Jeanne Jacobson passed away at home in Moscow on September 29, 2014. She was 83, a remarkable woman.
In a note of condolence Jeanne’s niece Suzanne Rollier wrote, “I just can’t imagine that she’s gone. She was so strong and vibrant, so creative and beautiful and hilarious.” Add “bright and compassionate” to complete the word picture. She was a small woman, but she left a huge empty space.
Born in Enid, Oklahoma in 1931 to Roy and Alvena Rollier, Jeanne grew up in the small farming community of Lamont where her parents owned the movie theatre. Sitting prettily in the ticket booth, she was one of the nightly attractions. But she was much more than that. She was valedictorian of her graduating class. She was also queen of the annual watermelon festival.
In 1949, Jeanne’s sophomore year at Oklahoma A&M College, she met her future husband Robert Jacobson. He sang silly songs under her dorm window, but she decided to marry him anyway. That was in August 1950. Jeanne interrupted her education to spend the next ten in years in Oklahoma City where Bob had started a graphic arts business. During that time she gave birth to her three children, Jayme, Heather and Erik.
In 1963 the family drove to Flagstaff, Arizona, with two little girls in the back seat and the three-month-old boy tucked into a cardboard box. While Bob was teaching graphic design at Northern Arizona University, Jeanne continued work on her home economics degree. She added an art minor after falling in love with a jewelry design class.
1981 found them in Moscow, Idaho, where together they operated a school poster mail order business. Jeanne was the office manager at the printing and shipping plant. But she still found time to create jewelry from silver, copper, and non-precious stones. She sold some of her work, but preferred to give it to her friends. It was not unusual on a given Sunday to see many female members of the Unitarian congregation wearing her pendents, pins and earrings.
She was very much involved with the church in those days, working to repair and remodel the old building inside and out. She loved singing alto in the choir.
When her children were young, Jeanne began to make their clothing. She was a whiz of a seamstress with a great design sense. She had made many of her own clothes; now she started working for the rest of us. She produced dresses, shirts, pants, jackets, and even a formal suit for Bob. All very professional. Add to that several wedding dresses and party costumes.
Jeanne was an avid reader who also loved art, music, theatre, dance, movies and Gonzaga basketball. She and Bob travelled to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, England, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where she studied Swedish home arts and crafts.
Jeanne is survived by her husband Robert, her daughters Jayme Jacobson and Heather Nelson, and her son Erik Jacobson. Also her brother Bruce Rollier and her sister Allend Niehaus. Her grandchildren are Samuel Abrams, Emily Nelson, Jesse Jacobson and Ruby Jacobson. Her great-grandchildren are Oliver and Emmet Abrams.
Jeanne still lives on in all our hearts.
A memorial service will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Moscow at 2 p.m. on October 25.