Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Kathleen Cecilia Jacobson's memorial
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Kathleen Cecilia Jacobson
April 15, 1937-June 25, 2022
Atherton, California

Kathleen Cecilia Jacobson April 15, 1937 - June 25, 2022

Kathleen Cecilia Jacobson lost her valiant battle with cancer, passing away peacefully on June 25, 2022, embraced in love by her husband Ron and children, Will and Marie. In a full testament to her longtime love, Kathy left this world on the same day she married her beloved husband Ron, sixty years to the day, in 1962. Kathy was love and light and all things beautiful and good. She lived a life so full, so honorable, and so decorated, yet she was defined by her humility, beauty and grace every step of the way.

Kathleen was born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital on April 15, 1937, the first of five children by her loving parents, Dr. William Niemeyer and Mary Chalmers. Kathy and her family moved to Vancouver, WA during World War II, but Kathy’s fragile health meant moving to Saugus, CA, to live with her grandparents. Reunited with her parents after the War, Kathy attended Cathedral Preparatory Elementary School in Los Angeles, graduated from Dorsey High School in 1955, and attended the University Of Southern California from 1955-1959.

Kathy was a natural leader and gifted student who instilled great confidence and trust in her fellow peers and teachers. As a sophomore at USC, Kathy was elected President of Associated Women Students and was a member of the Mortar Board and campus-activity honor societies Amazons and Spurs. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a Junior, one of the most prestigious honor societies reserved for the nation’s top academic performers and staunch student advocates of the liberal arts. The same year she was elected Panhellenic President and played a prominent role in Phi Kappa Phi - the national scholastic honorary society. In 1959, her Senior year, Kathy received the Pi Beta Phi national award for the sorority’s most outstanding member among the 104 national chapters, was named Helen of Troy, and was awarded the Town and Gown honor for Outstanding Senior Woman at USC. Kathy’s mentor and dear friend Joan Schaefer, Dean of Women Students at USC, said Kathy ‘exemplified the highest values of leadership, scholarship, and service possible in our universities today.’ While Kathy was proud of her student and community accomplishments, she spoke most of her enduring friendships with her Pi Phi sisters, her admiration for education, and her aspirations to live a life of integrity and service.

Interviewed upon graduation by The Mirror News, Kathy was asked about her intention to marry. She was hoping to find a husband but had big plans to teach and make an impact on the world. And if there were a man out there for her, she would want him to be ‘intelligent, compassionate, and with strong ethical standards.’ She found just that when she met Ron Jacobson on a blind date in May 1960. While their affection for each other was immediate, Mom set off for a European adventure with her girlfriends in the summer of 1960 but returned to Ron and eventually married in 1962. They left their native Southern California for San Francisco, where they settled in Sausalito, then Tiburon, where Kathy continued teaching at the Sausalito School District. They soon welcomed their first child, William Francis, on May 27, 1963, and moved to Mill Valley, where Kathy thrived as a new wife and mother. In 1969, they welcomed their baby daughter Marie Christine into the world, and in 1971, they moved to Atherton, CA, where Mom and Dad immediately joined the Church of the Nativity parish and began to build their family’s life in the Bay Area. Kathy enrolled at Santa Clara University, where she received her Masters in Special Education and parlayed that degree into several roles as a teacher, tutor, and advocate for children with learning disabilities. She saw the potential in every child, the rewards in pulling children up and enabling their many gifts. Kathy made a lasting mark not only on her husband and children but on the legions of kids she taught along the way at Stanford Speech and Language Clinic, Las Lomitas School District, and private practice.

Kathy enjoyed summers in Lake Tahoe for 25 years, often seen slalom waterskiing on icy blue waters behind her eponymous ski boat, the KCJ. Kathy and Ron sold their Tahoe home in 2000 and moved to Pebble Beach, where they often frequented for nearly 15 idyllic years. Long walks, ocean mist, and together time characterize a beautiful chapter in Kathy and Ron’s long and loving life together.

Kathy was a co-founding member of her cherished Book Club, which she was an active participant in for nearly 50 years. She absolutely loved flowers of all kinds, roses in particular, sharing that love as a docent at Filoli Gardens for several years.

Kathy was love and family personified, and she will be dearly missed. She is survived by her beloved husband Ron and two children, Will and Marie; her five grandchildren she loved so much, Sophie, Owen, and Gemma Larbalestier and Luke and Ryan Jacobson; her daughter-in-law Karen Jacobson; her son-in-law Geoff Larbalestier; her sweet sisters Mary Lynn Turner and Elizabeth Dolan; and her brother Don Niemeyer. Kathy had a devout faith in God and sought great solace in that faith in her final months and weeks of life. She was selfless to the core and wise beyond her 85 years. Kathy was pure love and will be missed more than words can say, but she will long be remembered for the indelible impact she made on those who knew her.

Tags: teacher/educator

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Memorial service
A celebration of Kathleen’s life will be held Saturday, July 9 at 11 a.m. in a funeral mass at Church of the Nativity, Menlo Park.
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In remembrance, we ask that any charitable donations be made to the USC Joan M. Schaefer Scholarship Endowment Fund Link: https://giveto.usc.edu/

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