Dean Jacobson

July 20, 1943 - June 13, 2015
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, June 19, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A Prayer Service will be at 7 pm.

Driving Directions


Saturday, June 20, 2015
10:00 AM EDT
St. Thomas More Student Parish
421 Monroe
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 381-8917
Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan
222 N. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-0273

C/O Rose Arbor Hospice

Driving Directions
Web Site

St. Thomas More Student Parish
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a ready smile and quiet sense of humor, Dean Jacobson was a well-liked gentleman who put people at ease. His kind nature and consistent example made it easy for his children to absorb the lessons he taught them about integrity and decency. He was a man of his word and his loved ones and friends could always count on him to follow through on his promises.

Avis (Girard) Jacobson had a lot on her plate when 1943 started. World War II was tearing the globe apart, her husband was in the military and away from home, and she was expecting a child. She was living in Cleveland, Ohio, at the time and on July 20, 1943, her little bundle of boy arrived. She decided to take baby Dean back to her hometown of Cheboygan, Michigan, and waited anxiously for Carlton to come home. Carlton was finally able to see his son once the war was over in 1945.

The Jacobsons stayed in Cheboygan. Carlton was a salesman for Iron Fireman Heating and AC and Avis managed the home. One of Dean’s fondest childhood memories was watching the construction of the Mackinac Bridge which lasted from 1954 through 1957. Dean went to Catholic Elementary and then to Cheboygan High School where he played football and skied on the ski team. He loved drag racing and muscle cars from an early age, a fascination he kept all his life. He graduated with the class of 1961.

After high school, Dean attended Ferris Institute, currently known as Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, Michigan. He was a member of Delta Sigma Phi, but he got a lot more than an education from his college experience. Dean met a young lady there who dated his roommate. Her name was Theresa Pierson and Dean spent quite a bit of time thinking about her. Eventually he asked her out and she accepted. He sent her roses before their first date. They went tobogganing, and the rest, as they say, is history.

On July 4, 1964, Dean and Theresa exchanged vows at Holy Family Catholic Church in Decatur. In later years, they would joke that when they got married, Theresa gained her independence and he lost his. In reality, they spent the next fifty years working together to build a safe, loving home for each other and their growing family.

Dean worked as a journeyman tool and die maker at General Motors. He had always been mechanically inclined and was detail oriented. He took pride in a job well done and often worked six or seven days a week. He was usually on second or third shift, so it wasn’t uncommon for him to catnap during the day. If anyone caught him, he’d say, “I’m just resting my eyes.” The whole family looked forward to the two-week annual shut down at GM that usually coincided with summer vacations. Dean got some time off and it gave them a chance to vacation together. They sometimes traveled to an amusement park or once in a while to Florida. The time together was special to all of them. Dean retired from GM in 2008 after thirty-one years.

He had always taken pride in his work, but Dean’s greatest joy was in his children and grandchildren. He worked diligently to pass on his values of honesty and integrity in their dealings with others and taught them how to be responsible and independent. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and was always supportive of them, making sure that they knew he was proud of both their efforts and their accomplishments.

For the holidays, the family came together at Dean and Theresa’s house. Theresa did most of the gift shopping, but there were always special presents from Dean. Wrapped in brown paper sacks, his gifts were the last to be opened and remembered for the longest. It was always a joy for Dean when all the kids and grandkids came over. One sweet occasion was when he and Theresa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Mackinac Island and the whole family was able to join them.

Dean persisted in his love of racing all of his life. He belonged to the Buick Gran Sport Club of America and spent a lot of his spare time working on his 1970 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1 with a 455 engine. In 2014, he ran her in his last race on the same track he had first raced fifty years earlier. It was a special time for him and his family. In 2012, his son Joe surprised him with a trip to the St. Louis drag strip where he got to ride in a dragster.

Besides working on his car, Dean enjoyed going to the movies and visiting Joe’s cabin. At one point, he liked to run and participated in 10k races. He was intrigued by military history and had recently started studying his own family’s genealogy. He liked animals and had two cats, Tiger and Boots. Dean was a parishioner at St. Thomas More and served as a member of the Knights of Columbus. He liked to read and enjoyed sharing what he learned, sometimes cutting out newspaper articles and sending them to the kids.

Dean struggled with prostate cancer for eleven years. His quiet courage and perseverance through trials was an example and source of strength for his family. He consistently demonstrated his love for them and was proud of each one of them. They will miss him beyond words, but he has left them with an enduring example of hard work, integrity, and love.

Dean died on Saturday, June 13, 2015, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Members of his family include his wife Theresa; three children: Joseph (Karen) Jacobson, Stephen (Melissa) Jacobson, and Gretchen (Andrew) Parsons; and eight grandchildren: Andrew, Megan, Ryan, Lynnea, Evan and William Jacobson, and Emma and Ainsley Parsons. He was preceded in death by two children, James and Carrie Jacobson, and his parents.

Learn more about Dean and visit with his family and friends from 5-8 pm on Friday, June 19, 2015, at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler - Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr. (375-2900), where a Prayer Service will be held at 7 pm that evening. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 am on Saturday, June 20, 2015, at St. Thomas More Student Parish, 421 Monroe St., Kalamazoo. Burial will take place in the Keeler Cemetery. Please visit Dean’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice or St. Thomas More Student Parish.