Mildred Molly Jacobs, 99, most recently of Urbana, Illinois, and formally of Lima, Ohio, passed away on July 31, 2019. Mildred was born October 21, 1919 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the oldest daughter of Jacob and Esther Kitman (Gottlieb), both Jewish emigrants from eastern Europe. Notably, Mildred was within three months of her 100th year. Mildred graduated from the now-famous Schenley High School in Pittsburgh and studied music performance at Duquesne University. In 1946, she married Saul Jacobs, who had just returned from serving for four years in the U.S. Air Force and was now studying watchmaking in Pittsburgh. Before his military service, Saul played on a minor league hockey team in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. For many years, Saul and Mildred owned a jewelry store in downtown Lima, Ohio, S. W. Jacobs Manufacturing Jewelers. Saul learned the jewelry trade from his father, Julius, who had emigrated to Johnstown from Antwerp, Belgium in the 1880s. Saul and Mildred were married for 54 years until his death in 2000 in Fort Myers, Florida. Mildred was a devoted wife, always wanting the best from Saul. Preceding her in death is a younger brother Fred of Pittsburgh. Mildred is survived by her two sons, Michael (Alicia), a physician in Las Vegas and Ronald (Marsha), a professor at the University of Illinois. She is also survived by her sister, Betty Robins, a niece Lisa Robins, a nephew Richard Robins (Simona), a grand-niece Renata, and a grand-nephew Alec.
Mildred was especially passionate in advancing the various social causes of the day, having marched in civil rights marches in the late 1950s long before it became fashionable, contributing much energy to the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and then later receiving a personal thank-you note from the President, and volunteering many hours in support of the equal rights amendment seeking gender equality. Young people gravitated to her to discuss politics and the events of the day. She was always well read and thoughtful in her perspectives. She was an early opponent of the Viet Nam War and later an ardent supporter of Hilary Clinton for president. Mildred returned to school in her forties and completed an undergraduate degree in education and a master’s degree in music, both from the Ohio Northern University, Ada. Mildred taught high school English and English literature in Lima and Toledo. Mildred began playing the violin at the age of 12, and at various times in her life was a violinist in the first-violin sections of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Lima (Ohio) symphony, and the Toledo Symphony. In Lima and Fort Myers, Mildred organized a musical trio comprised of a piano, bass, and violin, to play at private events. Music was a defining facet throughout her life. Mildred was truly a lifelong learner, and for many years would carry a text book with her, studiously engaged in studying Spanish, German, or a Shakespeare play, underlining and making notes in the margins, often for no other purpose than for her own personal development.
Mildred was especially proud of her two sons’ accomplishments. As a devoted mother, she organized little league baseball teams, drove endless miles on their behalf, often waiting patiently in the car while they would finish doing something, and made innumerable phone calls on their behalf. All of this and more was done to nurture their respective interests, which as it turned out became instrumental in their future pursuits. Mildred will be remembered as a person who, to the end, was passionate about her beliefs, combining a keen intellect and insightful sense of humor. For better or worse, Mildred was a product of her own impoverished upbringing during the great depression and the times she lived in, and she undeniably made her mark on the world. Contributions in remembrance should be made to any organization that supports the arts.
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