William Lehr ‘Bill’ Jacobs (May 18, 1937-October 22, 2020)

Our Bill was so easy to like, so good natured and just plain pleasant to be around. A smile, a chuckle and always an upbeat attitude greeted you every time. He was a man of many talents. William, the English professor emeritus, teaching thousands of students in his fifty one year career at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California; Bill the builder, always a next project with hammer and saw in hand; Bill, the loving gardener, making a thousand flowers bloom in his garden of delights, and in our hearts. You linger in our minds, William, where our most precious memories reside.

Twenty miles east from the Oregon border is the small town of Nampa, Idaho. On April 18th, 1937 William was born to Irene Opal Fox Jacobs and Royal Alexander Jacobs. He grew up and lived in many places: Washington, Texas, Montana, California, and in the frigid reaches of Greenland (sometimes forty below), as a member of the United States Air Force.

William’s parents created a happy home life for him and his sister, Frances Winnifred, born May 8, 1934 in Nampa. His mother, Irene, a vibrant woman filled the lives of her children with books and music and gardening. During World War Two, his father, Royal Jacobs, a navy man, was aboard a ship sunk by the Japanese. Arriving in Australia,he was attached to General Macarthur’s Pacific Theater staff, achieving the rank of Colonel.

William’s high education began in the fall of 1960 at the University of Washington, majoring in English Literature, where he stayed on through a master’s degree. He eagerly accepted his first teaching position at Kalispell Community College in Kalispell, Montana in 1967, moving on from there to Flathead Community College. In 1969 Bill was hired by Dr. Jerry Strelitz for a full- time position at San Jose City College. When Evergreen Valley College opened, he moved to that campus, a position he kept until his death in 2020.

In his long career in education, in addition to his classroom teaching, William Jacobs participated in and/or occupied virtually every academic committee and leadership position in the San Jose Evergreen Community College District, including chair of the Academic Senate several times. His statewide leadership spanned many years in such positions as California Community College Academic Senate Executive Committee. Upon retiring in 2007 he and three other retirees, George Forrester, Walter Soellner and Alice Gosak formed the Retired Faculty Association for SJECCD. Bill was the first and only president of that organization until his death in 2020. Bill Jacob’s professional career was truly inspiring.

One of the couple’s personal highlights at Evergreen was Julie and Bill’s wedding in the Montgomery Hills above the campus. Overlooking the city of San Jose on a beautiful sunny day on July 14th, 1990  beautiful Julie, in a pink full skirted lacy dress and hat ala Scarlett from ‘Gone With The Wind’, and William in top hat and tails, a sight no one who was there will ever forget! They were a perfect match for each other, in a long marriage to be envied for its graciousness and good cheer.

Between the two, William and Julie have pantheon of family members including: great-grandchild Oliver, grandchildren Jorden, Alyssa, Zachary, Miranda, Miles, Jude, Matthew, and his sister Fran.  Also his children Julian, Royal, Reesa, Patti, Renee and Sherrie.  Bill’s parents, Irene Jacobs and Colonel Royal Jacobs, preceded him in death.

Walter Soellner