In Memoriam

It is with profound sadness that we must share with you news of the unexpected passing of our beloved Jared Jacobsen. Jared died Tuesday afternoon near Ashtabula, Ohio, the result of a tragic vehicle accident on a rural highway. Jared had just completed his summer at the Chautauqua Institution this past Sunday evening and was visiting friends in the nearby area before returning to San Diego Friday night. He would have resumed his place at our organ bench on Sunday morning for Pastor Kurt’s first day with us.

Jared has been sharing his gift of music with us at First Lutheran Church since 1996. His was the common thread that wove so many elements of our life in community together. For Jared, music was prayer, and preparing liturgies for worship a personal expression of devotion. We were blessed that we could share Jared with the summer community in Chautauqua, New York—a sacred place for Jared that he had called home since he was 5 years old. Imagine, 65 years of homecomings to the place where he developed his passion for the magnificence of the pipe organ, a place where he was also blessed to become the resident organist also beginning in 1996. Before coming to First, Jared had been the San Diego Civic Organist in the late 1970s and early 1980s, playing the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park every Sunday afternoon, and other concerts throughout the year. He continued to play the Spreckels Organ as a guest recitalist each year.

When Jared returned to San Diego each September, he also resumed another of his favorite jobs as a faculty member at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla. Students referred to him as Mr. J. If the school’s music department was presenting a recital, a choir production, or an excellent presentation of Broadway’s best-known musicals, Jared was at the keyboard bringing light and life to the musical stage. His students will sorely miss his exuberance and knowledge.

In coming weeks, we at First Lutheran will gather as the whole church in one service to remember our dear brother Jared. The schedule for the memorial will be announced as soon as plans are completed. Other memorials are taking place as well, testament to the gift that Jared was to so many. A service will be live-streamed Friday morning, August 30, on the Chautauqua Institution’s Facebook page beginning at 8:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. The Spreckels Organ Society will also remember Jared at a special event later in the fall.

Words at such a time fail us. They are inadequate to the depth of the emotions we have arising from within our hearts for the loss of such a special person. Scripture does offer these words of comfort from our Lord Jesus for a time such as this:

“Blessed are those who mourn,

for they shall be comforted.”

The article from Chautauqua announcing Jared’s passing:

Chautauqua’s Facebook page:

Chautauqua has also created a tribute page for Jared: