My Great-Uncle, Irving Jacobs passed away this morning at the ripe old age of 100.  This past summer we got the family together for a big birthday party out in East Brunswick, NJ. 

The thing is, I didn’t know my uncle Irving well.  My grandfather, Sol Jacobs (who passed away Memorial Day weekend 2006) had 3 brothers and 1 sister.  I never really knew my great-aunt Sally, and had only met great-uncle Dave – the eldest of the Jacobs’ a handful of times, and same with uncle Irving.  The plan to get the extended family together over the summer was the brainchild of me and my cousin Stacey, though she was the one who suggested it coincide with Irving’s 100th birthday. 

Everyone pitched in, including my cousin Dee who got him on the Today Show getting a happy birthday from Willard Scott.  We met that morning at his assisted living home for bagels and cake, and replayed the video.  Irving’s youngest brother, my great uncle Harry was in attendance.  It was nice to see them chatting, though I have no idea what they talked about.  At this point in their lives, after not seeing each other very often over the last number of years, what do you talk about?

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at my father’s cousin’s house in East Brunswick.  There were many new family members since we’d all gotten together – new wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, and children.  When my father was young this entire group would get together on a regular basis, but as the family grew the gatherings separated.  This sort of thing just happens, I guess.

The important moral here is to get the whole mishbucha together as often as possible, because you never know when you may lose someone.  Sure, Uncle Irving lived to see 100, and that’s great!  I’m glad I got to see him one last time before he passed.  And even though I never knew him well we did share a last name, and a family.  One day we’ll all be gone, but for now I will put forth a more concerted effort to reach out to my family more often, to get together whenever we can, to just…be a family.

Irving Jacobs
August 2, 1910 – December 19, 2010