To say that Ralph Henry Jacobsen was a well loved, tenacious character is an understatement.
Born in Chicago on August 23, 1934 as the only son of the late Ralph and Mabel (Nelson) Jacobsen, Bud was the baby and, according to his late-older sister Audrey Jansky, was a true Mama’s boy. Bud grew up on the East side of Chicago and graduated in 1952 from Chicago Vocational School. In February 1954, Bud enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served during the Korean Conflict and was Honorably Discharged in December 1957. Unfortunately an incident aboard ship resulted in an injury that would impact his health but, because of Bud’s tenacity, he tried to ensure that it didn’t limit his life.
After his service in the Navy, Ralph met and married Barbara Elaine Turley and in February of 2020, they celebrated 60 years of marriage. Bud and Barb have five children, their son Paul, who passed away in 2005, daughter Angeline of Grand Junction, daughter Theresa of Bloomingdale, daughter Melissa (David Dudley) of Grand Junction and son Jeremy (Janea) of Mattawan. In addition to raising these five children, Bud also greatly impacted the lives of his grandchildren: Jessica Jacobsen, Jacqueline (Brian) Kelch, Joshua Jacobsen, Katlin Johnson, Michalah Johnson, Reese Jacobsen, Jonathan Beard and Jace Jacobsen along with his great-grandchildren: Ashley, Vanessa, Cecilia, Megan, Michael, Rosemary, Joshua, Travis, Micah, Angeline and Christopher. Ralph also leaves behind many loved nieces and nephews and his 3-legged cat, Eileen.
When the family decided to move to Grand Junction in the mid-1970s, Ralph commuted to his job at Akzo Chemical company in the Chicago area until he got hired with Cytec in Portage where he retired due to disability in 1998. He proudly served as a volunteer fireman with Lee Township and continued to keep an eye on the little firestation near Osterhout Lake after he could no longer serve.
As an amputee, Bud knew the challenges of living in a wheelchair but never let it stop him from being self-sufficient in his daily living by continuing shoveling snow, mowing his yard, cutting down tree limbs, pulling railroad ties down the road, going fishing, visiting his friends and neighbors around Osterhout Lake or hunting deer in the woods on the small family farm.
On Friday evening, December 18, 2020, Ralph returned to the arms of His Savior Jesus after a lengthy battle with various infections. He died peacefully at his home in Grand Junction, Michigan, surrounded by his wife , his daughters Angel and Melissa and his granddaughter Jacqui. As a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend, Ralph was well loved and will be remembered for his love of music, his sarcasm and crazy sense of humor, his pinochle and other card game talents and his ability to meet and beat almost any challenge.
A Celebration of Life is being planned for June 2021.
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