Neal Jacobs, 86, of Sour Lake, died Thursday, January 26, 2023, at Christus Southeast Texas-St. Elizabeth, Beaumont.
A good man took his final steps home today. While he may not have led a life that captured the attention of the popular culture, if you were lucky enough to know him well, you are living a much richer life today because of that relationship.
On the morning of July 30th, 1936, Dr. S.W. Hill rushed to John and Dorothy Jacobs’ farm outside of Regent, North Dakota, to deliver their second child. When the doctor left the farm that evening, Maryann had a baby brother, and John and Dorothy had their first son. Neal Jacobs had made his appearance. This small family would not remain small for very long. He was followed by Cletus, Julia, George, Jerry, Bob, Jane, Tony, and Deloris, with little Bonnie capping off the family of thirteen.
On the farm he was instilled with an abiding faith in Christ, a strong work ethic, and a self-discipline that would serve him well for his entire life.
He attended school in a one room schoolhouse that encompassed 1st through 8th grades. When he had completed the 8th grade, it became necessary for him to suspend his education and go to work for neighboring farmers to help support the family. He was allowed to keep a small portion of his earnings, but the vast majority was rolled into the family budget.
In 1955, at 19 years old, he joined the U.S. Army. There he attained his GED and learned auto mechanics. He served as a soldier in the 82nd airborne division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he made 69 parachute jumps. In 1959, he was honorably discharged from the army at the rank of SP5 (specialist) and returned to Hettinger, North Dakota, where he began his career as an automotive mechanic.
In 1960, he married Janice Caley and started his own family. First came Dave in 1961, then Bill in 1962, and Mike in 1963. Unable to support his family on a small-town North Dakota mechanic’s salary, he followed his brother-in-law to Beaumont, Texas, and went to work for Kinsel Ford as a full line mechanic. His work ethic and discipline quickly propelled him to the role of shop foreman and from there he went on to run the service departments of several local dealerships. He had built up a following of loyal customers who followed him from one dealership to the next giving him a huge advantage each time he made his next move.
While his success in his professional life soared, he misplaced some of the priorities in his personal life for a time. His wife and young children had left and returned to North Dakota. He was never able to repair the relationship with his wife and the marriage was dissolved.
In 1976, he opened Neal Jacobs Automotive on Mariposa St. (now M.L. King Blvd.) in Beaumont. That long list of loyal customers made him so successful that in 1984 he opened his second shop on College St., also in Beaumont. He was never more in his element than when he was welcoming the next customer in the door of one of his shops. Some businesses attach a bell to the door, so they know when a customer walks in. His employees knew a customer had walked in when they heard his voice above all of the air powered impact wrenches and racing engines shouting “HELLO MR. <YOUR NAME HERE>”
Along the way he did carve out some personal time and in 1986, against his better judgement, agreed to go on a blind date where he met Gloria Fontenot. It is a rare thing for someone to find exactly the right person at exactly the right time in life, but that is precisely what had happened. Neal’s life was forever divided into ‘before Gloria’ and ‘after Gloria’ and you can be assured that he would choose ‘after Gloria’ every day of his life.
If he had lost his way in his personal life ‘before Gloria’, he had found it and more ‘after Gloria’. It has been said that “life, like any game, can be won in the second half”. Neal stood as a sterling example of how to win life in the second half. And what a second half he had.
He and Gloria were married in 1987 and created a home that became the center of family life for them, their 8 children, their 17 grandchildren, and 32 great grandchildren for decades to come. Until hurricane Ike took their beach house, that was the destination of choice anytime the weather permitted. Fishing was always the activity of the day and cooking the day’s catch was always a joy to Neal. Of one thing you could be certain, if there was a gathering at Neal and Gloria’s, you were going to eat exceptionally well.
His smoked briskets where legendary and he often cooked them for church and charitable events. For over 20 years he spearheaded the annual raffling of a riding mower and trailer. He spent a great deal of time hauling them to assorted festivals and shopping centers selling all the tickets he possibly could. The proceeds were always used to buy Christmas gifts for the children of incarcerated parents. There were few things he enjoyed more than seeing the faces of the children receiving those gifts.
He became very involved in his local Knights of Columbus council, even serving as Grand Knight for a period of time. He devoted a great deal of time to his church in whatever capacity was asked of him and renewed his faith along the way. The high point of his walk with Christ was the A.C.T.S. retreat he attended several years ago. It was clear that he had been greatly moved by his experience that week.
If there was just one quality that would describe Neal ‘after Gloria’, it would be his willingness to do absolutely anything that was needed to help a family member or friend to make life a little easier, a little better, or just a little more bearable. There are some people in this life who, once you know they are involved in a situation, you just know everything will somehow be OK. That was Neal Jacobs ‘after Gloria’.
So, while the popular culture is sure to live their entire lives never hearing his name, the people he cared about most will never forget him or what he meant to his family and friends. Dad, we hope and pray that you knew just exactly how much we all loved you.
