Kenneth 'Ken' Jacobsen

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kenneth “Ken” Jacobsen, 79, of Newton, formerly of Le Mars, passed away quietly in his sleep at the Park Centre Retirement Community in Newton, on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, with his family by his side. The end of a life lived for family and steered by faith, leaving behind a family much loved and well raised.

Kenneth Lee Jacobsen was born Aug.14, 1937 in Mitchell, South Dakota to Harvey Martin Jacobsen and Lucille Agnus (McGraw) Jacobsen. He spent his early years growing up on a farm outside of Letcher, South Dakota. There he learned the importance of hard work, strength of family and faith.

Ken played eight-man football, basketball, and baseball for the Letcher Tigers. He graduated high school in 1955 and continued his education as a Jackrabbit, attending South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. While in college, Ken was a golden glove boxer and joined the National Guard, earning the rank of staff sergeant. He attended military training in Texas where he learned to be a triage medic.

Ken was the first in his family to earn a college degree, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 1959. He valued education and ensured all of his siblings and children attended college.

Upon graduation, Ken became a district salesman for Ralston Purina Company. He worked in Redfield, South Dakota and later Norfolk, Nebraska. While a district salesman, he met the love of his life, Shirley Vanderham Eilers. On Nov. 5, 1966 Kenneth and Shirley were united in marriage at St. James Catholic Church in Le Mars. They were together for more than 50 years.

During their life, they owned and operated Eilers Farm Service — a retail feed and seed store in Craig and Struble, selling both Purina and Wayne feed. They were champion sellers, several years winning trips to the Bahamas, Spain, England, California, Netherlands, Italy and Canada. Ken was promoted and they moved to Iowa Falls for a few years before returning to Ireton.  

Ken and Shirley both had a love of farming and decided to raise their two children, Michael and Robin, on a farm between Ireton and Craig. They farmed 80 acres and operated a farrowing-to-finish hog confinement — teaching their children a strong work ethic, love of the outdoors, and animals. Family vacations were often to see and spend time with relatives, which often included fishing, ballgames and playing cards.

Ken was active in his church throughout his life having been baptized into the Catholic faith and served as an altar boy in Letcher. Ken rarely missed a service, often searching out a church on their many trips.

Ken continued his love of sports, coaching his kids Little League baseball as well as son’s basketball team. He gave his time and attention to coaching his son’s basketball league traveling and winning several tournaments. He never missed his children’s sporting events and attended his grandchildren’s whenever possible. He could often be heard cheering from the sidelines or from afar when unable to attend. Ken golfed throughout his life and was in several bowling leagues.

Ken changed careers later in life becoming a real property appraiser and establishing First Stop Appraisal Services. He was well respected in the appraisal industry for over 20 years.

Ken served on the Le Mars Planning and Zoning Board for several years. He enjoyed his “second” career and often traveled several states to complete appraisals for lenders and the government.

Ken and Shirley eventually retired from country life and moved to Le Mars in 2000 where they enjoyed their neighbors and friends.

Ken retired from appraising at the young age of 75 and enjoyed a few years of retirement before moving to Newton in April 2017. This allowed Ken to be closer to family during his final time with us.

Ken is survived by his wife Shirley Jacobsen; two children and two stepsons: Michael K Jacobsen (Colleen), and Robin K. Moore (Matthew); Thomas J. Eilers (Virginia) and Gregory J. Eilers (Shari), stepdaughter-in-law Marsha Eilers; 10 grandchildren: Collin, Michaela, and Courtney Jacobsen; Colton and Savanna Moore, Jay Eilers, Jennifer Easley, Sky Eilers, Katie Fleming, and Jacki Buckingham; nine great grandchildren; one brother, Robert Jacobsen (Becky); one sister, Nancy Lewis (Don); and two sisters-in-law, Joan and Deb Jacobsen and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, John and Dennis Jacobsen and stepson Mark Eilers.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 20, at All Saints Parish - St. James Catholic Church in Le Mars. Burial will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton. A luncheon will be served at St. James Church immediately after the service in Le Mars. The grave site service in Ireton will follow the luncheon. The family will be gathering at the Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars tonight (Monday) for an evening of memories and fellowship from 5-8 p.m. The family will have a rosary at 6:30 p.m., with a scriptural prayer service at 7 p.m., and invite all of Ken’s friends, neighbors, and past colleagues to stop and say a final goodbye.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to All Saints Parish - St. James Catholic Church and/or Park Centre Retirement Community and Wesley Life Hospice, 500 First St. North, Newton, Iowa 50208.

Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.