Dennis J Jacobsen

Obituary for Dennis J Jacobsen

March 18, 1943 - May 4, 2019
Waterloo, Illinois | Age 76

Loving Father, Husband and Judge


Dennis J. Jacobsen, 76, of Waterloo, passed away peacefully at home with family on May 4, 2019. He was born March 18, 1943, in St. Louis, son of the late Fred and Antoinette (nee Borgerding) Jacobsen. He was married to Patricia 'Tish' Turner, who survives him. They were married August 4, 1975, in Urbana, IL.

Dennis was a retired Monroe County Circuit Judge, devoted husband and father, and friend to many.

Upon graduating from St. Peter and Paul High School and a brief time at Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, he served four years in the Air Force. After receiving an early release, he graduated from the University of Illinois majoring in Journalism. While working his way through school, he was employed by the News-Gazette. After graduating, he worked at the St. Louis Post Dispatch where his love of black and white photography began and his brief experience at newspapers would end. Next, he decided to go to law school where he would meet Tish Turner, his future wife.

After graduation from the University of Illinois Law School in 1972 at 29 years of age, he had an internship with the Illinois Senate for a year. Then he was appointed Parliamentarian of the Senate while working part-time at a Springfield law firm. Disillusioned with politics, he took a job at a law firm in Champaign to be with Tish.

The Monroe County Democrats asked him to run for State's Attorney. After campaigning door to door for four months, he was elected in 1976. He was appointed to be an Associate Judge in the 20th Circuit Court for five years. In 1984 he was elected the resident circuit judge, the same year his son Erik was born. "Fair but firm" was his campaign slogan which he kept admirably. He retired from the bench in 2001.

Dennis was a skilled open whitewater boater who taught at the Missouri Whitewater Association (MWA) clinics for many years. He was a voracious reader especially to develop his skills in all his hobbies. His other passions were tying his own flies for fly fishing, flat water canoeing in the MO streams, road and mountain bicycling, and hiking especially in Colorado and National Parks. Being an avid learner, he joined 3 camera clubs to develop his skills as an accomplished photographer. He was a board member for Clifftop Alliance and member of the MWA.

Also surviving are his son, Erik (Katherine) Jacobsen of San Francisco, and brother John (Judy) Jacobsen of Columbia, along with other relatives and friends.

Many thanks to Family Hospice and his compassionate caregivers for making his last few months as rich as possible.

Celebration of Life arrangements are pending.

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed to: Clifftop Alliance
  • Clifftop Alliance
    P. O. Box 131
    Maeystown, IL 62256

Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
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