Former state Sen. Lawrence "Jake" Jacobsen, whose 40 years in the Legislature made him Nevada's state's longest-serving lawmaker, died Wednesday. He was 85.
The Minden Republican's death was confirmed by Gov. Kenny
Guinn's office. The governor ordered flags lowered to half-staff on
Jacobsen, who had been in poor health, retired in 2002 after his
northern Nevada Senate seat was eliminated as part of a
redistricting plan approved by the 2001 Legislature. He was elected
to the state Assembly in 1962 and served there until winning his
Senate seat in 1978.
"Sen. Jacobsen had Nevada stamped all over him," said state
Archivist Guy Rocha. "He was a genuine and caring person. Almost
everyone who knew him would say Jake was a gentleman."
"He said some things that were considered controversial, but he
was never mean-spirited. He was old-school, really a tribute to the
old Nevada - the old Nevada that is rapidly disappearing."
In the Legislature, Jacobsen held numerous leadership positions
in both the Senate and Assembly. He operated a bulk oil plant in
Minden for nearly 30 years, and regularly delivered heating oil to
customers around the Carson Valley while not involved in
legislative matters in Carson City.
Jacobsen was a long-standing member of the Douglas County Engine
Co. and active in many civic organizations. He also was a Navy
veteran who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. Jacobsen had lied
about his age and enlisted in 1939. He later said he joined because
he was "tired of milking the cows and feeding the pigs" at his
After Pearl Harbor, Jacobsen went on to fight in 15 other World
War II naval battles in the Pacific. At the invasion of Guadacanal,
his ship was hit and sunk, and he was one of only about 400
survivors from a crew of 1,400.
Funeral arrangements were pending.