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Roger D. Jacobson, 91, of Kewanee, IL, completed his earthly assignment and left for Heaven, after a short illness, on Saturday, December 30, 2023, at OSF Saint Anthony’s Medical Center, Rockford, IL surrounded by his children.
Roger was born on October 25th, 1932, in Monroe, WI, the son of Steve and Anna (Nesheim) Jacobson.
Raised on his family’s farm near Blanchardville, Wisconsin, as a youth Roger attended a one-room schoolhouse up the road from their farm, and then went on to study at Blanchardville High School, graduating with the class of 1950, and later obtained his Associate’s Degree in Industrial Management from Lincoln Institute.
In 1951, Roger moved to Rockford IL where he worked as a telegraph agent for the Railroad. There he met a sweet carhop at Steak & Shake, then dated/courted and later married the love of his life, Clara Hanna on April 2, 1955, at the Evangelical Free Church in Rockford. Their love story spanned almost seven decades and many seasons of life. Roger tenderly loved and selflessly cared for his precious wife Clara until her sudden death on December 1, 2023.
Roger was truly a family man who loved his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren with all his heart. He is survived by: his three children, Rogene (John) Brick, Rockford, IL, Ronda (Brooks) Warren, Monee, IL, Steven (Jackie) Jacobson, Dewey, IL; four grandchildren Malachi (Abbey) Brick, Robert Warren, Skye White (formerly Hanna Warren) (Ryan Ballard), Austin Jacobson; three great grandchildren, Maia and Zanna Brick; and Ronin Ballard; sister Judy Kerr, brother Jeron Jacobson (Ranee), and many precious cousins, nieces, and nephews and their children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Steve and Anna; his wife, Clara; his two older brothers and their wives: Art (Peggy) and Earling (Marie) Jacobson; Don Kerr (his brother-in-law), niece Nancy Lundquist (Gary), nephew (Steve Franzen) and nephew Brad Kerr.
All who met or spent time with Roger, know him as a friendly, kind, caring, steady, genuine, gentle and Godly man. Roger accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior as a young man, which began his lifelong devotion to and relationship with God and greatly impacted every area of his life. Through the years he was known for his absolute honesty, integrity, proven ability, bravery and determination, much of which was fueled by his desire to live his life for God. When his children were young, Roger and his wife adopted a daily discipline where Roger led family devotions at the dinner table each evening. This set a clear example for his three children of the importance of daily devotions, prayer and Bible reading, which continued throughout his life.
Roger excelled in leadership. Through his adult life, he was a church trustee, headed up pastoral search committees and served as church vice chairman and chairman many times for Kewanee’s Evangelical Covenant Church. In 1966, his Pastor Rev. Bud Palmberg preached a sermon titled “Christian’s Should Get Involved in Politics” and then directly spoke to Roger, citing his gifts and skills, encouraging him to join him and run for local political office. So, he did just that; and even as a virtual unknown contender, Roger won his first election in 1967 by an amazing seven votes and went on to faithfully serve the people of Kewanee as a city commissioner for 16 years.
Roger served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. He also worked for Burlington Northern Railroad in Rochelle, IL which led his young family to settle in Kewanee, IL. And later in 1967, as the railroad planned to transfer him again, he opted to honor his commitment to the city council he had just been elected to and began working for Hyster/Compaction American/BOMAG as a purchasing agent and a buyer until he retired in 1998.
A few years later, Roger blessed Clara with her dream come true: a home in Florida. After that, they spent the majority of their retirement years wintering in their sunny Lakeland home, enjoying their church home there, Lakeland First United Methodist Church; as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Busch Gardens, seeing family and friends in Florida, and all along the way on each road trip back and forth. Their time in Florida brought them such great joy.
Roger also loved sports from an early age and played football and basketball in high school. Later, as an adult, he was described as a ‘kid magnet’ when the neighborhood kids often called him out to play basketball and other sports with them and his own children. He was a member of Lake Château/40 & 8 Club (a veteran’s organization) in Annawan where the family went to swim and boat on the summer weekends for years. He also enjoyed and excelled at water skiing. Roger was an avid Cubs, Packers, Badgers, and Illini Basketball fan and loved to discuss and watch all those games!
Roger also had the privilege of going on a distinctive military Honor Flight to Washington, DC in September of 2019, which was such a great experience! The family is so grateful to those who organize and donate to make that program available to our veterans.
The family would like to personally thank their across the street neighbors who watched the house through the years, mowed the lawn and cleared snow from the driveway, as well as Roger and Clara’s longtime general practitioner who also lived right next door for almost 20 years as her family was growing up, the caring physical therapists, and all the dear ones who helped the family support their Dad with a few weekly meals, light housework and warm fellowship so Roger could focus on his heart’s desire: caring for their Mother.
Roger was a people person who “never met a stranger”. People of all ages from all walks of life loved him. He was welcoming and warm and had a unique way of making each person feel special. Roger’s presence will be greatly missed here on Earth; but Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain. “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Visitation will be from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, Saturday, January 27, 2024, at the First Christian Church, Kewanee, IL, with the Celebration of Life following at 11:00 AM. Roger’s oldest grandson, Pastor Malachi Brick will officiate. Burial will follow the service at Evergreen Memorial Gardens. Military Rites will be accorded by the Kewanee Veterans Council. Memorials may be made to the family. They plan to use these gifts to refurbish and enhance a seating area at Kewanee’s Veteran’s Memorial Park established by Roger’s initiative years ago as City Commissioner of Parks. Please leave an online condolence for Roger’s family at www.golnickschuenemanfh.com.
To the family for refurbishing and enhancing a seating area at Kewanee’s Veteran’s Memorial Park