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Obituary Stories

Choir singer started software training company

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, 9:19 a.m.
Elizabeth S. Jacobsen, of Greensburg died Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, while undergoing treatment for leukemia. She was 69.
Elizabeth S. Jacobsen, of Greensburg died Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, while undergoing treatment for leukemia. She was 69.

Elizabeth Jacobsen would bend over backwards to help people, according to her husband Tom.

Longtime friend Linda Fidazzo put it another way.

“She was an angel sent from up above, who really knew how to help people and get them through some trying times,” said Fidazzo, 57, of Greensburg.

Elizabeth S. Jacobsen, of Greensburg died Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, while undergoing treatment for leukemia. She was 69.

Mrs. Jacobsen was born Nov. 18, 1948, in Cleveland, the first child of William and Madeline (Gallagher) Koeth. She graduated from Lorain Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Seton Hill University and a master's degree from Governors State University in Illinois.

Fidazzo met Jacobsen when both women sang in the choir at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg.

“I had just lost my mother to Alzheimer's,” Fidazzo said. “My mother and I were members of the choir for more than 40 years. When she passed away, I kind of thought I was going to lose the joy of singing.”

Around the same time, Mrs. Jacobsen, a fellow soprano, joined the choir.

“She gave me back that feeling, the joy of singing,” Fidazzo said. “Seeing the joy on her face and her voice made me want to connect with her, and that's exactly what happened.”

Tom Jacobsen said his wife loved to sing.

“When she cantered at the cathedral, you could tell how much she enjoyed the gift she had with her voice,” he said.

A soothing soprano was hardly Mrs. Jacobsen's only talent: she worked as a computer programmer, instructor and systems analyst after college, and founded her own software training company, ThinkTronics, in Illinois.

After earning her master's degree, she decided to return to teaching.

“We have a son who has mild cerebral palsy, and while he was in school, every night she would sit down and go over his lessons,” Tom Jacobsen said. “She ended up re-teaching him a lot of the math and science he was struggling with.”

That son now has his own master's degree, in special education.

The Jacobsens also loved to travel.

“We had a pop-up camper when our boys were growing up, and we camped everywhere we could,” Tom Jacobsen said. “And just before we moved back to Greensburg in 2012, we took a trip to Paris and spent New Year's Eve at the Eiffel Tower, which was her dream.”

In addition to singing in the choir, Mrs. Jacobsen was a pianist and organist who had accompanied and cantered Mass since she was in high school.

“She was very religious. She would say her prayers every day for everybody,” her husband said. “She was just a very giving person.”

Mrs. Jacobsen is survived by her husband, Tom; her three sons, Nathaniel, Ryan and Adam; and her parents, Bill and Madeline Koeth, of Lorain, Ohio.

Family and friends will be received from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 North Main St., Greensburg. A prayer service will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the funeral home. A funeral Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, 300 North Main St., Greensburg, with private entombment at Greensburg Catholic Cemetery.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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