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In Memory of . . . Donald J. Jacobsen, Sr. (1927-2013)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Rev. Donald J. Jacobsen, Sr. died on January 6, 2013 at the age of 85.

Rev. Jacobsen was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 17, 1927 to Mina and Frederick Jacobsen. He attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College in 1950. In 1952, he went on to earn a Master of Arts from Columbia University. Finally, he received his Master of Divinity from St. Lawrence Theological School in 1955.

Rev. Jacobsen was ordained at the Unitarian Church of Fort Worth, TX on October 18, 1955. He was first called to serve the Unitarian Church of Fort Worth in 1955 and he stayed there until 1957. From 1962-1965, he served the Neighborhood Church of Pasadena, CA as their Minister of Education. He was then called to the First Universalist Society of Chicago, IL and served as their minister from 1954-1970. Lastly, from 1970 until his retirement in 1987, he served as Minister of Education to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, GA.

Proudly dedicated to the denomination, Rev. Jacobsen was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association (UUMA), the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA), the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation (UUWF), the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), and the friends of Religious Humanism FRH). He also served as Chairman of the Social Responsibility Committee of the Central Midwest District.

Throughout his life, Rev. Jacobsen played an active role in the civil rights struggle. He worked as a volunteer with the NAACP and the American Friends Service Committee Job Opportunities Program; and served as the Chicago Area Coordinator for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He was also a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

In addition to his ministerial career, Rev. Jacobsen taught elementary school, worked in psychiatric hospitals, and served in the Hospital Corps of the United States Navy.

In an autobiographical piece entitled, "Religious Odyssey,” Rev. Jacobsen writes:

What is important for me religiously is intelligent caring concern – attempting to love more fully and more helpfully to empower others to fulfill themselves, and to attempt to find ways where this kind of caring becomes more of a force in our congregation, in our community, in our nation, and in our world.

Rev. Jacobsen is survived by his wife, Ann Ehrlich; daughter, Karen Jacobsen-Mispagel; son, James Jacobsen; and grandchildren, Heather Mispagel Ganio, Benjamin Mispagel, and Elizabeth Jacobsen. His son, Donald Jacobsen, Jr., predeceased him.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Dr. Karen Jacobsen-Mispagel at 1120 Cherokee Circle, Athens, GA 30606.

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