Harry J. Jacobsen, the third of six children, was born to John H. and Gladys M. (Johnson) Jacobsen at the family farm in Gates in Custer County April 25, 1925. He passed quietly April 9, 2018, at Pioneer Manor in Hay Springs, with his loving wife at his side.
Harry grew up in Custer County and attended Gates Grade School and graduated from Broken Bow High School in 1943.
In 1943,at the age of 17, World War II was the era that consumed the world and Harry signed up to join the armed services. His dad was unwilling to sign the papers, so Harry waited and was soon drafted. He joined the Navy in 1943 and served on the USS Massachusetts until the war ended in 1946. When he and a service buddy were enroute “home” to Nebraska, their vehicle caught fire and he arrived home with little more than the clothes on his back. Harry realized the day they walked off the ship that he wouldn’t have another “payday” until he found a way to support himself.
He spent several years ranching in the Nebraska Sandhills, before purchasing a filling station in Crawford. It was there he met Norene Hanlon, and they were married in 1951. They had three children-Duane, Cindi and Jaci. For the next 10-plus years Harry worked for several different farms/ranches in Custer County and Dawes County. In 1962, they settled in Custer County after they purchased the “Jacobsen family farm” west of Gates. Harry farmed and raised cattle and sheep. In 1974, they were presented an opportunity to return to Dawes County, which was home to Norene and a place they both loved. They moved back to Dawes County, living east of Chadron. Norene passed away in 1978.
In June 1984, Harry married Doris (Nozicka) Toczek and with that union gained three stepdaughters, Debbie Rudolph, Dana (Dan) Fisher, and Donita Haley and a stepson, Mike Toczek.
In 2000, Harry and Doris downsized and worked with The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to establish the Bordeaux Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Harry was a humble man who loved his family above all else. He believed to “have a neighbor you needed to be a neighbor” and his life exemplified that principle. He mentored many and believed his role was to pass it forward for many who chose the same way of life.
As a husband, a father, a grandpa, a brother, a stepfather, an uncle, and a neighbor, Harry touched the lives of many in so many ways. He could be a man of few words, but the words he spoke could be life altering. He always said “it’s always the darkest just before dawn” and as a farmer/rancher, he not only believed that, he lived by it. He strove to live by the golden rule,“treat others as you would like to be treated.”
Harry was a member of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church and active in the Elks Club, The American Legion and a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Harry is survived by his wife of nearly 34 years,Doris, of Chadron; two daughters, Cindi (Cody) Brinton of Chadron and their daughters, Stephannie (Derek) Teini and children, Kendall, Brinley and Paige of Laramie, Wyo., Amber Brinton and children, Hailee and Hudson of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Mckenna Brinton of Lincoln; Jaci (Cameron) Cuttlers and son, Calon of Riverton, Wyo.; daughter-in-law, Sherie Jacobsen and daughter Erin (Joe) Roberts and their children, Molly, Jolee, Emma and Bethany, all of Alliance; stepdaughters, Debbie Rudolph of Tucson, Ariz., and her children, Kent of Bowling Green, Ky., Ashlee (Scott Nowicki) Rudolph of Albuquerque, N.M., and Rachel and fiancé Hal Baillie of Lexington, Ky.; Dana (Dan) Fisher of Windsor, Colo., and their daughters, Beth(Chad) Lewkowski of Longmont, Colo., and their daughters Emilie and Ellenore, Christine (Darach Foskett) Fisher of White Salmon, Wash.; Donita (Jim McDonald) Haley of Rapid City, S.D., and her daughters, Sheila Haley of Minneapolis, Minn., Kristen (Patrick) Christopherson, and their children, Sinead and Aine, of Ham Lake, Minn., Rachel Haley of Raleigh, N.C.; Stepson Mike Toczek of Lincoln, and his daughter Erin (Matt Bileri) Toczek of Washington, D.C. Harry is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren, brothers, Paul Jacobsen of Broken Bow, Loren (Cleo) Jacobsen of Broken Bow, and sister Pauline Landreth of Broken Bow. Harry is also survived by a large family of nephews, nieces, cousins and a huge community of neighbors.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Norene, his son, Duane, his parents, John and Gladys, his granddaughter, Shandi and two siblings, Harold Jacobsen and Helen Koch.
Funeral services were April 16 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chadron with Father Todd Philipsen officiating. Burial was in the Crawford Cemetery.