Remembering Jake as a ‘family man’ | RecordCourier.com

Remembering Jake as a ‘family man’

Retired Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen talks about fellow Minden volunteer firefighter Don Hellwinkel during a Jan. 21, 2006 memorial service at St. Gall Catholic Church.

Lawrence E. Jacobsen was remembered as a World War II veteran, Pearl harbor survivor and Nevada law maker Wednesday during the inaugural induction for the Douglas High School Hall Fame.

Above all, however, Jacobsen was remembered as a family man by his children who were in attendance for the ceremony at Minden Park. Jacobsen, part of Douglas High's Class of 1939, passed away in 2006 at age 85.

"He's been gone 10 years and we think about him every single day," said Bruce Jacobsen, one of three sons (along with Gary and Tim). "He's the greatest man I've ever met."

Daughter Susie Jacobsen Jackson expressed her gratitude for the recognition.

"It's an honor, really," she said. "He's been honored in so many ways. It's been a while since he's been gone, but no day goes by that he's not missed greatly.

"He left us a legacy in so many ways," she added, "in his service to our country, state, community and to our family. We're really lucky and blessed to have had him as our father."

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Often referred to simply as Jake, he served 40 years as state assemblyman (1963-77) and senator (1979-2001), not to mention time devoted to his community.

Bruce Jacobsen likened his father as Carson Valley's equivalent to an all-star who was part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural induction class in Cooperstown.

"I think of him as Babe Ruth going into the Hall of Fame," Bruce said. "He was a 50-year member of the Douglas County Engine Company … 40 years Minden Rotary, perfect attendance … that just doesn't happen anymore. Forty years as a legislator, that's a record that's never going to be broken."

After graduating from high school, young Jacobsen enlisted in the Navy and two years later would be part of what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "A date which will live in infamy." In fact, he flew into Oahu on Dec. 6, 1941 and was on Ford Island when he awoke to the Japanese air attack that signaled America's entry into World War II.

"I asked, 'Dad, what did you do? I expected some heroic answer, he just said, 'We ran like hell.' That's all he said," Bruce recalls. "We rarely talked about it, but the other thing he would say, when I asked him what was the worst part, it was always, 'The bodies.' That's all he would ever say.

"Think about it. He was 20 years old … all of those boys back then were 19, 20, 21 …. I can't imagine being that young and going through what they did. Not only at Pearl Harbor, but World War II in general. That's why they were the Greatest Generation."

Greatest achievement?

"All in all, Mom and Dad were married for 55 years and would still be married to this day," Bruce said, referring to his mother, Betty, who still lives in Minden. "His proudest moment would be his family, especially his wife."

"He was blessed there, too, because a lot of his success was to her credit," Susie said, adding with a wide smile, "she had all of those kids that she had to take care of and she helped with both the businesses."

Even with all his achievements in what could be described as an action-packed life, Lawrence E. Jacobsen left yet one other lasting legacy.

"He was also a very down-to-earth, simple guy," Bruce said. "What you saw was what you got. If he told you something, you could count on it."