August 22, 1940 to October 11, 2023
Barbara Linda Lax Jacobs, a woman of warmth, wit, generosity, and intelligence, died on October 11, 2023 after an extended illness. She was eighty-three years old. She was born in New York City, the daughter of Jack and Gladys Ewig Lax, and oldest of four Lax siblings.
Linda was a zesty redhead who was passionate about family, politics, friends, Scrabble, children, pets, travel, New York City, and much more. Her girlhood and youth were characterized by great academic success and her passionate love of sports, baseball in particular. She graduated from Hunter College High School, a school for gifted students in New York City, in 1958 and attended Hunter College, where she studied political science.
During those years her interest in sports centered on the New York Yankees. Her family lived near Yankee Stadium; she attended as many games as she could and babysat for the children of Tom Sturdivant, one of the Yankee pitchers. She also began what would become lifelong involvement in local and national politics; over the years supported countless candidates with contributions of time, energy, and financial donations.
While still in college she met and began dating Robert Jacobs. They were married in June 1963, a year after Linda graduated. Linda and Robert applied to law schools and graduate schools respectively. She was admitted to Boalt Hall, the law school of the University of California, and he to the graduate school of Columbia University in New York. His career took precedence, and they stayed in New York.
Robert took up a position teaching political science at Colby College in Maine in 1965. Linda became active in civil rights work, supported the student anti-war movement, and cooked massive amounts of food for the dissident students who staged a sit-in at the Colby College chapel. In Maine, as with everywhere she lived, she made true friends and brought a sense of fun and adventure.
She had two children: Michael, born in New York City in 1964, and Deborah, born in Maine in 1967.
In 1970 the family moved – sight unseen! – to Ellensburg, Washington for Robert to start a teaching position at Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University). They drove all the way cross country on I-90 in a Dodge Dart, getting their first glimpse of the west. In Ellensburg, Linda remained active in politics, including campaigning for George McGovern and Shirley Chisholm (knocking on Ellensburg doors in her “Unbossed and Unbought” sweatshirt). She received a M.Ed. at Central Washington University and taught in the Educational Opportunity Program. She had a lifelong commitment to racial justice, and readily advocated for diverse and disadvantaged students, and underdogs in general.
Linda and Robert divorced, and Linda left Ellensburg to spend the rest of her life in Western Washington, including Orcas Island and Seattle. On Orcas, she helped build and lived in an amazing geodesic dome, made more friends, and had a successful career in real estate. In Seattle, she forged a career in college admissions counseling, built rich social circles, and again engaged in politics and civic activities. She spent many years as college counselor for the Northwest School in Seattle and became a nationally known independent college counselor. Her relish for relating to young people combined with remarkable acumen helped many through pre-college angst.
Although her love for the Yankees never completely vanished, Linda’s loyalties as a fan were transferred to the Mariners, Seahawks, and dearly missed SuperSonics. She held season tickets, went to Spring training, attended games whenever possible, and accumulated a notable collection of memorabilia.
She is survived by her children, Deborah (Michael T. McPhearson) and Michael; her grandson Jack I. Jacobs; her siblings Alan Lax of White Plains, NY, Shelly (Frank) Marino of Jacksonville, FL, and David (Sandy) Lax of Manalapan, NJ; her companion Robert Kibler of Ellensburg and his family; and her dog Teddy of Seattle.
Her circle of survivors extends to beloved nieces and nephews; people she took into her home as children or young adults over the years; dearly loved children of her friends; and Deborah and Michael’s siblings from their father’s second marriage.
We will celebrate Linda’s life at an event in the coming months with friends and family.