Dean Jacobson Jr. of Clitherall and Fergus Falls

Published 8:29am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dean Jacobson Jr., was born in Devils Lake, N.D., on Jan. 20, 1926, to Dean Jacobson Sr., a merchant, and Edna Lowry Jacobson, a local beauty and

An only child, Dean was a precocious boy and a natural-born engineer who enjoyed taking apart anything mechanical from alarm clocks to small kitchen appliances, keeping his parents frustrated with this curiosity, for he was usually unable to put them back together.

After graduating from Devils Lake High School in 1943, Dean became a student of engineering at the University of North Dakota.

At that time he enlisted in the Army and joined ROTC. In 1944, he was called to active service and following basic training, was scheduled for deployment to Normandy Beach, when his father’s sudden and unexpected death required he return to Devils Lake.

This brief return home to attend his father’s funeral caused separation from his unit. Dean was later reassigned and spent the remainder of his Army career in Italy (where he acquired a life-long taste for pizza, spaghetti and the song, Malaguena).

Honorably discharged in 1946, Dean then transferred to the University of Minnesota where in 1950 he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.

After graduation, Dean began his 40-year career at Otter Tail Power Company, rising through various management positions to his final position as Director of Purchasing and Stores.

Always a company man, Dean loved his company, his career and all those with whom he worked. Shortly after moving to Fergus Falls, Dean met his life’s love, Iris Keepers, at the Maid Rite Cafe on Lincoln Avenue one evening while dining with co-workers.

Having recently moved from her family farm in Westboro, Wisconsin, Iris found herself seated in the booth adjoining Dean and his friends.

Dean, always using his hands when speaking, kept bumping Iris’s head over the back of the booth. Finally, Iris tapped him on the shoulder and asked that he be more careful.

Always the polite and sensitive guy, Dean was horrified that he had offended the pretty girl and looked at her aghast.

In response Iris commented, “You have the eyes of a cow” making Dean laugh. Conversation continued and by evening’s end, he had invited her to a movie the next night.

Dean admitted to Iris he did not have a car so, although she didn’t know him, she felt she’d be safe walking to and from the movie.

When Dean called on Iris the next night for their movie date, he arrived in a brand new Olds Convertible.

To the shocked Iris, Dean explained that to be worthy of her companionship, he felt it prerequisite that he purchase a car. This chance meeting was destiny and they dated every night thereafter until their wedding, Sept.1, 1951, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church Parsonage.

Dean and Iris were married for 61 years and had four daughters. Dean worked hard and provided a wonderful life for his family. Over the years, he took thousands of photographs of the family and in the process became the Jacobson Family historian. In 1965 Dean and Iris built their beloved lake home on 300 feet of perfect West Battle Lake beach.

The girls had a rich and wonderful life of school days in Fergus Falls and long, hot summers on West Battle where they water skied, swam, fished and entertained friends.

While at their home, Dean had a reputation for always making sure all visiting kids had plenty of good things to eat including vast arrays of daily bakery products, grilled meats, 16-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola and the ever stocked candy jar.

Dean never tired of towing teenagers behind the speed boat or building sand castles with the smaller kids. He loved making life beautiful for his daughters, his four grandchildren, his four great-grandchildren and all their friends.

After retirement he also became an avid golfer and spent summers playing as often as possible. In later years, Dean and Iris enjoyed spending winters in Palm Springs, Calif., where they felt great joy in being able to wear summer clothes all winter long.

Memorable in countless ways, one of his strongest characteristics was that of honesty.

His daughters remember how he would often call a local merchant to report having been undercharged a few cents and demanding that his account be adjusted. He simply could not live with any form of dishonesty, even when it was to his considerable advantage.

Dean is survived by his wife, Iris, of Fergus Falls; daughters, Diana (Doug) Johnson of Ramsey, Debra (Ross) Jacobson-Deeley of Fergus Falls, Elizabeth Jacobson(Jim Burke) of St. Paul, and Bonnie (Rick) Mayfield of Fargo; Diana’s daughters, Kimberly (Mark) Petrosky of Edina, and their children Anders (4) and Elin (2), Victoria (Paul) Isherwood of Denver, Colo., and their children, Campbell (8) and Bryce (4) and Bonnie’s sons Eli Mayfield of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Thadeus Mayfield of Philadelphia, Pa.; and his 100-pound best friend, Buddy, the labradoodle.

He was preceded in death only by his former best friend, Orbit, a mixed breed.

Memorials are preferred to the Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Fergus Falls.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, at Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls



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