Survivors include his wife, Gloria Jacobs; children, David Jacobs and his wife, Stephanie, of Great Bend, Kansas; William “Bill” Jacobs and his wife, Linda, of Derby, Kansas; Mike Jacobs and his wife, Diana, of Spring; Dianne McClusky and her husband, Mike, of Sour Lake; Bryan Leger of Winnie; Darren Leger and his wife, Sharon; of Sulphur, Louisiana; Sandra Leger of Beaumont; and Madlyn Sykes and her husband, Miles, of Sour Lake; grandchildren, Sarah Waller and her husband, Jake; Amy Patzner and her husband, Matt; Jonathan Jacobs and his wife, Kaitlyn; Matthew Jacobs and his wife, Kristina; Shalena Jacobs; Nathaniel Jacobs; Nicholas Jacobs; Christopher McClusky and his wife, Nicole; Sarah Buser and her husband, Shawn; Barron Leger; Stephanie Wright; Jared Leger and his wife, Jennifer; Adam Leger and his wife, Erica; Jordon Leger and his wife, Carla; Dallas Cain and her husband, Jonathan; Dr. Maggie Brown and her husband, Luke; and Myla Sykes; thirty-two great-grandchildren; siblings, Cletus Jacobs and his wife, Flo, of Sundance, Wyoming; Judy Schnell and her husband, Leo, of Highland Ranch, Colorado; Jane Geissler and her husband, Al, of Bozeman, Montana; George Jacobs and his wife, Carol, of Beulah, North Dakota; Deloris Neilson and her husband, Rod, of Rapid City, South Dakota; Bob Jacobs of Woodville; Tony Jacobs and his wife, Bobbie, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Bonnie Fischer and her husband, Jr, of Bismarck, North Dakota.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Maryann Krebs; and brother, Jerry Jacobs.
A gathering of Mr. Jacobs’ family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., with a Rosary recited, at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, 225 West Barkley, Sour Lake. His interment will follow at China Cemetery, China.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Jacobs’ memory to Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, P.O. Box 1359, Sour Lake, Texas 77659.
Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
- 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
- January 31, 2023
- 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
- 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
- January 31, 2023
- 6:30 pm
Mass of Christian Burial
Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church
- 225, W Barkley St, Sour Lake, TX, 77659,
- February 1, 2023
- 10:00 am
- 463, Benoit Ave, China, TX, 77613,
- February 1, 2023
Love and prayers to you and your family, Gloria. Love, Kay
My condolences to Gloria and family. I never knew Neal well, but bought many a lawnmower raffle ticket (I never won). What a ministry that was for him and countless hours he put in doing that. I got to know him a little better after taking lawn mowers and such to him for repairs the last couple of years. He was in his element sitting in his driveway amongst all those broken down machines, you could tell he loved what he did. Heaven has inherited a great mechanic.
My family’s sincere condolences. I know that Neal was loved by many and will be missed by even more. The world lost a good man. I remember the first time that I saw him and Aunt Dean together. He was cutting up and making her laugh. I knew he was going to be special in her life. I’m so thankful for that and for him bringing so much love to my beautiful Aunt and many others.
So sorry to hear about Neal. Everyone at
Triangle Engine sends our thoughts and
prayers to the family. You will be missed.
Madelyn & Miles,
I am so sorry to hear of Neal’s passing. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.
Sincere condolences to Neil’s wife, siblings and the whole family. My husband Gerry and I never met Neil even though he was my first cousin, I wish I had, it sounds like he was wonderful man.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. PaPa Neal was one of the finest men I’ve ever known. My family is blessed beyond measure to have known and loved him and to have been loved by him for many years. We are not just neighbors, we are family. He loved my two boys like his own. I find comfort knowing he’s with our Savior cooking up a storm and fixing all the engines, big or small. The world is a much better place because of Neal. May God be with you all. Much love to Miss Gloria & all his family–Chris, Emily, Aaron & Andrew Allen
He was a wonderful man. Always there to help if you needed him. Miss you already DAD. Till we meet again. Pray for us. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️
Gloria. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the family. I remember when you had your blind date . He came to Jessie’s Style Center to see you and I could tell how much he loved you. What a beautiful life you had with him. Much love to you. Helen
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Neal and all of his family, friends and loved ones.
We knew Neal through St. Jude, our church, his K of C raffles and through bowling. Never won the raffle, but could never turn him down when he came around the next year. We did enjoy his BBQ on many occasions.
May GOD accept his soul and grant Neal an eternal life, as a member of the Family of GOD, in Heaven,
R.I.P. Neal. You are a good friend, I appreciate all the Briskets you cooked over the years for the Pinewood VFD fund raisers. While all your friends here on earth will miss your BBQ, all your friends in heaven that preceded you, are going to eat well now!
I’m so sorry for your loss. He was the nicest man and cooked the BEST briskets. He will enjoy his rewards from the Lord!
Bill, Dave,Gloria sorry for your loss he was a great man I sure miss going down to the beach house with Bill and getting in Neal’s boat and catching alot of fish. Neal treated like one of his sons he sure knew where the fish were. And Gloria I sure miss your Gumbo. Those times I will never ever forget!!! Love you guys!!!
We are deeply saddened to learn of Neal’s passing. We have missed his smiling face at church. We know he’s in Glory with our Lord. The boys said he was such a nice man.
Gloria, so sorry for your loss. Neal will definitely be missed by many. He was such a tremendous asset to
OUR LADY OF VICTORY. YOU AND NEAL have gone above and beyond to do whatever you did for the parishioners. I think of the many times he would get to the hall and light the oven for me to fix the fish for St. Joseph. RIP MY DEAR FRIEND 😇🌹🌻🐟🌹🐟🙏🏻🙏🏻
Sure going to miss you, BIG brother! You represented our family well as our Patriarch for almost 50 years after losing Dad. Wish we could have gotten together more often but dang, it’s a long ways to Texas and Texas really became “Home” to you. Now you can gather with our heavenly family until we all meet again! Love you Lots!
Neal Jacob will be greatly missed by all who knew him in the Sour Lake and Pinewood Communities. He was very pro active in helping the Fire Dept. snd raising funds for the community always with a smile. Neal loved his wife Gloria. family, his Church and