Robert and Leola ז״ל Jacobson

Robert and Leola ז״ל Jacobson

I am an Elizabeth, NJ native. My neighbors included Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security. Michael's father was our conservative Rabbi. Our family attended the conservative and reform shuls. Mom lighting Shabbat candles, Hebrew school, and my Bar Mitzvah helped instill my lifelong Jewish values. Mom was an emergency room nurse. Dad was city recreation director and baseball scout for Detroit Tigers. My brother made Aliyah after graduation from Hofstra University. He has lived in Ashkelon since 1976 with his wife and three children.

After receiving a B.A. in business from Florida Southern College, Lakeland, I earned an M.E. in sports administration at Ohio University, Athens. In 1973, Hess Oil hired college graduates to monitor customer deliveries during the oil embargo. The starting salary was $10,000, an opportunity I could not miss. Dad reminded me I could pursue sports if a business career was unsuccessful. Relocating to Charlotte in 1975, I remained with Hess Oil until starting a new career in 1985 with The Bond Exchange as a surety bond underwriter. I retired in 2013 and now spend time volunteering at elementary schools, Levine-Sklut Judaic Library, and Carriage Club.

Leigh was a Milwaukee native. Her Mom was a business woman. Her Dad was a Mobil Oil International executive. Leigh earned her B.A. in sociology at Mount Mary University, Milwaukee. She was a mortgage underwriter and champion amateur golfer. Leigh's second career was as a fitness instructor. Leigh was proud of her six-year role at LJCC as an Oasis exercise instructor. Additionally, she volunteered at an elementary school, Temple Israel, and as an HOA board member.

Leigh never really identified with her Catholic roots. The more she studied Judaism, the more it spoke to her. When Leigh and I married in 2008, Leigh was already Jewish. We enjoyed Temple Beth El and Temple Israel services. Leigh was very proud of her Jewish faith. I still attend both synagogues.

Leigh and I wanted to give back to a Jewish community that had been good to us. Volunteering was important, but we wanted to do more and help sustain future generations. We became Federation legacy donors. Leigh passed away in 2017, possibly without knowing the number of lives she had impacted. The Leigh Jacobson Endowment was established to benefit the Oasis exercise program. Contributions to the endowment are always welcomed and greatly appreciated. Along with Leigh's legacy, I shall always be engaged in this wonderful community we're all proud to call home!

Back to Index