By Jodi King
An oak seedling was planted by Lois and her husband Art outside their home when they moved in over 50 years ago. A brief encounter with Lois and you realize this oak tree, a symbol of strength and endurance, is simply reflecting the physical attributes of the woman living inside.
Yet it is the piano downstairs that embodies her spirit. Lois was drawn to music from as far back as she can remember. It was probably seeing the piano at her aunt’s home that led her to plead with her parents for lessons. Times were hard, but by her eighth birthday she had started lessons. Lois received a good musical foundation from a teacher who gave her a scholarship after hearing her play at her eighth-grade recital. She has never stopped playing and has added music to the lives of many playing in churches and at community events. Locally, she played at the Mercer Island Congregational Church.
Lois is a highly regarded piano teacher and a member of the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA). Her involvement with MTNA and many years of dedication to teaching is culminating in the MTNA awarding Lois with the teacher fellowship award, at their March 2019 convention, in Spokane, WA. At 93, Lois is still teaching, two days a week. Reflecting on her love of nature and music she writes:
“This race is filled with sunrises and sunsets, beautiful flowers and nature in all its magnificence. Your eyes have delighted in the glory and you slowed your pace to absorb it all…. Music of all kinds floats along with your days but natures music, that surpasses the need for words, must be tuned into the pitch to hear it.”
Raised in Montana, with twin sisters, she would agree that the place someone grows up shapes them. The small size of her hometown and its closeness to nature providing her with both self-sufficiency and an appreciation for her natural surroundings. Her Swedish heritage may have helped her not think twice about pulling on her galoshes and going back and forth to school at 50 below zero. So, when the storm on Mercer Island hit in 2006 knocking down trees and power for 10 days there was no rush to find a place with heat to stay, just patience for the power to be turned on.
Lois attended college at University of Montana but with the start of World War II she married a medical student and moved to Chicago, Spokane, Metaline Falls and finally near one of her sisters on Mercer Island in 1966. A few years later, Lois remarried Art Jacobson, who had lost his wife to cancer. Together raising their combined seven children.
Art was a retired distinguished navy pilot and they took many trips flying in their private planes. Together for business and pleasure she and Art flew all over the country, South America and the Caribbean. While flying over a South American jungle Lois decided she needed to learn to fly in case something happened. So at 52 she soloed and logged over 35 hours.
With such a full life, Lois reflects:
“We are born into this world and begin the long and often times bumpy race through life, during which hopefully one learns to receive love and then give love, how to survive small obstacles and setbacks so that you can survive the big ones…how to share something you have learned with others…leaving your part of the world a bit better than you found it.”
If we tune our pitch to the oak tree outside Lois’s home, we would hear it telling us about the amazing woman living inside, the love, the learning, the sharing and how our world is more than a bit better.