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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Jacobs Portrait - photo courtesy of Lois Larkin
  (Based upon the biographical sketch prepared by Lois Larkin)

Kenneth Jacobs attended Prince Edward Public School and Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor. He graduated from Assumption College followed by the University of Toronto where he earned his Master of Social Work degree. After graduation Jacobs became the first African Canadian male to become a front line Social Worker in the Toronto Children’s Aid Society.


Jacobs military career began during the Second World War. He served in the Royal Canadian Medical Corps as an Operating Room Assistant at Vancouver Military Hospital. Following the war he returned to civilian life to complete his education. In October 1954 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He attended officer training at #1 Officer’s School in London, Ontario and became a commissioned Pilot Officer with simultaneous promotion to Flying Officer. Jacobs combined his expertise in the field of social work with his military training when he was transferred to 5 Air Division Headquarters, Vancouver, B.C. As part of this new Social Work Branch of the R.C.A.F. his duties extended to include service to all of British Columbia. He continued in this role when transferred to Air Defense Command Headquarters in St. Hubert, Quebec. During this time he also attained a level of fluency in French.

LCOL Jacobs honoured at Emancipation Gala 2004 - photo courtesy of Jim Allen
  Jacobs military career is filled with many prestigious accomplishments . In 1961 he was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He was again promoted in July 1968 this time to the rank of Squadron Leader/Major. As Regional Social Work Officer at Mobile Command Headquarters he was responsible for providing a Social Work Service to the combined Navy, Army and Air Force. In 1972 Major Jacobs became the second-in-command or DSDS2 of the Social Development Services at National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa. On April 1, 1975 Kenneth Jacobs became the first Canadian of African descent to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
LCOL Jacobs honoured at Emancipation Gala 2004 - photo courtesy of the Windsor Star
  LCOL Jacobs retired from the armed forces in September 1978. He continues to be an active role model in the community. Over the years his involvement in community service has been extensive. It has included being the pianist at the Baptist Church and Sunday school teacher in the British Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also a Troop leader in the 12th Scout Troop, a Junior leader in the YMCA, a baseball coach and community council president. Jacobs was honoured by the North American Black Historical Museum at their gala in 1997.
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