February 11, 1930 – February 4, 2019
Bruce Ray Jacobson was born February 11, 1930, in Bellingham, Washington. He passed away February 4, 2019 at hospital in Campbell River, BC. Bruce graduated from Bellingham High School where he was an electronics prodigy already capable of operating and repairing radios and other advanced electronics of the day. He also worked as a station engineer for a relatively new technology, television. He was largely self- taught as an electronic engineer.
He would later join the Forest Service as a radio technician working predominately in the North Cascades of Washington State. At the onset of the Korean War, Bruce learned how to drill troops by reading and memorizing the Drill Sergeant’s manual and joined the United States Air Force where he avoided attending boot-camp and was immediately given the rank of Corporal, all predicated upon his electronic prowess and his knowledge of how to drill troops. He was stationed at Murphy Dome, north of Fairbanks, Alaska, for the duration of the war where he studied, operated and trained in advanced radar and communication systems.
After the war he transferred to the Air Force Reserves reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and eventually commanding the 262nd Air Force Reserve Mobile Command. Once back in Bellingham he enrolled at Western Washington State College where he earned a degree in Economics, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and received The Wall Street Journal’s Student Achievement Award.
He re-joined the US Forest Service, fixing radios, fighting forest fires and developing communication systems ultimately becoming Division Head in Washington, DC. During this time Bruce also started his own company where he invented and pioneered equipment for running automated radio stations, a hugely successful venture for him. Retiring early, Bruce returned to Cortes Island, where he had purchased a rustic cabin at Cortes Bay in 1968. Here he worked for many years as the local electronic engineer, wiring houses, fixing electronics, installing remote phones, solar and wind-powered systems and fixing electrical problems for boaters. He made significant contributions to Cortes Island including as President of the Community Center, spearheading construction of the health clinic, encouraging banking to come to the island, assisting the volunteer fire department and emergency response with communications equipment and many others.
In 2000, he was joined by his beloved Mary Johns and they enjoyed many happy years together both at Cortes Bay and as snow-birds in Apache Junction, Arizona. Both avid and accomplished organ players, their house was always full of music and they entertained frequently and gave many concerts. He led a full and wonderful life and had many adventures, narrowly avoiding death many times in a number of plane crashes in the military, Forest Service and as a private citizen.
He is survived by his partner, Mary Johns, four sons Mark (Carol), Mike, Lome (Monika) & Lance (Michelle), two granddaughters, Keanan and Kelsey (Nick), two grandsons, Wyatt and John (April) and 6 great- grandchildren. A Celebration of Life is planned later this summer at Cortes Bay.