Robert Francis Jacobs

Robert Francis Jacobs, known to his many friends as “Boo Boo,” passed away from a stroke on Oct. 2. He was 68 years old.

Robert was born in Sag Harbor on Feb. 2, 1953, the youngest of six, to Frances Bezubek and Charles Ludlow Jacobs. As a child, he often accompanied his father on fishing trips. “The bays around our little village kept us alive,” he wrote in his memoir. “We even went out in wintertime. Scallops were everywhere — from the Sag Harbor bridge to Shelter Island. Dad would throw out the dredge and we always got a lot of scallops, but man, was it cold!”

As an adult, Robert made his living as a professional housepainter, while retaining a keen interest in fishing, clamming, gardening and woodworking. His varied talents made him a valuable source of advice on the solving of common household problems. “He had an amazing ability to find the easiest way out of an annoying situation,” said his longtime partner Jean Ely. “He was a natural engineer.”

Throughout his life, Robert’s greatest love was music. He was an accomplished harmonica player and, in later years, taught himself how to play the dulcimer, often accompanying his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Besides the Dead, he loved country, bluegrass and classic 60’s rock bands. 

Robert spent his last decade living on Shelter Island. “To think it was here all the time,” he said, “And I never knew how beautiful it was.” He also spent his time spoiling his two rescue cats, his “children.”

Robert will be remembered by his friends for his natural curiosity, his kindness, and above all an unstoppable wit that would keep people laughing even through the worst of times.

Said his friend and landlady, Anita Cicero of Shelter Island: “He was so free in his enjoyment of people. He was one of the few people I know who would tell us he loved us so freely. He made us able to tell each other that.”

In 2016, Robert discovered Maine. “That’s where my heart is,” he would say. “That is my home away from home.” And that is where he spent his final two weeks, in the mountains of Rangely, on his beloved Moosehead Lake, and at the coast of Lubec. He spent his last time on earth in a place that he loved.