Leo John Jacobs
There will be a memorial service for Leo John Jacobs, 62, at the ANB/ANS Hall Saturday at 1:00pm with a potluck reception to follow. Jacobs died February 18th in Anchorage at the St. Elias Specialty Hospital of complications from a stroke suffered two months ago, his girlfriend of twelve years, Sandy Williams, said. He also had lung cancer.
Jacobs was born on June 23, 1951 at St. Anne’s Hospital in Juneau, to the late Leo Jacobs and Agnes Martha Thlunaut (Bellinger) of Haines. His father was a highly regarded master totem pole carver who worked at Alaska Indian Arts, and his mother was a cultural anthropologist. His grandmother was Chilkat blanket weaver Jennie Thlunaut. Jacobs was Kaagwaantaan of the wolf house and his Tlingit name was Neech Khuoowu.
He grew up in Haines and attended Haines schools through the 8th grade, when his younger brother Joe said he earned acclaim for a top ten score on a statewide academic achievement test. He quit shortly after that because there was more money to made set-net fishing.
As a young man he earned a living fishing commercially, used a family skiff to salvage logs that had broken free of rafts headed for area sawmills and re-sold them, and he played pool. “We’d give him what we earned, and then he’d go start a pool game and double and triple it for us,” Joe said. “ He was ambidextrous, and when his opponent was getting frustrated he’d say ‘Let’s double it and I’ll play with my left hand,’ and he was even better with it than the right.” When Jacobs was about 18 the family moved to Juneau.
There, he worked in construction, at a moving company, and for a cold storage before becoming a hazardous material removal specialist. He was a member of the Laborers Union 942.
Jacobs' sister Marianne, also of Juneau, said he had a passion for trivia and loved to watch and engage in game shows like Jeopardy, Jokers Wild, and Wheel of Fortune and, “Leo frequently had the correct answer before the contestant on tv or other people in the room did,” she said.
He also liked to cook, especially bake, and sport fish for King salmon. Joe said that after Leo retired, “If he wasn’t playing pull-tabs or home watching game shows you’d find him fishing.”
He had one son, Leo John Fawcett, and two grandchildren, Ariana and Grayson, all of Juneau. His brother Joe Jacobs lives in Haines and sisters Marianne Jacobs and Donna Bellinger live in Juneau. He also leaves Sandy Williams and numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews in Haines and Juneau.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Marianne Jacobs, 4549 Kanata Deyi, Juneau 99801.