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August 26, 2013

Stamford mayor dies at age 65

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Stamford Mayor Michael A. Jacobs, 65, died unexpectedly Saturday, resulting in a great loss for the community, two trustees and the chairwoman of the county Republican Party said Sunday.

Jacobs, a lawyer with Jacobs & Jacobs in Stamford, had started his third term in March. He died at Delaware Valley Hospital in Walton, an obituary said, and Maria Kelso, a long-time family friend, said the cause was a heart attack.

“He was an outstanding man, he was a friend to everybody,” Kelso said. “We have lost a terrific, terrific human being.”

Kelso said Jacobs collapsed at the third annual Delaware County Republican Pig Roast and Family Barbecue at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Walton on Saturday. The Walton emergency squad, a Franklin town justice and others made a tremendous effort to try to save him, she said.

“It was horrific,” she said. 

Kelso said she took family members to the hospital and home later.

“It was a very sad day,” said Kelso. “He was proud of his children and loved his wife.’’

Jacobs, chairman of the Republican Committee for the town of Harpersfield, was an asset to the county Republican Committee, Kelso said.

Trustees will meet at Stamford Village Hall at 1 Trustee Reid Golden said Trustee Joan Hinman is deputy mayor. The board is likely to appoint her acting mayor and discuss making an appointment to fill her trustee seat, he said.

Donna Jacobs, the late mayor’s wife, also is a village trustee. The village has a population of about 1,120 people, Delaware County directory data said. 

The mayor was ``very visible” and well-liked in the community, Trustee John Bonhotal said, and his death “is a shock to the community.”

The Stamford Village Board of Trustees met Tuesday night and had a productive meeting, Bonhotal said. Jacobs was a strong leader and good organizer who relied on trustees for advice.

“He was an excellent lawyer,” Bonhotal said. “He was the guy you wanted on your side if you’re going into the courtroom.”

Jacobs, also a skilled race car driver and pilot, “lived life every day to the fullest,” Bonhotal said.

Bonhotal and Golden echoed each other in describing Jacobs’ approach to municipal governance: Keeping taxes down while seeking the best for the community. Though an enthusiastic Republican, party politics wasn’t part of local governance, they said.

“He was great for the community, he had the best in mind for the community continually,” Golden said. “It’s a real loss to Stamford.”

Jacobs was a graduate of Stamford Central School, McGill University and Albany Law School of Union University, according to the Jacobs & Jacobs website. His legal worked included matrimonial, criminal, negligence, product liability, medical malpractice and commercial matters.

Jacobs also was very supportive of his son, Peter, a musician, colleagues said Sunday. Peter’s band, Dirty Blind, was playing at the GOP picnic on Saturday, Kelso said.