Larry Jacobs, ‘great friend’ of international pro-life movement, dies suddenly at 50
ROCKFORD, Illinois, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday, friends and family remembered the life of a “tireless soldier for the family” who was known across the world for his “terrific” and important work.
Larry Jacobs, managing director of the World Congress of Families (WCF), died unexpectedly April 30 at his Rockford, Illinois, home. He was 50. He leaves behind his wife Jennifer and two children, Amanda and Aaron.
Jacobs’ memorial service was Thursday evening at the Northridge Community Church, located at YWCA Women's Center in Rockford.
Pro-life and family advocates have mourned his death in Illinois and internationally.
Brian Brown, president for the WCF’s parent organization the International Organization for the Family (IOF), expressed grief and gratitude for him via a statement in the days following Jacobs’ passing.
“Larry was an invaluable member of our team,” Brown said, “someone who has been a leader for the pro-family movement worldwide.”
“I have already received messages from around the world on how much Larry touched so many people's lives," he said. “Beyond being a pro-family leader of inestimable importance, Larry was a loving husband to his wife, Jennifer, and devoted father to his two children.”
“Larry was a devout and faithful Christian who loved the Lord and lived his faith proudly,” Brown said.
The President of Human Life International (HLI), Father Shenan Boquet, said the international pro-life movement lost “a great friend.”
“We and all of HLI wish to express our heartfelt condolences to wife Jennifer, Larry’s two children, and the WCF and International Organization of the Family (IOF) communities,” said Boquet.
“The global pro-life and family movement has lost a great friend and fellow warrior,” he continued, “whose passion and unwavering dedication to the defense of Life and Family will be greatly missed.”
HLI founder Father Paul Marx had worked closely with the WCF, Boquet continued, “a relationship that HLI continues to value and strengthen. Larry’s personal support and friendship was always appreciated.”
Jacobs’ experience was always wide-ranging, Boquet said, and he spoke frequently on issues affecting family, religion, and public and social policy.
The priest also noted Jacobs’ past work organizing international pro-life conferences in the U.S., Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia, the United Nations, the OAS, and European Union Parliament.
“Larry, a devout Christian, was stellar in the cause for Life and Family,” concluded Boquet.
LifeSiteNews co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen had praise for Jacobs and his work on behalf of the family as well, stating, “Larry was a tireless soldier for the family – a man whose faith and understanding of the dignity of the family impelled him to exhaust his life in the protection of the basic cell of society.”
John Smeaton, president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and spokesman for Voice of the family, remarked on the significance of Jacobs’ work for families.
“Larry Jacobs played a leading role in the important work of the World Congress of Families and we are very saddened to hear of his passing,” Smeaton said. “May he rest in peace!”
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera expressed admiration for Jacobs’ work, telling LifeSiteNews he was moved to hear of Jacobs’ passing. LaBarbara stated his wish to have known Jacobs better, and said his heart goes out to Jacobs’ wife and family.
“Our paths rarely crossed and I knew him more by his terrific work on behalf of life and the family,” said LaBarbera. “Larry was passionately dedicated to upholding God's design for the natural family and a strong pro-life ethic. He worked to help nations across the world build family-friendly societies.”
Jacobs, originally from Ohio, earned a B.S. degree in environmental engineering from Allegheny College. He received two Masters’ degrees from Yale University, one in economics and the other in natural resource policy.
He was a manager of New Products and New Business Development for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, and had a hand in bringing the Dryel and Febreze products to the market.
Jacobs later became president and CEO of Healthy Beginnings, a pro-life organization operating pregnancy care centers in Cincinnati and Dayton. Jacobs expanded its number of facilities and doubled revenues from grants and gifts. He was honored by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of “the Top forty Leaders under 40.”
He then joined the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society (now the International Organization for the Family) in Rockford as vice president. Soon after, he became the managing director for the World Congress of Families, a project representing pro-family leaders and groups from more than 80 countries.
Jacobs’ special gifts were listening to and understanding differing points of view and resolving conflicts in service to a greater good, his obituary said.
And the focus of his life was his family, especially his wife and children.
Jacobs’ Facebook page showed condolences from around the world, and also a post from his mother on his daughter’s college graduation five days after Jacobs passed away.
Celebrating the graduation that May 5 afternoon, Jacobs’ mother said, “Some of us from afar, some accompanied by a whole choir of heavenly angels rejoicing — feeling proud.”
“My great friend Larry D. Jacobs rest in peace,” singer-songwriter Andrea Andrea posted, sharing a video of Jacobs and herself when she sang at the 2014 World Congress of Families in Australia.
“A great human being, a promoter of life and family in the whole world,” she said. “God only knows why you were so young. We'll miss you. You were light on earth. Now like an angel in heaven. This video is a memory with my friend when we sing in Australia for the families.”
A post from a gentleman named Pátkai Mihály, the member of a Hungarian church, paid respects and included a video of a church-wide dance celebrating the family. That dance was inspired by Jacobs and his work on a family summit there last year.
“On behalf of Pastor Sandor Nemeth and Faith Church Hungary, we send our deepest condolences and love to Larry's wife, children, relatives, friends and colleagues,” he said. “Larry worked hard to realize the Family Summit here in Budapest last year, which was a huge success and great blessing for us all.”
Another post from the director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage was covered in a report from the Illinois Review.
“Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, Africa and indeed the whole world – Asia, Europe, America, Canada mourn your death,” Tessy Okafor wrote. “Your footprints are everywhere. You built an international coalition that cut across national, racial and religious boundaries. You were a committed husband and father and you always put your family, whom you loved and celebrated, first…”
A fund has been established to help support the Jacobs family. Click HERE for specifics.