By Ken Stone
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and her family are mourning the death of her husband of almost 57 years. It was the reason she took last week off from official duties, a spokesman said Monday.
Paul Ernest Jacob died Sept. 23 of Parkinson’s disease, according to an obituary prepared by his family and released by a spokesman for the 2nd District supervisor. He was 80.
Supervisor Jacob returned to work Monday, the spokesman said, but hasn’t yet commented publicly on her husband’s passing.
Paul met his future wife, teacher Dianne Mueller, at Clairemont Bowling Alley while stationed at Miramar Naval Air Station. They were married in December 1961, the obituary said.A Jamul resident who provided his ranch for use as a community shelter and fire operations hub during wildfires, Paul helped raise more than $1.5 million for East County youth via The Branding fund-raiser by the YMCA in Dearhorn Valley over 14 years.
“He led a grass-roots effort to make the backcountry safer, starting in the 1970s, when he began to maintain and provide his Jamul ranch as a community shelter and fire operations hub during disasters,” said Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for Jacob.
“At one point, he even built a large shed on the land to house a fire truck, back when volunteer groups were the backbone of rural firefighting. Some rural residents found sanctuary on the ranch during the 2007 Harris firestorm.”
Some Jamul residents, fleeing the massive Harris Fire in 2007, found sanctuary on the ranch, while Cal Fire and other agencies used it as a major hub of operations.
In 1991, Paul donated a section of the land for the construction of a volunteer fire station.
An early member of the Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group, Jacob also donated the use of his ranchland years ago to agriculture students at El Capitan High School in Lakeside, Schmidt said.
“Thanks to Paul, future farmers are allowed today to grow hay on the property,” he said.
A celebration of life is planned at the Jamul ranch, but a date wasn’t immediately disclosed. The Deerhorn Valley Antler and The San Diego Union-Tribune earlier reported the death of the supervisor’s husband.
The first son of Bertha and Ernest Jacob, Paul was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up working at South Hills Country Club in Pittsburgh, where his father was golf course superintendent.
At Pittsburgh Carrick High School, he played varsity basketball and ran track. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for two years on sports and academic scholarhships.
“His honesty and integrity were second to none,” said the family. “While in high school he was recognized for voluntarily returning a $10 bill he had found.”
In 1958, Paul was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet program. He completed flight training, earned his Navy Wings of Gold, and was designated a naval aviator in 1960.
Jacob was ordered to Naval Air Station Miramar (now MCAS Miramar).
“He loved San Diego and never left,” the family said. “Paul joined VFP-63 at NAS Miramar, flying the photo reconnaissance version of the F-8 Crusader. His Navy tour was extended to support operations during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.”
After his naval service, he earned a bachelor’s degree at San Diego State College. In 1965, Jacob began his civilian aviation career with Trans World Airlines (TWA) flying the Boeing 707 and Lockheed L-1011 aircraft.
“He was especially proud of his qualification as a TWA captain in 1979. Paul retired from TWA in 1991 after 26 years and left with a spotless record — he never missed a flight,” the family said.
Paul always enjoyed returning home to his ranch, in Jamul’s Deerhorn Valley, where he and Dianne raised Black Angus cattle. They moved to the property in 1972.
As a community volunteer, Paul was a founding member of the Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group and also was devoted to the East County YMCA.
He liked to collect and work on antique cars, including a 1929 Model A.
Paul was preceded in death, in November 2017, by his sister, Margaret. Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Tom, and brother, Glenn Jacob.
“The family especially thanks his HomeInStead caregivers Erin, Shannon and Jonny for all their help and Sharp Hospice for always being there,” the family said.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the McGrath Family YMCA, 12006 Campo Road, Spring Valley CA, 91978, and to Sharp Hospice.
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