Obituary: Former educator, Tecumseh councillor Tom Jakobszen remembered as kind father, friend

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There are no short conversations about Tom Jakobszen.


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Family, friends and former colleagues have handfuls of stories to share about the “kind and compassionate” former Tecumseh town councillor and longtime educator who died Thursday at age 77.

“I could talk about him for hours,” granddaughter Kayla Jakobszen said.

Tom Jakobszen came to Windsor in 1951 as a child leaving communist Hungary with his family. He graduated from the University of Windsor to become a geography teacher.

He started his teaching career at J.L. Forster secondary school in 1967 where he met lifelong friends Gerry Strong and Jerry Carpenter.

Both men said Jakobszen was a dedicated friend and an excellent teacher who had a way of bringing out the best in students and co-workers.

“He always encouraged students, and also teachers, to be the best they could be,” Strong said.


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“Kids were excited to get to his class, his classes would be big. He was just special,” Carpenter added. “He really lived his subject.”

Jakobszen taught for more than 30 years and retired in 1999 as principal of W.F. Herman Academy.  

He was elected as a councillor for the Town of Tecumseh, serving from 1995 to 1997, and also serving as chairman of the town’s business improvement area.

His family said Jakobszen was always an athlete. He coached football and track and field, taking student athletes to Ontario championships and working with the Windsor Spitfires as an education consultant.

Throughout it all, Jane Jakobszen was Tom’s constant companion and wife of 53 years.

The pair met at a Sunday night dance at the former Teutonia Club. Tom later told his family he knew that night he’d marry Jane. Five years later, they did marry.


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“I saw him in every light,” Jane said. “I could not have asked for anyone better.”

After retiring from teaching, Jakobszen worked as a real estate agent and started his second career in what his family said was his “dream job” as a tour guide.

“He just wanted to see people enjoy life, have fun and have people face their fears and have new experiences,” said daughter Jennifer Mulhall.

Former Tecumseh councillor and educator Tom Jakobszen died on Oct. 21 at the age of 77.
Former Tecumseh councillor and educator Tom Jakobszen died on Oct. 21 at the age of 77. Photo by Handout /Windsor Star

Kayla said seeing Budapest through her grandfather’s eyes on a Grade 8 graduation trip to Hungary and Greece with her grandparents inspired her love of travel.

It was at his urging she applied for an exchange trip to Wales next year.

Jane said Tom and their many travels taught her about true compassion and kindness. He had a special connection to many friends in Cuba, she said, because of his upbringing in then-Communist Hungary. The couple visited all seven continents.


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His family, from his wife to his kids and grandkids, was the driving force in his life, everyone the Star  spoke with recounted.

“He told me, ‘I thought my life was complete when (children) Jen and Doug were born. But when my grandkids were born that’s when I knew life was complete,’” Kayla said.

Jane said she was reminded of one quote, origin unclear, when she thinks about her husband’s death: “To have grief is to have loved.”

“I would rather have this grief like this now, than never have loved him,” Jane said. “It comes once in a lifetime, a person like Tom.”

Tom Jakobszen is survived by his wife Jane; children Doug Jakobszen and   Jennifer Mulhall, granddaughters Kayla and Ava, sisters Martha and Barb, and numerous other family.

A funeral will be held on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Families First, 3260 Dougall Ave., Windsor, (519) 969-5841. Reservations and face coverings are required. In lieu of flowers, donations are gratefully accepted   to the Kidney Foundation of Canada or the Hospice of Windsor.

[email protected]


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