Herbert Gerhard Jakob, M.D., passed away in Cleveland on June 11, 2019. Services were June 14 and interment followed at Lake View Cemetery. Arrangements were handled by Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel. Rabbi Steven Denker officiated.
Dr. Jakob was born in Saint Ingbert, near Spiesen-Elversberg, Germany, in 1929. His family fled Germany for Luxembourg in 1935, then came to Cleveland Heights in 1938. His parents were founding members of the synagogue Gates of Hope, later named Congregation Shaarey Tikvah.
Dr. Jakob learned English at Coventry Road Elementary School in Cleveland Heights.
At 14, he obtained a provisional driver license so he could drive a truck for Dembovitz Bakery on Coventry, delivering bread before his school day started at Roosevelt Junior High School. He once delivered to a restaurant and was asked by the owner if the rolls were stale. The owner had a pistol on the table. Replying that the rolls were fresh, the owner replied, “You’re a good boychik.” The owner was Shondor Birns.
By the age of 17, he had saved $6,000 from that job to help his parents buy a house on Whitethorn Road.
Dr. Jakob graduated from Cleveland Heights High School. In 1947, then enrolled in Adelbert College (now Case Western Reserve University).
He was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1948 and assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1949, then a sergeant, he was transferred to the active reserves. He then resumed his studies, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and then a medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
While a surgical resident at the former Mt. Sinai Hospital of Cleveland, he met a British nurse named Margaret. They were married in London in 1958.
After leaving Mount Sinai, Dr. Jakob took a position at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, Calif. He was the only surgeon in Humboldt County, allowing him to hone his considerable talents in all areas of surgery. While there, he was made an honorary member of the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe.
Dr. Jakob returned to Cleveland Heights in 1964 and worked for the Community Health Foundation. He and some other physicians from that group founded the Ohio region of Kaiser Permanente, the first HMO in Ohio.
Dr. Jakob was for many years Kaiser’s regional chief of surgery. He also spent 10 years as physician-in-chief of the Ohio region, during which time he attended and graduated from the advanced management program at Harvard Business School.
Dr. Jakob was not only a proponent, but a practitioner of physical fitness. An avid weightlifter and later runner, he encouraged his children in sports.
All of his children were varsity athletes at Cleveland Heights High School, which inducted him into its hall of fame in 1992. He was fervently proud of how the Heights schools shaped his life and those of his children.
Dr. Jakob retired in 1995. He became a full-time grandfather to four grandchildren and later volunteered as a docent with Congregation Shaarey Tikvah’s Face to Face Holocaust education program. The program still uses a centuries-old Torah that his family hid and brought from Germany.
Dr. Jakob is survived by his two daughters, Linda (Stephen Barrett) of Shaker Heights, Dr. Harriet (Dr. Keith Kruithoff) of Shaker Heights and his son, Charles Jakob of Sacramento, Calif. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Hannah and Jemma Barrett and Bradley and Caroline Kruithoff.
He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Margaret Rimmer; his parents, Eugene and Friedl Jakob; and a grandchild, Emma Madeline Barrett.
Contributions are suggested to the Hospice of the Western Reserve, Kol Israel Foundation’s Face to Face Holocaust Education Program, or the Heights Schools Foundation, c/o the CH-UH School District.