Thomas "Tom" Jacobs

Obituary of Thomas "Tom" L. Jacobs

Thomas Lee Jacobs, 73, a long-time resident of Iowa City passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Tom was born on December 7, 1946 to Frank and Alma Jacobs in Ames, Iowa. Tom was the oldest of his siblings (Lynn, Ginger, Frances and Jerry). Tom attended and graduated from United Community High School near Boone, IA. Tom was also a graduate of the University of Iowa and a proud Hawkeye. The most important thing in Tom’s life was his family and friends. Tom married his beloved Francine in 1989 and was a proud father (Josh, Kurt, Kelly, Kim and Terry) and grandpa (Taylor & Karley), brother, uncle and great grandpa. Tom also greatly enjoyed all the time he spent with his large extended family. Tom began his career at the University of Iowa in 1974 and spent most of his career in the Facilities Management Department in the Power Plant. Over the years, he worked as Assistant Chief Operator, Chief Operator and finally, Water Systems Operator. He retired after more than 35 years of service to the University. Throughout his entire career at the University, Tom was an active union member, including a stint as President of AFSCME Local 12 from 1978-1980. He served as a union steward from 1975 until he retired and was on the committee that negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement with the University and the State of Iowa. Additionally, Tom was the co-chair of the skilled trades sub-committee of the Iowa Board of Regents, Comparable Worth Committee. This committee worked in 1985 and 1986 to develop policies to ensure equal pay for equal work; Tom often noted this as one of his proudest achievements. He also served on the committee that created the UI Faculty & Staff Services/Employee Assistance Program and one of the committees that interviewed future University President, Mary Sue Coleman. Tom’s proudest memories with the University involve representing employees as a union steward, his involvement in collective bargaining and helping the Power Plant get through emergency situations. After retirement, Tom spent much of his free time attending family, union, democratic and political campaign events and rallies where he captured countless memories and photos with his beloved camera. He never missed a great photo opportunity (friends often referred to himself as the progressive paparazzi) and captured more than 300,000 photos. He was always proud to share his photos with all. We were especially proud to hear Tom was recently notified a few of his campaign photos will appear in the Obama Presidential Library. Additionally, Tom loved to travel with his family and friends and went on many memorable vacations to California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada and South Dakota. Tom was an amazing husband, father, brother, grandpa, uncle, friend, union steward and activist. Tom’s family and friends will be forever thankful to have had him in their lives. We know Tom’s memory will forever live on through his many photos and all the things and activist work he loved doing to better the lives of others. A visitation will be held from 1-2 p.m., on Saturday, February 15, 2020, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service. If you wish to donate in Tom’s memory, two organizations he proudly supported were Emily’s List and the Southern Poverty Law Center.