand child; a brother, Todd Barry Jacobus and wife Patty Jacobus of Little Rock, Ark., and three nieces.
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 188 South Swinton Boulevard in Delray Beach, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, with a reception immediately following at the church. Arrangements are under the care of Lorne and Sons Funeral Home of Delray Beach.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations will be gratefully accepted at the Achievement Center for Children and Families Foundation of 555 Northwest 4th Street, Delray Beach, FL 33444 or online at delraychild.org.