Liberal, KS

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Gerald Elmer Jacobs

Joe Denoyer - August 26, 2022 3:34 pm

Gerald Elmer Jacobs, 86, longtime resident of Plains, KS, passed away August 24 after a brief illness. Gerald, the son of Peter Jacobs and Felicitas Herrman Jacobs, was born in Plains where he was raised on the family farm along with his five siblings. This is where he learned his incredible work ethic. Gerald was an accomplished 3-sport athlete, a member of an undefeated football team, and earned multiple State gold medals in track & field. He graduated from Plains High School in 1956. He chose to forgo a college football scholarship offer in order to help his father, who was suffering from cancer, on the farm while also working at Beach Aircraft in Liberal. A vehicle enthusiast, this was when he purchased his first new car, a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500, which, regrettably, he was unable to keep long after realizing his $1.25 per hour pay meant an entire paycheck went to the car payment! He often lamented his sadness about not being able to keep that car.

Gerald married Lela Mae Baalman on August 30, 1958 in Dodge City, Kansas whom he met through his brother, Cap, who was married to Mae’s sister, Jeanie. Shortly after, Gerald’s father passed away, so he helped his mother by continuing to farm her land. This was one of many examples of his work ethic and generosity. To support his own family, he took on multiple odd jobs including installing water lines for the City of Plains, rolling discs for Glen Jones, loading grain for Collingwood, leveling ground with Ted Dreitz, custom cutting with Kyle Coats, farmed for Garrel Packard, and working the night shift on an irrigation well-drilling rig. In 1966, with the development of irrigation, Gerald became a full-time farmer and rancher. Working was his true passion and only hobby, constantly checking irrigation water and tending crops in the summer, and running wheat-pasture cattle in the winter. Additionally, he served on numerous boards, including the USD 483 school board from 1974 to 1985. He was a devout Catholic—a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.

Gerald and Mae raised four children and somehow managed to never miss a single sporting event or activity. In 1993, they retired and moved to Dodge City. However, Gerald wasn’t suited for retirement, so he split his time between Dodge City and Plains, helping his son who had taken over the family farm. Gerald was very involved in his 10 grandchildren’s lives and enjoyed attending their activities. In 2017, he fully retired to care for Mae as her health declined.

Gerald is survived by his wife, Mae, of Wichita, KS; his four children: Lori Fleming and husband Rich of Copeland, Kansas; Rhonda Cook and husband Dave of Parker, Arizona; Shawn Jacobs and wife Kathy of Plains; and Dana Handy and husband Jerrod of Wichita, Kansas; his 10 grandchildren: Cami Faust and husband Mike of Houston, TX; Brendon Cook and wife April of Flagstaff, AZ; Taly Thiessen and husband Mark of Houston, TX; Savannah Downing and husband Marc of Ellis, KS; Brandi Gomez and husband John of Lake Havasu City, AZ; Rani Simon and husband Bryce of Lakin, KS; Deni Thill and husband Nolan of Garden City, KS; Rebi Ross and husband Kelby of Plains, KS; Daley Handy of Independence, KS; and Jacey Handy of Denver, CO; 21 great-grandchildren and two siblings: Alice Preedy of Keiser, OR and Dennis Jacobs and wife Wendy of Rogersville, TN. Gerald was preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, Aaron Marx; two brothers, Melvin and Casper Jacobs; and one sister, Eileen Dreher.

Visitation will be Friday, September 2 from 9 am—3 pm at Fidler-Orme-Bachman Mortuary in Meade, KS. The vigil and celebration of Gerald’s life will be Friday, September 2 at 6 p.m. and the funeral Mass will be Saturday, September 3 at 10 a.m., both at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Plains. Memorials to Catholic Charities.

 
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