In Memory of
John S. Jacoby
April 8, 2015
The memorial service for John has been set for Saturday,
May 2nd. Please join us in honoring and celebrating JJ's
rich life and legacy.
Time: 11:30am - 2:30pm (memorial followed by light
Location: The Rubin Museum of Art
150 W 17th Street @ 7th Avenue
New York City
The Rubin Museum is dedicated to the collection,
display, and preservation of the art and cultures of the
Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, so we couldn't
think of a better place to share our memories of John.
We welcome people to share their reminiscences and
stories at the service itself - and if you can remember
any good JJ jokes, we'd welcome those too. If
interested, please email Maggie at
she will coordinate.
People have asked how they can honor John, and we are
asking donations to be made to the Peace Corps Nepal
Country Fund in his memory. You can do so by clicking on
When doing so, please note that this is a donation “in
memory of” John Jacoby, and also you can check the box
that gives consent for Peace Corps to notify us of the
No RSVP necessary, but please share this with anyone you
think might want to attend, as we don't have everyone's
We are so grateful for the enormous outreach and support
given to us this past week, and know that every email,
call, letter and card has provided great comfort.
Carolyn, Sara, & Maggie
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write to say
that our dear John Jacoby passed away yesterday. His
wife Carolyn sent an email to "Dearest All" saying...
"John died peacefully at home yesterday surrounded by
those he loved the most and who loved him.
When he was 21 and had to find his way to a small Nepali
village, it was a two day walk without any map or
directions and he found his way. And now as he begins
this next journey, we know he'll find his way once
All of your letters, emails and phone calls have
bolstered us during the past 16 months. Thank you for
being his friend and being such an important part of his
We are planning a memorial service, most likely in early
May, and details on that and others way to remember and
honor John will be forthcoming."
May I add that fewer men have had a mightier heart or a
more beautiful soul. May flights of angels take him to
Cathy Foerch Pavelec
John Jacoby, airport
general manager and Peace Corps official from Ridgewood,
dies at 66
April 23, 2015,
6:19 PM Last updated: Friday, April 24, 2015, 9:04 AM
By Jay levin
staff writer |
“I was in an amazing place, this Himalayan kingdom, in a
time machine,” John Jacoby said of Nepal, where he spent
two years teaching science as a Peace Corps official.
“They were using ploughs that were the same technology
as when the Buddha walked the Earth.”
The experience stuck with Mr. Jacoby through three
decades working for the Port Authority. Upon retiring as
general manager of Newark Liberty International Airport
in 2011, the Ridgewood resident returned to the Corps —
as country director for South Africa. He and his wife,
Carolyn, relocated to Pretoria.
The second career lasted just two years. Mr. Jacoby came
home in late 2013 to be treated for pancreatic cancer.
He died on April 8 at age 66.
Before he took ill, Mr. Jacoby was informed his next
posting would be country director in Nepal, said Dick
Day, Peace Corps regional director for Africa.
The prospect thrilled Mr. Jacoby. His stint in Nepal —
he joined the Corps in 1970 out of Boston University —
was transformative. He resided without running water and
electricity in a mud house with a thatched roof, in a
remote village near the border with India. He taught in
the village school. He became fluent in the Nepali
“The Peace Corps was a seminal part of who he was,”
Carolyn Jacoby said. Mr. Jacoby himself told The Record
in 2011 — the 50th anniversary of the Corps — that his
experience in Nepal influenced every facet of his life
Mr. Jacoby “embodied the ideals of the Peace Corps and
brought great compassion and a real commitment to
understanding across cultures,” Day said. “He was an
extraordinary leader and manager for one of our most
difficult posts in the world.”
Mr. Jacoby oversaw 150 volunteers in South Africa and
medical, safety and security operations for the southern
Africa region. His Port Authority executive background
helped him “breathe new life and vitality into one of
our most complex programs,” Day said, adding:
“Airports are like little United Nations now, in how
diverse they are, and I remember John telling me about
his great joy in interacting with the diverse cultures
within Newark Airport.
“The great sadness of his passing is that Nepal was
John’s first love. He would have been there by now. He
would have come full circle.”
John Jacoby, a Manhattan native, began working for the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1977 as a
management analyst. Following a three-year leave during
which he worked for the World Health Organization in
Nepal, he held a succession of leadership positions,
mostly in aviation and culminating in general manager of
Newark and Teterboro airports.
When terrorists blew up a truck bomb beneath the World
Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, Mr. Jacoby was prevented
from evacuating because of the smoke. When terrorists
flew jetliners into the Twin Towers the morning of Sept.
11, 2001, and hijacked a Newark flight that crashed in
Pennsylvania, Mr. Jacoby, then the No. 2 manager at
Newark, was on duty. From the administration building
roof, he saw the second plane crash into the South
“Then they went into this extraordinary mode of shutting
down the airport, getting everyone in place, getting
everything secure,” Mr. Jacoby’s wife recalled. “No one
left that airport. I didn’t see him for three days.”
In the 12 years Mr. Jacoby worked at Newark, the media
sought him out for sound bites on the impact of the
holiday rush, snowstorms and the like. His advice had a
familiar ring. In 2000, when the airport was undergoing
a $3.8 billion improvement that included new roads and
parking garages, Mr. Jacoby urged travelers to leave for
Newark at least a half-hour earlier than they normally
would. “Why add to the anxiety by making a last-minute
dash to the airport?” he said.
John Jacoby had lived in Ridgewood since 1988 and
previously resided in Englewood, where he served on the
Board of Education.
Surviving are his wife of 42 years; daughters, Sara
Jacoby of Philadelphia and Maggie Jacoby of Manhattan; a
brother; and a grandson.
Arrangements were by Direct Cremations. A memorial
service is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. May 2 at Manhattan’s
Rubin Museum of Art, which showcases the art of the
Himalayas, the region that was so dear to Mr. Jacoby.