Long-time board member, dedicated advocate for kids, passes
One of Golisano Children’s Hospital’s longest-serving board members passed away on Feb. 5. Robert G. Jacobson, who was known as “Bob J” around the halls of the hospital for more than two decades, was often the first to raise his hand when the hospital needed a volunteer.
“If it involved (Golisano Children’s Hospital), Bob was there championing our mission,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Our hearts go out to his wife, Pat, their two daughters, and their grandchildren.We will miss Bob greatly.”
Mr. Jacobson was vice-chair of the Golisano Children’s Hospital fundraising board, a member of the board’s executive committee and co-chairman of the Community Fundraising Committee. He was the director of Human Resources for B&L Wholesale Supply, Inc., one of the hospital’s most committed corporate supporters.
B&L, which distributes residential roofing, siding, windows, doors, decking, veneer stone and commercial roofing, and has the largest inventory and delivery fleet in the Finger Lakes region, has a long history of giving to Golisano Children’s Hospital. B&L’s involvement with the hospital dates back to its first Charity Golf Tournament in 1995, when it raised $3,000. To date, the company has raised more than $1 million and recently committed to raising $500,000 to name the new hospital’s PET/MRI Suite. Mr. Jacobson has played a large role in facilitating those gifts from B&L owners Don Tomeny, Art Finocchario, and Bob Latour.
“We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Bob, for his years of service to the board and the level of dedication he had for our region’s children,” said Scott Rasmussen, senior assistant vice president of Advancement.
Mr. Jacobson served on the board through the most transformative times of the children’s hospital. When he first joined the board in 1990, the children’s hospital was still a center. In the years since, the hospital has added a robust outpatient program and it became a hospital-within-a-hospital. In 2002, with a $14 million commitment from B. Thomas Golisano, the hospital became Golisano Children’s Hospital. And Mr. Jacobson recently helped the hospital launch a $100 million campaign to build a new hospital on Crittenden Boulevard.
Mr. Jacobson had already served more than a decade on the board when current-chair Mark Siewert joined. Siewert’s son was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when he attended his first meeting, which also happened to be a night when a photographer was there to take portraits of all the board members. Siewert was, understandably, not dressed for the occasion. Mr. Jacobson noticed and came to the rescue, taking off his sport coat and lending it to Siewert.
“That was the kind of guy Bob was. He would, literally, give you the shirt off his back. Or, in this case, the sport coat,” Siewert said.
Mr. Jacobson is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughters, Christa (Josh) Gates, Lisa (Kevin) Harrington; 6 grandchildren, John, Hannah, Ryan, Ella, Payton and Avery; sister and brothers, Barbara, Glenn and William. Gifts in Mr. Jacobson’s memory can be directed to Golisano Children’s Hospital, 300 East River Rd., P.O. 278996, Rochester, NY, 14627.