Donald R. Jacobs, 91, died February 11 in the family home in Leola, where he lived his active retirement years since 2002 with his beloved wife, Anna Ruth. During his passing, Don was surrounded by his loving family as he went through several months of sudden health challenges.
He was married to Anna Ruth Charles in 1949, and they celebrated 70 years of marriage in December last year. Their four children are Jane (Glenn Stoltzfus), David, Alan and Paul (Tammy Smith). He is the grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 8. Don had 6 brothers and 4 sisters, of whom 6 survive.
He was born near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, son of Paul and Trella Jacobs.
Don was a life-long teacher and learner. He once said that every person he met was his teacher. His teaching career began in Coffee Creek, KY where he taught for two years in an elementary school. He taught for three years at Lancaster Mennonite School. In 1954, he and Anna Ruth went to Tanzania under Eastern Mennonite Mission Board. There he taught in a teacher training college and in a theological college.
From Tanzania the family moved to Kenya where Don helped to set up a religious studies department at the University of Nairobi and then taught there for six years. Along with teaching Don also carried some administrative responsibilities, as well as serving as bishop in the Tanzania Mennonite Church for two years.
The family moved to the U.S. in 1973 where Don was Director of Overseas Missions in the Eastern Mennonite Mission Board office. From 1980 until his retirement Don was engaged in leadership development internationally with Mennonite Christian Leadership Foundation.
Don graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School, received a B.S. in history from Franklin and Marshall College, an M.A. in history from the University of Maryland, a Ph. D. in Anthropology from New York University and a British teaching qualification from University of London.
Life to Don was about relationships, starting with his relationship with his Lord. That gave meaning to his total life, with his blood family, his spiritual family, and acquaintances. He was warmly welcoming and embraced those who came into his life.
Don was an active member of Chestnut Hill Mennonite Church.
Don's memorial service will be held at Landisville Mennonite Church, 3320 Bowman Road, Landisville, PA, 17538, on Saturday, February 29. There will be a visitation on Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 PM and a visitation on Saturday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 AM followed by a memorial service.
Instead of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice & Community Care, PO Box 4125, 685 Good Drive, Lancaster, PA 17604 or to the Jacobs Family East African Education Foundation, which was set up by Don and Anna Ruth for the sole purpose of Christian education for students in Tanzania and Kenya during the next 20 years. Checks payable to: Everence Foundation, Memo line/note: Donald R. and Anna Ruth Jacobs Family Endowment Fund. Mail to: Everence Foundation, Attn: Michelle Newswanger, 960 East Main St., Mount Joy, PA 17552. Furman's – Leola
A living tribute »