Gwen Mae Jacobsen, age 85, and DeVerne Allen Jacobsen, age 91, both of Grants Pass, died December 16, 2022.
A memorial service will be at 1:00 p.m., Friday, January 6, 2023 at Josephine County Fairgrounds - Pavilion.
On December 16, 2022, Gwen and DeVerne Jacobsen of Grants Pass, Oregon passed away at the ages of 85 and 91. Each of their lives touched many around the world and their legacy is a lifetime of service to others. They are preceded in death by DeVerne’s parents Carl and Marie Olesen Jacobsen, his sisters Shirley Green and Elaine Vakiner, Gwen’s parents Forrest and Eugenia Grosse Krause Scrivner, her sisters Dr. Dorothy Blum and Marilyn Holzwarth, and their son, Brian Eugene Jacobsen. They are survived by two sons Eric DeVerne Jacobsen and Dana Allen Jacobsen, and 6 grandchildren, as well as their numerous friends around the world.
A private service will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. A public Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6th, at the Pavilion Building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds.
DeVerne Allen Jacobsen was born in Rosenborg NE on November 7, 1931, youngest son of Carl Frederick Jacobsen Jr. and Marie Olesen Jacobsen. His ancestors were immigrants from Denmark. He grew up in Genoa, NE with his two sisters, Shirley and Elaine, and attended college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE. While in Lincoln, DeVerne lived with his elder sister Elaine Vakiner and her family. After graduating with a degree in Pharmacology, DeVerne worked alongside his brother in law Gray Vakiner.
Gwendolyn Mae Scrivner was born in Trenton NE on September 15, 1937, the youngest daughter of Forrest Jesse Scrivner and Eugenia Grosse Krause. Her mother’s family immigrated from Germany, and her father’s ancestors have been traced back to the Mayflower. She grew up in Haigler, NE with her two sisters, Dorothy and Marilyn, and attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. She later obtained a Masters degree in Education from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR.
Gwen and DeVerne met in a Lutheran church group. The story goes that Gwen asked DeVerne out, but he refused because he wanted to take dance lessons before he could ask her out! The two were married in Lincoln NE on Mar 22, 1959. In 1963, they answered an advertisement for McLain’s Drug Center in Grants Pass, OR and made their way west.
Upon arriving in Grants Pass, Gwen worked as a social worker and DeVerne worked as a pharmacist at McLains. With three young sons, Gwen earned her Masters degree, and began her 25 year career as an English teacher at Grants Pass High School. Her sons remember her grading papers late into the nights.
Their spiritual devotion has been a cornerstone of their private and public life. For almost 60 years they have been active at St. Paul’s Lutheran church. There they have formed lifelong friendships with many other families. The couple were involved in many groups and activities aside from church. DeVerne and Gwen both worked on the board of ARC and SPARC and co-founded ASPIRE. DeVerne served at Greenleaf Industries, which benefits developmentally disabled people. DeVerne also was on the board of Asante, the major hospital in Grants Pass. DeVerne was especially skilled with technology, and spent much of his free time working behind the scenes managing newsletters and helping friends resolve computer issues. Gwen was a lifetime member of AAUW (American Association of University Women). As a member of the Piecemakers quilting group, she mentored young girls with a special interest in quilting and sewing.
The couple loved to travel whenever and wherever possible. Gwen learned to read, write, and speak Russian, and then spent 6 months abroad teaching English in Petrozavodsk, and later other countries. They formed friendships with the people they met around the world, and hosted exchange students in their home.
Their love of serving and helping others was a common theme throughout both their lives, and lives on in the family and friends they have left behind. Gifts may be sent to support the Gwen and DeVerne Jacobsen Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to students of Grants Pass High School. The scholarship had previously been created to honor her during her life. The Jacobsens would also be happy to have others support nearly any charity which helps people. Gwen would tell her family for Christmas she would rather see a donation helping others than receive some material gift for herself.
Redwood Foundation for Education
PO BOX 1598, Grants Pass OR 97528