Francis Michael Jacobius MD, passed away peacefully on September 19th at Novant Health in Winston Salem NC surrounded by family. Mike was coherent to the end and the family was able to say their goodbyes and reminisce with Mike throughout the day.
Mike was 85 years old and is survived by his wife Christa of Winston Salem NC, their two sons David (Kelly), of Pfafftown NC and Daniel (Rhonda), of Carmel NY. Mike has two adult grandchildren, Allie (Matthew), of Tigard OR and Joshua, of Los Angeles CA.
Dad was born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt an Main Germany on March 1st, 1938, to Hans and Margaret Jacobius. He entered the world at a time Germany was being transformed by virulent antisemitic Nazism. On Kristallnacht 1938, his father Hans was taken from their home by the Nazi authorities and died six weeks later in Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Weimer Germany. Mike was only eight months old. After his father’s death, he and his mother fled Germany allowed only one trunk of personal belongings, some of which the family still has today. As war refugees, they emigrated to NYC where dad was raised by his lifelong grieving Mother and his Paternal Grandmother. These events were transcendent events in Mike’s life.
Mike graduated from the Bronx High School of Science at 16, then City College of New York at 20. He originally wanted to be an agronomist; go to Israel and help the country agriculturally flourish. One week of working on a farm motivated a change of heart. Dad pivoted to Medicine and went to medical school in Basel, Switzerland where he had the great fortune of meeting his future wife, Christa. They married and had their first child, David while in medical school. Upon graduation they moved to the United States were dad completed his training in various hospitals in NYC Metro area. Their second child Daniel was born during this period.
Mike’s original medical focus was internal medicine taking various opportunities to assist the less fortunate. He spent a year working in Sing Sing prison as a prison doctor; two years in Oklahoma working for the Indian Health Service serving the Native Americans of the Choctaw nation. In that role he was a jack of all trades doctor, and he was fond of telling us he delivered over 80 babies and the mothers of many of the baby girls named their daughters after his wife Christa, as thanks. In 1971, the family moved back to the NY Metro area locating in North Salem NY. He continued his medical practice working for and supporting clinicals for underprivileged residents of NY. In 1978, he started working on his Board Certifications for Emergency Medicine and focused the next stage of his medical career towards Emergency Medicine; he had a flair for the organizational and operational components of medical institutions and quickly became the Emergency Room Director first for Lawrence Hospital and later White Plains Medical Center where he worked until his retirement in 1998. He was beloved by his staffs and was known to provide festive meals during the holidays or cover shifts to allow his physician to be home with their family for a holiday. On the side he was intrinsically involved with the State of NY developing consistent standards and procedures for the state regarding emergency medicine and first responders.
Dad was a tough soul, being 5’5” feet tall, you thought he was 6’5”. He had a tremendous and rigorous intellect, and he could be intimidating at times. He was a natural leader and in almost every endeavor he was associated with he became one of the leaders in short order. He was a wonderful father and grandfather. He and David loved history and books as the foundation of their friendship. Dan and dad bonded through fishing and did many fishing trips together. He was so very proud of Allie and Josh. They were able to be with him on his last day and his eyes lit up when they walked into his room; both arriving from the West Coast that morning. He always gave them great advice and the laughter and sharing everyone had with Mike on his final day will be etched into our hearts. His wife of 62 years, Christa, spent the previous night at his bedside which reminded us all how the sum of their lives together was so enriched by their union. They shared music, books, film, food, and travel together. They were both invested in their children and grandchildren. They were both active with volunteerism, neither could have accomplished as much without the other. One of his last volunteering projects was his leadership involvement in the restoration of the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station at the Outer Banks NC, at the site there is a plaque commemorating his participation in the restoration.
Outside of work dad was copious reader, lover of classical music, film buff, passionate about nature and wildlife and a lifelong learner. He loved opera and birdwatching. He built a large collection of films from around the world which he recently donated to his assisted living residence at Harmony at Brookberry Farm. In film, literature, music, and history he focused trying to understand how and why people treated other people as they did. It was a lifelong quest that we believe was driven by the why and how of the loss of his father.
Finally, Mike believed in young people, they were the future and he wanted to impart as much wisdom, understanding, and thirst for knowledge as possible. One of his favorite authors was J.R.R Tolkien, he read the Hobbit out loud to the family at dinner. Tolkien had quote that we believe is our story going forward “Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story. Said Bilbo Baggins.”
The story of your life continues, may you rest in peace.
In Lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to either: Hope of Winston Salem 355 NW Crawford Place, Winston Salem NC at www.hopews.org or International Rescue Committee (IRC) at email@example.com
Online condolences may be made at https://www.hayworth-miller.com/obituaries/francis-jacobius.