Today, I was honored to speak a testimony to the life of my dear Uncle Dick and Aunt Martha Jacobson.
“But now faith, hope and love abide. And the greatest of these is love.”
It is so fitting that we are here today, in beautiful Ossining, to say a collective farewell to Martha and Dick. Here is where their story began, and now, we turn the last page of their lives together here on earth.
Theirs was a love story. Not a fairy tale, but a love story – a marriage story – that endured 60 years. It was here in Ossining that Martha Reuterwall fell head over heels for Richard Jacobson, and he for her – and here in Ossining that they married and started their journey together.
Early on, they faced the sickness part of the “in sickness and in health” clause that prompted them to move halfway across the country to TX. With no family nearby, Martha and Dick worked together to raise their beloved children, establish Dick’s career, build beautiful homes and develop deep friendships through civic and social activities. Like most marriages, they rejoiced for their better, and trudged through their worse – and ended up, 60 years down the road, still holding hands.
Uncle Dick – the intelligent, strong, silent type – that is how I will always think of him. And handsome. So handsome. His parents, Ethel and Frank, and his sister, Alice, had endless reasons to be proud of the man he was. A man who served his country in World War II, who excelled academically at Cornell, who pursued a challenging career in Engineering – a career I came to learn last night is a Fisher family tradition. He was a gentleman. He always made you feel like he wanted nothing more than to make you happy. He adored his children, Gordon and Nan and Sue, and his grandchildren, Brandon and Chuck, above everything else. He would do anything for them. He was their backbone, the Jacosbson foundation – committed, dedicated and loyal.
And Martha needed him. He was, in many ways, her straight man. His solid base allowed her multi-dimensional personality to shine. Martha was a life-long learner, curious about, and expert in, so much – politics, bridge, art, psychology, and on and on. She had a presence – and it wasn’t just her beauty that lasted until the day she passed. She was witty, funny, and sassy. She had an energy that made you sit up and notice. Without Uncle Dick’s calming influence, I often wondered if Martha would have spun out of control, fizzled too soon before we all could have appreciated everything she was.
Part of Martha’s endless curiosity and energy, I know, came from questions she had about her own life – too many unresolved questions that plagued her. Questions we all carry with us, actually. What is my story? Who am I? Why me? What could have been?
When I last visited Martha, she was calm. Calmer than I have ever known her to be. She talked about her mother, my Nana, with understanding and forgiveness. And for her biological father, too. We talked about my Grandpa, her Step Father, and how he first saw Nana holding Martha as a toddler, and he fell in love with both of them at first sight – and loved them both for his entire life. And my Uncle Owen, her brother, who brought her so much joy. And my Mom, her baby sister, who she always wanted to spoil and protect. She told me how much she loved all her children, how proud she was of them, and how much happiness they and her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her. She would have been so happy to see Elliott and Sophie here today. You girls gave her so much joy. And she spoke of her Richard, how much she missed him, how much she needed him, how much he had been her other half, her rock, her anchor.
Dick Jacobson was the love of her life. They went through it all – the better, the worse. Richer. Poorer. And then death parted them. But when death parted her from Uncle Dick, his love lingered. And I think surrounded her. His love for her never departed, and maybe, because I do want to believe in fairy tales, I think his everlasting love helped bring her peace.
That last time Martha and I talked in person, there were no questions. She seemed to be done with questions. Her buzz of energy had been replaced with an even greater blanket of peace. And that peace I feel today, for her and Uncle Dick, now back together in Ossining, at the end of their love story. It’s a peace that comes simply by knowing you are loved and have loved. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Fisher Jacobson were deeply loved and loved deeply.
All of us today, and forever, send Love and Peace to you, Martha and Dick Jacobson. The greatest of these, is love. Love and peace to us all.