Lawrence Daniel Jacobs, Managing Director of the World Congress of Families, died unexpectedly on April 30 in his Rockford, Illinois home. Born September 10, 1967, in Bucyrus, Ohio, he was the son of Daniel C. and Patricia G. (Neorr) Jacobs. As a child he spent most summers on the farms of his late grandparents, Hazel and Sam Jacobs and Marie and Paul Neorr.
Larry earned a B.S. degree in environmental engineering, magna cum laude, from Allegheny College, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In 1992, he received two Masters degrees from Yale University, one in economics and the other in natural resource policy. He was especially proud of being selected to carry the Yale School of Forestry Banner at that year’s graduation ceremony.
Larry married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, a licensed practical nurse. They would have two children, Amanda and Aaron.
Following his Yale years, Larry joined The Proctor & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, becoming Manager of New Products and New Business Development. Among the items he helped to bring onto the market were Dryel and Fabreze.
In 2000, Larry’s Christian faith led him to leave private business and take the position of President and CEO of Healthy Beginnings, a pro-life organization operating pregnancy care centers in Cincinnati and Dayton. He expanded the 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” in that city.
Three years later, Larry joined the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society (now the International Organization for the Family) in Rockford as Vice President. He soon became, as well, the Managing Director of the World Congress of Families, a project representing pro-family leaders and groups from over 80 countries. He oversaw planning and transnational operations for major Congresses in places such as Mexico City, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Madrid, Sydney, Tbilisi (Republic of Georgia), and Bucharest. In performing this work, he made deep friendships around the globe. Larry’s special gifts were listening to and understanding differing points of view and resolving conflicts in service to a greater good. He appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including the 700 Club, American Family Radio, Focus on the Family News, the USA Radio Network, and Ave Maria Radio. He spoke at major gatherings such as the Azusa Street Centennial and the Heartbeat International Annual Conference. He was chosen as a Foundation Young Leader by the distinguished American-Swiss Foundation.
Larry served on committees or boards of a number of non-profit groups, including Trinity Christian School, Rockford Kiwanis, the Northern Illinois Community Foundation, and Heartbeat International. In recent years, he was a very active Board Chairman for Freedoms Journal Foundation, which promotes “Strong Family Values” and other virtues among all Americans and “the African American populace, in particular.”
The focus of Larry’s life was his family, especially his wife and children. Most recently, he was proud of Jennifer’s job as nurse at the Rockford Rescue Mission, “surely doing the Lord’s work.” When Amanda and Aaron were younger, he especially enjoyed serving as a volunteer coach at both the Boys and Girls Clubs and Christian Life School. He had “a giant heart,” reports a fellow coach, “who expected nothing in return, except the satisfaction that he was helping kids that he didn’t know, while also helping his friends.” Most recently, he experienced the joy of watching his children move on to college: Amanda graduating this Spring from Asbury University with degrees in psychology and equine management and certification as a PATH International Therapeutic Riding Instructor; and Aaron entering Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, studying Business and Sports Management while playing varsity basketball.
Larry’s survivors include: wife Jennifer; children Amanda and Aaron; mother and stepfather Patricia and Stephan Beam; father Daniel Jacobs; half-brother Sam Jacobs; in laws Mary Lee and Westin Hyde; aunts Janet Turner, Connie Jacobs, and Sally Deese; and uncle John Neorr.
May He Rest in Peace.