First Chief of Psychology at Jerry L. Petits VA hospital dies

Dr. Durand "Dewey" Jacobs, the first chief of psychology services at the Jerry L. Pettis Veterans Memorial Hospital died March 2 after a long illness. He was 90.

Jacobs, moved to Redlands in 1977 when he took the post as chief of psychology for the Loma Linda hospital from 1977 to 1990. He was known for his kindness, his family said.

"He was very much about making a difference while he was there and helping, loving people," said his wife of 63 years, Lenore. "When he retired from the VA hospital, people would ask, 'Who is going to go up and down the hall hugging and kissing us now?' "

Jacobs was born Sept. 28, 1922, in Chicago, but grew up mostly in Detroit. where he played many sports.

After graduating from high school, Jacobs studied at the University of Michigan. He earned both a bachelor's and master's degree and during that time he served two years in the Army from 1942 to 1946.

While attending the University, Jacobs was introduced to Lenore on a blind date.

The two had gone to a U of M football game.

A few weeks later, Jacobs called Lenore and the two began dating. But there were a few snags before that initial call was made, Lenore recalled.

"He couldn't remember my name. So he asked my cousins what my name was. I teased him forever about it," she said, adding that Jacobs would later always refer to her as "The little girl with big brown

eyes. "

"It was pretty wonderful," Lenore recalled.

The two married on Sept. 4, 1949, in Detroit.

After graduating, Jacobs went on to serve as chief of psychology at four veterans hospitals during his career - two of which were in Ohio from 1961 to 1973 - before settling in Redlands.

In addition to his work at the Loma Linda VA hospital, Jacobs also served as a professor of psychiatry at Loma Linda University Medical School, and during his career, held academic positions at 12 other universities and colleges, his family said.

Jacobs was also the author of 60 professional publications, and presented his works at more than 150 conferences world wide.

For 40 years, Jacobs was dedicated to the treatment and the training of health professionals and research on addictive behaviors, his family said. He used his experience to establish the first inpatient treatment program for compulsive gambling in 1972, later publishing "The General Theory of Additions" in 1982 focusing on the understanding and treatment of addictive behavior.

He was recognized several times throughout his career, most recently in 2003 when he was recognized by The International Centre for Youth Gambling and High Risk Behaviors at McGill University for pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling, and by the University of Nevada for his lifelong contribution to gambling research and policy.

When not in the office, Jacobs was an active fisherman who loved to travel and loved meeting people. He would often come home on his lunch hour to spend time with his wife, eat and a take a cat nap.

But, Lenore Jacobs said, he loved what he was doing.

"And I thought it was my privilege to support him, in allowing him to be all that he could be. And that was wonderful. And he did that in turn for me," she said. "We had a wonderful time together. "

Jacobs' son, William of Euclid, Ohio, said his parents' love story was one people were in awe of.

"They exchanged cards for as long as I can remember. They would walk down the street hand in hand, even here in Redlands," he said. "They were always very willing to show their affection for one another. When he came home, or when he left, he would always kiss her 'hello' and 'goodbye.' My friends in high school would say, 'Wow.'

"They were very much in love for all those 65 years, and were great role models in showing how to love somebody. "

Jacobs was also very active in the Redlands community, having served as a two-time president of both the Loyal Knights of the Round Table and of the Torch Club. He also served as president of the Fortnight Club and was a member of the Labyrinth Committee at the University of Redlands from 2002 to 2004, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Edward-Dean Museum in Cherry Valley.

He also loved to laugh, his son said.

"He enjoyed jokes. He was an adventurer and he had many adventures out on little aluminum motor fishing boats," William Jacobs said. Jacobs is also survived by another son, Tim Jacobs, of Columbus, Ohio and daughter, Beth Gillispie of Richmond, Va.; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a number of colleagues and cherished friends.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Jerry L. Pettis VA Hospital's main auditorium at 2 p.m. Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in Jacobs' name to the Durand F. Jacobs Endowment, International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University, 3724 McTavish Montreal, Quebec H3A1Y2.

Reach Kristina via email, or call her at 909-793-3221, or find her on Twitter @TheFactsKris.

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