Kenneth R. "Dr. J" Jacobs
July 9, 1933  -  February 11, 2009

Kenneth R. "Dr. J" Jacobs

Elmwood Funeral Home
5750 HWY 277 South
Abilene, TX  79606
Sunday, February 15, 2009
2:00 to 4:00 PM
Map & Directions  Map & Directions

Elmwood Memorial Park
5750 HWY 277 South
Abilene, TX  79606
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Kenneth R. Jacobs Memorial Fund
Community Foundation of Abilene
Abilene, TX  79602

Kenneth R. Jacobs, 75, died Wednesday February 11, 2009 at an Abilene, Texas medical facility. He was born July 9, 1933 in Franklin, North Carolina. His parents were Floyd S. Jacobs and Wilmer M. Angel Jacobs.

Kenneth entered the army on June 20, 1950 and served for four years and one day. This was during the Korean Conflict. After he was honorably discharged, he apprenticed to become a journeyman carpenter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He worked in several cabinet shops in Iowa and Illinois.

In 1962 he married Marilyn J. Jacobs on April 28th. They were married for almost 47 years. They lived in Quincy, Illinois, Sweetwater, Texas, Lubbock, Texas and Abilene, Texas.

In 1963 he enrolled in Quincy College University in Quincy, Illinois. He graduated with a B.A. degree in history in 1967. In 1968, he took a job teaching history in the public schools in Sweetwater, Texas, and enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University in the masters degree program where he studied under the legendary Dr. Rupert N. Richardson, dean of Texas Historians.

Dr. Jacobs completed his masters at Hardin-Simmons University in 1971 and received a graduate teaching assistantship at Texas Tech University. He taught survey history classes and studied for his doctorate at Texas Tech University. In 1977 he received his doctorate in history and political science after studying under the eminent historian Dr. Earnest Wallace. In September of that year he accepted a position as assistant professor of History at Hardin-Simmons University. He was an immediate success in the classroom. The students loved his relaxed manner and the humor in his lectures. Attila, a massive tomcat, and the Big O, who could be approached about poor grades, are two characters that will live on in the memories of his students.

Dr. Jacobs was professionally active at Hardin-Simmons. He became associate editor of the West Texas Historical Yearbook in 1978. He became an editor of this journal in 1985. He held this position until his retirement at the end of the 1997-1998 school year. He was named Rupert N. Richardson professor emeritus after his retirement.

He published several articles in Texas history in professional journals, and in 1984 co-authored a book with Dr. B. W. Aston and Dr. Fain Downs, The Future Great, concerning Abilene, Texas. In 1990 Dr. Jacobs edited a new edition of a famous book by his mentor Dr. Richardson The Comanche Barrier. He held memberships in the American Historical Association, Phi Alpha Theta, The Southern Historical Association, The West Texas Historical Association and the Texas Historical Association.

During his career at Hardin-Simmons University, Dr. Jacobs received several honors. In 1986 he was named Reata man of the year. The next year the faculty voted him the Cullen Teaching Award. In 1989 the students at Hardin-Simmons named Dr. Jacobs the teacher of the year, an honor that he treasured above all others. In 1997 the All School Sing was dedicated to Dr, Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs was the original faculty sponsor the Theta Alpha Zeta fraternity.

Dr. Jacobs was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother Floyd S. Jacobs, Jr.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn and several cousins. He is also survived by his special adopted family Bryan, Elizabeth, and Luke Adams and many friends and former students.
PA visitation will be held at Elmwood Funeral Home, 5750 HWY 277 South from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009. No services will be held at this time. Graveside services will be held when he is interred in the new st1:pl


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  1. Judd Burton
    Amarillo, TX

    Words can hardly express how Dr Jacobs passing hits me. Only recently did I hear about his death. He was a true teacher, a respected scholar, and a wonderful man. I enjoyed his classes and his friendship while at HSU. I will miss him dearly. My condolences to the family. Godspeed Dr. J.

    Judd Burton

  2. Larry Holmes, Jr.
    Vernon, TX

    Oh the memories of Dr. J It has been 30 years since I was enrolled in several of his classes but I remember them like it was yesterday. One of the Greats has moved on a different journey and he is missed terribly.

  3. matt wagner
    sacramneto, CA

    We will all remember him as a wonderful person and a family member to all he knew. Elizabeth my sister loves him and will miss him greatly.

  4. Jennifer Scott Jordan
    Abilene, TX

    Dr. Jacobs was a wonderful man. He will be truly missed by many. I am thankful that I had the privilege of being one of his students.

  5. DAnna Bingaman Smith
    Abilene, TX


    Ken was one of my favorite professors at HSU. I have told both of my sons stories of his wonderful classroom manner. I will never forget the tales of Attilla the Attack Cat and his oftasked question to his class in the midst of his lectures, Criticisms Witicisms I will always remember him fondly. May God comfort you during the days ahead.

  6. Jeff Brokovich
    Abilene, TX


    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Im having trouble coming up with words here, but know that you and Ken touched my heart and that Im forever grateful.

  7. Marcia Netzley
    Madera, CA

    My thoughts are prayers are with you at this difficult time. I will always remember how fun it was to have you and Ken living across the street. I will never forget how vocal Ken would get during a football game. He was more fun than the game.

    Marcia Edwards Netzley

  8. Audrey Kaiser
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL

    You know that you and Ken have been my dearest friends for decades. I love you both and I am devastated by this news. I have so many fond memories of our outings by the lake. Thanks to both you and Ken for helping me to grow up and for being my friend all these years. All my prayers are with you now. Much love. Audrey

  9. Linda Rea
    Wichita Falls, TX

    What a wonderful man full of dignity, intelligence and grace. Dr. J. and his beloved Marilyn have contributed beyond measure to those around them and beyond. He will be remembered.

  10. John and Laurie Briner
    Great Falls, MT

    We both have many fond memories of Dr J....what a wonderful teacher and mentor. He will be greatly missed

  11. Bryan and Elizabeth Adams
    Houston, TX

    We miss you already, Dr. J. Thank you for blessing our lives in so many ways.

  12. Maria Carducci
    abilene, TX

    With all my love to you. maria

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