June 25, 2024

Robert W. “Bob” Jacobson

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Robert W. “Bob” Jacobson, 98 of Willmar, MN passed away on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at CentraCare Rice Hospital in Willmar. 

His memorial service will be at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar with a visitation starting one hour prior to his service. Burial will be at First Lutheran Cemetery in Kensington. Memorials are preferred. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar, www.hafh.org

Robert Willard Jacobson was born on March 27, 1925, in Erdahl, MN. He moved with his parents, Martin and Pauline Jacobson, and older brother, Harold, to the Portland, OR area. During the Great Depression the family moved back to Minnesota and settled in Kensington. Bob graduated from Kensington High School in 1942. He was drafted in 1943, served in the United States Navy in radio communications during World War II, and was discharged in 1946. On June 25, 1950, he married Joyce Marie Wetterling. They raised three daughters together – Gayle, Judy, and Kari. The family made their first home in Sanborn, MN, and later enjoyed living in Elbow Lake and finally in Willmar.

Jake graduated from St. Cloud State University with a double major in Business and Physical Education. He loved baseball and was team captain for the Huskies in 1951-1952.  In 1963, Bob earned a master’s degree in School Administration from North Dakota State University. He began his career in education as a teacher and high school coach (basketball, baseball, football) in Sanborn and Elbow Lake. In 1964, Bob accepted a job at the Vocational-Technical School (WAVTI) in Willmar. The Vo-Tech was part of Willmar Community College at that time and is now known as Ridgewater College. Bob was a key player in achieving regional accreditation for WAVTI in 1975. It was the first technical school to be regionally accredited. He served as the Director of Instruction at the Vo-Tech until he retired in 1986.

Bob devoted his life to serving family, friends, and the community and he did so with patience, kindness, and humor. The family was his priority, and he and Joyce enjoyed teaching their girls “life lessons,” hosting holiday celebrations, traveling across America in the station wagon and camper, and the arrival of grandchildren and a great-grandchild. He always had time to help others, but he also liked his leisure time. He enjoyed ice fishing and playing tennis and golf. There is no sport he did not like to play or watch. His greatest joy was spending 72 years with Joyce.

Bob is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughters Gayle McMeekin, Judy Nelson (and husband Jim Cox), and Kari Rechtzigel; four grandchildren: Lucas Nelson, Samuel Nelson, Julia Bang (and husband Anthony), and Laura Clark (and husband Kyle); one great-granddaughter: Murphy Bang; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, and infant granddaughter, Chelsea.

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