William Henry Jacobson, Jr. passed from this life on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. He was the first child of William Henry Jacobson and Texie Lee Garrett Jacobson, born May 4, 1932 in York County, Virginia. He was the brother of Shirley Lee Stout (Jerry).
In 1942 Bill was confirmed at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. In his youth Bill enjoyed exploring, hunting and fishing, and interacting with his extended family. Bill attended Matthew Whaley High School in Williamsburg Virginia and played on the school’s baseball team before graduating in 1950. Bill’s adventurous spirit led him to hitchhike to Wisconsin where he studied at The Milwaukee School of Engineering. He later transferred to Oklahoma A&M University in Stillwater. Bill temporarily paused his college education to join the Army and serve as a Specialist Third Class at the 121st Evac Hospital in Korea.
On Sunday, October 30, 1955 at Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Bill married Betty Arnold Hedrick. With Betty, Bill returned to Stillwater to complete a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at Oklahoma A&M in 1956. Upon graduation from college, he moved to Arlington, Virginia to begin his career at Melpar where he led the team that built flight simulators for Douglas A-4 military jets. Later, at Research Analysis Corporation (RAC), Bill distinguished himself as a civilian advisor to General Alfred Starbird, Director of the Defense Communications Agency and Commander of Joint Task Force 728. Bill thrived as a defense industry System Analyst at Science Applications Incorporated (SAI). He cofounded McLean Research Corporation (MRC) and served as its Treasurer. He also worked at Harris Corporation and at The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC); whatever he did in those roles remains confidential.
Bill was an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia where he served one year as a Deacon before he was unanimously elected Chairman of the (32 member) Board of Deacons in 1966. His initiatives transformed the church campus and the next year he became an Elder. Later, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon, Virginia he served on a Pulpit Nominating Committee.
Bill’s true loves were his wife and his family. Bill’s marriage to Betty Hedrick Jacobson (deceased) lasted 63 years. He was the devoted father of five children: William Henry Jacobson III (Lani); Susan Elizabeth Milich (Glenn, deceased); Valerie Jacobson Ainsworth (Scott); Ellen Lynne Jacobson; and Curtis Haldane Jacobson (Lisa). He was the fun and loving grandfather of eight grandchildren: Katherine Ainsworth Crowgey (Michael), Richard Haldane Jacobson, Glenn Ellen Milich (Lilias), Brian Scott Ainsworth, Cecily Melissa Jacobson, Garrett Evan Milich, Susanna Elizabeth Jacobson, and Eleanor Margaret Jacobson. A lover of music and theatre, Bill travelled widely to see the world and enjoy performances of his children, grandchildren, niece, and friends. Following Betty’s death, Bill formed a special friendship with Shirley Austin.
There was no home improvement project or automotive repair Bill couldn’t complete for himself. He designed and built a beautiful house in Herndon, where the family lived for 47 years. In 1998 Bill configured and built his own Ultralight aircraft, which he enjoyed flying with his granddaughter Katherine and best friend Jim (a.k.a. James Andrew Gottschalk). Bill rode motorcycles cross-country to 47 states and several Canadian provinces with his son, Curtis. His daughter Valerie famously fell asleep as Bill’s motorcycle passenger on many trips with him. Bill and son William enjoyed hiking in Wyoming. Susan convinced Bill & Betty to make their first trip abroad to France. Ellen delighted at being with her dad at every sort of live performance.
Bill’s imagination, sense of adventure, problem-solving mind, and creative spirit inspire his family and friends. Bill once said, “There is no reason to ever be bored as long as one has an imagination.” These themes are paralleled by a passage from one of his favorite books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. “There’s a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!”
The family is deferring plans for a celebration of life. Bill will be interred with his wife Betty’s ashes at New Lebanon Cemetery, Pickaway, WV. In Bill’s memory, give your gifts of love generously, listen and play your music loud, make beautiful art and share, learn, grow, and love unconditionally.