In celebration of Dennis R. Jacobs
"I am not always the 'me' I wish myself to be....But I am always the 'me' that I am."
-- Dennis R. Jacobs, August 1996
Dr. Dennis Raymond Jacobs of Yellow Springs died in an airplane crash on Sunday, June 16. He was 65 years of age.
Born Jan. 1, 1937, in Detroit, he was the son of Frederick and Beatrice Williams Jacobs. He was a graduate of Cass Technical High School. He graduated from the University of Detroit in the mid-1960s with a degree in mechanical/aeronautical engineering.
Dennis met Deloria Louise Barnett in 1955. Four years later the high school sweethearts married. In 1966 they moved to Ohio, where he was employed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base as an aerospace engineer. After five years at the base he gained the experience and test results to become a licensed professional engineer in Ohio.
His desire to change careers inspired him to return to school to pursue a degree in optometry. He graduated with a doctor of optometry degree from Ohio State University in 1975. In 1989, he took graduate-level classes in ocular therapeutics at Ferris State University. During his career he practiced optometry throughout Ohio.
His varied careers were mainly a means to an end, for Dennis' true passion was flying. He began taking flying lessons as a teenager and obtained his private pilot's license. In fact, Deloria was his first passenger. He also held a commercial multi-engine license with an instrument rating in airplane and helicopter.
Dennis became interested in home-built experimental aircraft in the 1960s. His first airplane was a Jurca Tempete, which took 12 years to build. His second airplane was a delta wing, rear engine design called a Veri Viggen, which took 16 years to build. For the last five years he had been working on another plane, a Barracuda.
When he was 40 he was accepted into helicopter training and was the oldest pilot candidate in his class at Fort Rucker, Ala. Upon graduation he returned to the Reserves, where he flew Hueys, then transferred to the Ohio Army National Guard, where he flew Cobras. At the time he was a 43-year-old captain. He retired from the National Guard at 60 with over 2,000 hours of rotary wing time.
Dennis can best be described as creative, inventive and eclectic. He was a devoted and loving husband and father, as well as a loyal friend.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Deloria; his two daughters, Diane and Denise; a sister-in law, Carolyn Lockard; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Robbie and Willie Lowe; his nephew, Carlton Lockard, and his family; and a host of aunts, cousins and friends.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate Dennis' life on Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m., in the Glen Helen Building, 405 Corry Street. A potluck will follow. In lieu of flowers, gifts, donations, and contributions may be sent to the Yellow Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Dennis Jacobs Memorial Fund.
last updated: 21 June 2002 by Denise R. Jacobs