Robert Jacobsen

Obituary of Robert Jacobsen

July 26, 1942 – Bassano, Alberta

March 19, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


Bob (Robert) Jacobsen, of Calgary, AB, passed away on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the age of 81 years.


Born in Bassano, AB, on July 26, 1942, Bob spent his formative and adolescent years in Brooks, AB. He shared a small house with his parents and six siblings. The backyard held a quaint shack that his father rented out to seasonal pheasant hunters from the United States. As the family expanded, three boys eventually moved into the shack. Bob often reminisced about reading countless books there, the dim light of a single bulb nearly blinding him. His love for music led him to play the euphonium in the school band and march in the Calgary Stampede Parade. He also participated in football.


During the 1960s, Bob explored academic pursuits at the University of Alberta. Initially studying education, he later shifted his focus to commerce. His passion for writing led him to submit numerous short stories to writers’ magazines and contribute to the student newspaper. However, fate had other plans, and Bob found his calling in construction. Guided by his father Oscar and brother Tom, he honed his skills in framing, cabinetmaking, and even hand-mixing concrete. The physical labour left its mark—stretch marks from rapid muscle growth—a testament to his dedication.


In 1970, Bob completed a remarkable feat: a 4-year carpentry apprenticeship program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in just over one year. His experience allowed him to bypass the first two years of exams, earning credit for 30 of the requisite 48 months. Tragically, in August 1970, Bob’s beloved father, Oscar, passed away, leaving an indelible void. This loss became a turning point, focusing Bob’s determination.


In 1971, Bob participated in the International Carpenters Apprenticeship Competition. His skills and dedication shone brightly as he secured victory in the Calgary competition, followed by another win in the Alberta competition. His journey didn’t end there; he then competed for North American honours in Detroit, MI. Among 70 to 80 candidates, Bob achieved an impressive second place. His return was met with well-deserved accolades, including correspondence from the newly appointed Premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, regarding an awards banquet.


These successes propelled Bob into a fulfilling career in construction. Initially, he built homes for NuWest in Calgary for a year. Later, he joined ATCO Structures, where he spent an impressive 31 years. Throughout his tenure, Bob held various roles, including field supervisor, project manager, construction manager, and estimator. His work spanned the globe, contributing to worker housing projects in diverse locations:


     1. Mount Macdonald Tunnel:  Rogers Pass, BC.

     2. Oil Sands Extraction: Fort McMurray, AB.

     3. NATO Base: Supporting the war effort in Serbia.

     4. UN Base: Algeria.

     5. Diavik Mine Project: Northwest Territories.


Bob’s dedication to his craft was unwavering, even in the face of danger. On his first job for ATCO in northern Manitoba, he narrowly escaped disaster. Minutes after leaving a trailer, the furnace exploded, obliterating the building and its contents—including Bob’s briefcase and tools. Another harrowing incident occurred during a truck rollover in Fort McMurray, leaving Bob’s face bruised and with nerve damage. Yet, he persevered, eventually transitioning to office work in the early 1980s.


Bob’s personal life was equally significant. He met Marion Jacobsen (formerly Conybeare) while writing for the student newspaper at the University of Alberta in the 1960s. Although their relationship wasn’t permanent, they shared the joy of raising three children together and remained dedicated co-parents.


Bob’s most cherished memories revolved around childhood vacations. His family would load trunks onto the back of their car and embark on open-road journeys to the United States. These trips, filled with laughter and discovery, left an indelible mark on Bob’s heart.


While later adventures took him to Disneyland and to visit his son Christopher in Denmark, road trips remained his favourite. Whether exploring campgrounds or finding budget-friendly rooms in roadside motels, Bob revelled in the simple joy of tootling along through breathtaking scenery. He longed to share these nostalgic experiences from his childhood with his children.


Bob Jacobsen was more than a carpenter, more than a father—he was a master of mirth. His sense of humour was like a secret treasure, waiting to be discovered by anyone fortunate enough to cross his path. Bob had a knack for one-liners that could turn a mundane moment into a burst of laughter. Whether it was a clever quip during a family dinner or a witty remark at a construction site, he had the timing of a seasoned comedian.


So, let us remember Bob not only for his craftsmanship and resilience but also for the joy he sprinkled into our lives. His legacy isn’t just in the structures he built; it’s in the laughter he gifted—a legacy that will echo through generations.


Bob is survived by three devoted children: Christopher of Glostrup, Denmark, Dwayne of Calgary, AB, and Scott (Colleen), also residing in Calgary, AB. His love extends to three cherished grandchildren: AliciaArlo, and Thomas, all residing in Calgary.


In addition to his immediate family, Bob leaves behind two beloved sisters: Carol (John) Barbour and Janet Jacobsen. His memory is also intertwined with that of his late brothers: Tom JacobsenMike Jacobsen, and Jim Jacobsen, as well as his sister Susan Brown


The family of Bob Jacobsen extends heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated staff at Carewest Signal Pointe. For over five years, they provided unwavering care and compassion as Bob’s health declined. Their tireless efforts, kindness, and expertise made a profound difference in his life. We are forever grateful for their exemplary service during this challenging journey.


Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Bob’s family here.


In living memory of Bob Jacobsen, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Calgary Crematorium, 3219 – 4th Street NW, Calgary, AB, T2M 3A6, Telephone: 403-299-0111.

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