Meet Jake –
His story is one of grit and determination. He has worked hard his entire life and has overcome many obstacles. Yet, he maintains an attitude of gratitude and lifelong service to others.
Jake was born in Grand Rapids but later moved to Duluth where he graduated from high school. His siblings included two brothers and three sisters.
During his senior year he met Marcella, a sophomore attending boarding school in Duluth. She was living with her cousin’s family during the school year and would go back home to Strasburg, North Dakota in the summers.
Jake enlisted in the Marine Reserve and then joined the Marines in 1949 after he graduated. He attended Boot Camp located in San Diego, California. During his four year, nine month and six day military career, he was stationed in the Philippine’s and Korea as a military police officer.
Jake took leave and came back to Minnesota to see Marcella about six months before being discharged from the service. He hitchhiked from California to North Dakota where he met up with Marcella’s Aunt who gave him a ride to Marcella’s house in the country.
The crazy kids decided to get married while Jake was home on leave. He sent a telegram to his commander asking for an extension of his leave. Unfortunately, he never got a response before he had to hitchhike back to California. Once he arrived, his commander was pretty surprised to see him. Apparently the telegram was sent but the operator in North Dakota didn’t get it to Jake on time.
Marcella moved to California a couple months later to join him. After he discharged from the military, Jake worked for Beacon’s Van and Storage for about a year then got a job at Douglas Aircraft working the day shift and attending college in the evening for Police Science.
He was hired on to the Santa Ana Police department in 1954 where he worked for about 11 years. He left the police force and worked for Prudential Insurance for about a year. They moved back to Minnesota in 1965 where he was hired on to the Marshall Police department as a rookie with 11 years of experience. Over time he built up quite the reputation, ticketing all those who broke the law, including the mayor, commissioners, and city officials. He even issued a warrant for a city councilman’s arrest for outstanding parking tickets; everyone paid, regardless of their status. At that time a parking ticket was only 50 cents!
In addition to his service career, Jake has been a lifelong volunteer with a number of organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, American Legion/Honor Guard, VFW, Scouts, Red Cross and the Southwest Sportsman’s Club. This is where his experience with high school home economics came in handy. He was the chief cook and bottle washer for many these organizations for many years. He started baking and cooking as a hobby but people quickly discovered that he was really good at it! He hosted a lot of wild game feeds for the Sportsman’s Club cooking moose, deer, antelope, caribou, buffalo, bear, squirrel, beaver, raccoon, as well as a wide variety of fish.
In 1978, things drastically changed for Jake when he had a heart attack. It was during this time that Jake began to deal with his alcohol addiction. He attended an AA meeting while recovering from his heart attack. The meeting consisted of all women. They invited Jake in anyway but told him if he wanted to come back, he would have to bring some treats next time. Well, that is something right up Jake’s alley. He brought in 2 dozen caramel rolls to the next meeting where they spent several hours talking and ate the whole batch! He met with those ladies and brought treats one time a week for 36 years!
When Marcella retired, they bought a lake home where they lived until moving to Shepherd of Grace in 2013.
Marcella and Jake will celebrate 63 years of wedded bliss this coming July and Jake is celebrating 37 years of sobriety. When I said he has an attitude of gratitude, I wasn’t kidding. He is the most humble, gracious man you will ever meet! Today Jake continues his volunteer service by displaying the American Flag outside Shepherd of Grace every day and retiring it at dusk every night.
We are proud that Jake and Marcella call Shepherd of Grace home!