Richard (“Dick”) Godfrey Jacobus passed away peacefully on January 28, 2021 at age 91 in Hobe Sound, FL. Richard is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Carolyn (Royer), his dear sister Susanna Souder and his cherished children Nancy (Peter) Bach, Barbara (Merrick) Wells, Kathy Sue Jacobus, Rick Jacobus, Marcy (Tom) Coker and Susanna Jacobus; adored by “Opa” 15 grandchildren Chris (Stephanie), Nick, Caroline, Natalie, Merrick, Noah, Sarah (Sean), Jack, Oliver, Carolyn, Caleb (Aislinn), Thomas (Merrill), Richard, Susanna, Lucy and 2 great-grandchildren William and Sophia; many loved relatives and special friends. Richard is predeceased by his parents, Delwin Charles and Harriet Godfrey Jacobus, brothers Charles D. Jacobus and John T. Jacobus.
Born October 19, 1929, Richard grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, graduating from Wauwatosa High School. Richard received both an undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a loyal alumnus of Delta Upsilon fraternity. In the winter of his senior year at Madison, Richard met Carolyn Royer, who would become the love of his life and he, her “honey”. Richard and Carolyn began their married life together in Jacksonville, FL where Richard served in the US Coast Guard. Availing himself of time free from duty at lunch, Richard was drawn to watching the Big Board displayed at the local brokerage for all passers-by to see. It was then he committed to a career in finance and soon Richard and Carolyn returned to Wisconsin to be near family and friends. Richard’s first business opportunity as a young man was with Newton & Company and it quickly was apparent that Richard was an entrepreneur. Richard rose to President in 4 years, leading the expansion of services by the founding of Inland Financial Corporation (later Inland Heritage, Heritage Wisconsin) and the establishment of The Bank of Milwaukee & Trust Company in 1966. Over 2 decades with Richard’s strong leadership, the business grew to 18 Heritage Banks and branches and 4 financial subsidiaries serving many communities around southeastern WI. In 1985, this chapter of Richard’s career concluded with the sale of Heritage Wisconsin Corporation to the M&I Marshall & Ilsley Corporation.
Richard went on to be CEO of Johnson Financial Services Group (later Johnson International) where he spent 7 very rewarding years. Eager to continue his career upon retirement from Johnson International, Richard founded Jacobus Wealth Management (JWM). Richard was a pioneer in the multi-family office enterprise, remaining active until its sale in 2017. As well, he was a Founding Director and initial Chairman of Gulfstream Business Bank, Stuart, FL. In all his business ventures Richard encouraged others to be assertive and pursue their personal dreams, a hallmark of his character.
Civic responsibility was instilled in Richard and his siblings, with their father, Delwin and grandfather, Charles C. having been strong stewards of the community. The Greater Milwaukee area provided a welcoming community and base for Richard's civic spirit to flourish. His local contributions early on meant leadership roles with the Downtown Association of Milwaukee,
Milwaukee Analysts Society, Young Presidents’ Organization and the Greater Milwaukee Committee, which in turn led to more opportunities to lend business acuity serving on the Boards of the Association of Bank Holding Companies, Purity Cheese Company, Mosinee Paper Corporation, Moebius Printing Company, The Mutual Group (US), and The Bradley Trusts. Additionally, his support of Wisconsin educational institutions included positions with the University of WI Foundation, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Regents, Carroll College and Beloit College. Richard rounded out his business passion by helping to strengthen arts, culture and healthcare in Milwaukee. He proudly collaborated with community leaders, highlighted by efforts to advance the stature of the Milwaukee Art Center, to enhance capacity at St. Luke’s Hospital, and to oversee Summerfest in 1973. Richard was humbled by the recognition he received with an Honorary Doctorate from MSOE in 1997. His legacy of giving continues through the Richard G. Jacobus Family Foundation.
Richard and Carolyn enjoyed an endearing life together raising their 6 children and spending time with each other. They shared the joy of building three homes as well as traveling with family and friends, often through Richard's business associations. Richard and Carolyn used every chance to shop for antiques and artwork to bring back home. From childhood through college days and beyond, Richard had extraordinary and enduring friendships many of which developed into strong family relationships with his Carolyn and their children by his side. Tennis and golf were among Richard’s favorite hobbies. Richard was an active member of the Western Racquet Club (Founding Director), the University Club (President 1979-81), the Milwaukee Country Club and Loblolly. He was a steadfast member of the First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa and the Stuart Congregational Church.
Above all, Richard valued many family traditions that he and Carolyn created. Sunday dinners at the end of the work week with his family as well as festive birthday and holiday celebrations often with the greater Jacobus or Royer families were an integral part of his life. Richard and Carolyn took great delight in selecting together special gifts for each family member.
Undeterred when the children left home and the family grew, Richard and Carolyn graciously hosted milestone birthday trips across the country and vacations in their lovely River Hills and Loblolly homes. The most treasured of traditions was the annual week spent at Coon’s Franklin Lodge on Trout Lake in Northern Wisconsin. Richard and his brothers as well as his son, Rick, attended neighboring Red Arrow Camp on Trout Lake in their youth. This time with family, a gathering every summer since 1955, brought him profound serenity and happiness.
To his beloved family, Richard imparted his character of integrity, perseverance and generosity. ‘Initiate’ was his motto and in celebrating his exemplary life his family affirms ‘he rang the bell’ in the many dimensions of his long and blessed life. Private family funeral services will take place in Stuart, Florida. A celebration of Richard’s life will be held in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin at a later date. Memorials are appreciated to the First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa, 1511 Church Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53213, Stuart Congregational Church 3110 SE Aster Lane, Stuart, FL 34994 or the charity of your choice.
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