Julian Jacobs, MD, FACP, died Feb. 10, 2013, following a lifelong residence in Atlanta.
Dr. Jacobs was born, according to family myth, in an elevator at Georgia Baptist Hospital on Nov. 5, 1932 to Esther and Joseph Jacobs. He was one of three boys and was named after his grandmother Julia Ann. His two brothers were athletically talented, while Julian was considered the nerd of the family. Until 1950, he was known as “Cookie” rather than “Julian.”
He attended Samuel Inman Grammar School, O’Keefe Junior High and graduated Grady High School in 1950. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and was president of the pre-med society, AED, and the Cornell chapter of the AEPi fraternity. In 1958, he graduated fourth in his class at Emory University School of Medicine, where he was considered an “underachiever” by Dr. Evangaline Papageorge, whose assessment was not infrequently pointed out to him by Dr. Willis Hurst.
During his sophomore year of medical school, Julian and his friend Jim Shelburne fought to have race and religion quotas eliminated. This brought them a social circle consisting of each other and a few other class members, usually older, for the duration of their medical school education. Upon graduation from Emory, Dr. Jacobs pursued postgraduate training in internal medicine at Tufts Medical School in Boston and then later returned to Emory for a fellowship in hematology with the American Cancer Society under Benjamin Gendel.
Postgraduate clinical training was interrupted by two years of military service in Verdun, France with the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a USAREUR Captain. Julian joined the faculty of medicine at Emory in early 1960 and was chief of hematology/oncology at the VA Medical Center in Decatur, Ga. from the early 1960s until his retirement in 1994.
During Dr. Jacobs’s sophomore year of medical school, he married Norma Claire Glazer, the daughter of Sol and Minnie Glazer of Atlanta. Norma used the money she made teaching piano and Jewish music to support their family through the rest of Julian’s medical training. Shortly after Norma’s untimely death in 1992, Julian retired from teaching and patient care as an emeritus professor of hematology and medical oncology. He then became medical director of Peachtree Hospice for several years.
Julian’s interests included photography, Modern Hebrew as a spoken language and collecting different embroidered headcovers of the Jewish people (kippot/yarmulkes), pocket watches and bow ties. He was a lifelong supporter of Israel. He lived and worked for a year in Israel as the first physician in the development town of Arad.
Julian is survived by two children, Sol and Lenore, and his seven grandchildren, who he described as “the diamonds in his crown.” He is also survived by his daughter-in-law, Karen Nowicki, and his son-in-law, Ilan Fogel. He considered both of them his own children. In 1996, Julian married Eleanor Rosin, who offered support and encouragement during the “September of his years.” He was grateful to her for this.
Julian’s life was enriched by his personal and professional relationships in medicine, too many to mention. He hopes those not mentioned will understand. He took special note of Joseph Hardison and P.R. Sarma, both of whom were close colleagues at the VA Medical Center and Emory Medical School, and cherished them as both colleagues and friends. Rabbi S. Robert Ichay and Jim and Jacqueline Shelbune remained close friends throughout his lifetime. Norma’s cousins Rachel and Joe Glazer and their children played a major role in his life, and so did Norma’s cousins from Kibbutz Yavneh, who enriched his understanding and appreciation of what it means to be committed to the Jewish people, land and values. He remained close to his sister-in-law, Kitty Jacobs, throughout his life as well.
Julian said a number of times that the closest he could come to realizing his medical philosophy was to deliver high quality medical care to his patients at the VA Medical Center and Grady Hospital. He hoped that one day everyone would have access to affordable medical care. He did not suffer fools lightly and believed that people are obligated to use their talents to help themselves and others as much as possible.
In his golden years, Julian often said that, everything considered, he was satisfied that he contributed his best efforts to make the world a more fair place to live in his short visit on this earth. An online guestbook is available at edressler.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to American Friends of Yaakov Herzog Center for Jewish Studies, 77 W. Washington St. Ste. 1910, Chicago, IL 60602; or Soroka Medical Center Breast Cancer Center c/o Dr. Michael Koritz, soroka.org. Rabbi Michael Berger and Rabbi Hayyim Kassorla officiated at the graveside funeral on Feb. 11, 2013.