Dale Jacobs JD ’48
The Honorable Dale Jacobs passed away February 20, 2016, in Wilsonville, Oregon. He was 97 years old.
Born October 2, 1918, in Madison, Nebraska, to Elmer Dale and Mae Jacobs, Dale was the middle of five brothers and had three younger sisters. His early life was spent in Nebraska and Kansas. In 1936, he graduated from Gering High School, where he met his future wife, Vida Gering. They were to be inseparable for the next 75 years.
Vida and Dale married on Christmas Eve in 1939 and moved to Portland in 1942 with their baby daughter. He worked in the shipyards during World War II, and later sold men’s clothing while attending evening law school. Dale became a deputy district attorney in Clackamas County after passing the bar and went into private practice in Oregon City in 1950. His skills as a trial lawyer were legendary.
Dale was appointed Clackamas County circuit court judge in 1971 by Governor Tom McCall, and served on the bench until his retirement in 1987. He performed in excess of 1,000 marriages and, as a senior judge after his retirement, took part in many hearings for the mentally impaired. He also had a long and distinguished legal career speaking in numerous CLEs and authoring many articles, including the demonstrative evidence chapter in The Oregon Evidence Handbook.
The Clackamas County Bar, of which he was once president, honored Dale with their highest accolade, the Ralph M. Holman Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the Oregon State Bar’s 50-year member award.
A tireless citizen in his community, Dale was named Oregon City Senior First Citizen in 1959 and served as chair of the Oregon City School District Board. He was a founding board member of Willamette Falls Hospital, a president and board member of the Chamber of Commerce, a chair of the Oregon City Red Cross, a vice-chair of the United Fund Campaign, and a founding member and first president of Willamette Valley Country Club.
In his later years, afflicted with macular degeneration, Dale listened to just about every nonfiction book offered by Oregon Talking Books and loved conversation on all topics, whether it be religion, biology, astronomy, baseball, politics, or physics. While he could be serious on these subjects, he was not without a sense of humor and was never at a loss for a good joke. Dale’s lifelong study of religion and philosophy led him to atheism, and he authored a scholarly article on the trial of Jesus. He had no fear of death, embracing it as a part of the life cycle, and was courageous to the end.
Golf was Dale’s lifelong passion. He helped support himself during the Depression by working as a caddie, and he later spent a portion of every year in the Palm Springs area, where he followed the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He also played in numerous local tournaments, most notably the Oregon Coast Open in Astoria, where he was a medalist in 1962. The Clackamas County Bar honors his golfing prowess with an annual tournament in his name, the DJ Open.
Dale was preceded in death by his wife, Vida, who passed away in 2009, and by his son Steve, who died in 2011. He is survived by his daughter, Toni Clay; son Jeff Jacobs; three sisters; many nieces and nephews; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.