Jacobsen, Melvin and Eleanor (Wise)
Melvin Clarence Jacobsen was born 30 Oct 1915 in Harlan Twp., Fayette Co., IA. He was the 6th of 11 children of Peter and Anna (Belling) Jacobsen. Melvin was known as ‘Jake” to his family and friends.
Melvin was inducted into the Army 6 Mar 1941. Since the United States had not yet entered World War II his term of enlistment was for one year. 7 Dec 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed. Everyone in the Army was told “You are in for the duration!" Melvin was in Co. D, 701st Military Police Battalion. He achieved the rank of Sergeant. His unit was stationed state-side throughout the war. They guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, DC for a while. (My father was a farmer and his hands very often were dirty. I could never imagine him wearing white gloves as he guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.) Melvin's unit was called in during the race riots in Detroit in 1944. They also guarded German Officers who were prisoners of war while they were being transported to prison camps in the United States. Since German had been my father’s first language, he was able to converse with the prisoners. He told about how insulted the German Officers were when they were served potatoes. The upper class in Germany did not eat potatoes.
Melvin and Eleanor (Wise) Jacobsen
On 15 Dec 1944 Melvin married Eleanor Jean Wise in the Chapel at Fort Custer, Battle Creek, Ml. Melvin and Eleanor met while both were stationed at Fort Custer.
Eleanor was the daughter of Sylvester and Ida (Peterson) Wise. She was born on the family farm in Sec. 16, Pleasant Twp., Winneshiek Co. Eleanor graduated from Decorah High School in 1939 and went on to attend the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, IA. She graduated Jan 1943 with teaching degree in home economics. Eleanor taught at Fenton High School for the Spring semester. On 30 Jul 1943 Eleanor enlisted in the Army. She was a cook with the 1611 th Service Command Unit, WAC Detachment. Eleanor achieved the rank of Technician Fourth Grade.
A few months after they were married, Eleanor realized she was pregnant. At that time women were discharged as soon as it was learned they were pregnant. Eleanor was discharged 23 Mar 1945. In May Eleanor returned to her parent's home in rural Decorah to await the birth of their first child. When Melvin was discharged 12 Dec 1945, he joined Eleanor at her parent’s home. Melvin and Eleanor lived with her parents until the Fall of 1947 when they moved to a 176 acre farm in Sec. 21, Pleasant Twp. They later bought the farm.
Melvin and Eleanor had 3 daughters: Susan Dee, Nancy Lee, and Mary Ann.
Melvin raised hogs, milked cows, and kept a flock of laying hens. He grew corn, oats, hay, and, later, soybeans. During the winter Melvin did carpenter work on the side. Melvin was assessor for Pleasant and Canoe Twps. He also served on the County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service committee. Melvin and Eleanor were members of the Canoe Ridge Lutheran Church. Eleanor taught Sunday School and was active in Ladies Aid and Circle. Eleanor also was a 4-H Leader for the Pleasant Livewires 4-H Club for several years. In the Fall 1963 Eleanor returned to teaching. She taught home economics in Fredericksburg, IA for a year. She then taught rural school in Highlandville, IA. Finally, Eleanor taught at the St. Benedict’s Parochial School, Decorah.
Melvin and Eleanor sold their farm in 1971 and moved to Decorah. Melvin worked for Carolan and Wicks Construction after moving to Decorah. Eleanor worked for the Community Action Program. Sadly, Melvin and Eleanor divorced in March 1973. Neither remarried.
Melvin died 19 Aug 1987 at the Aase Haugen Home in Decorah. He is buried in the Canoe Ridge Cemetery, rural Decorah. Melvin was a resident of the Winneshiek County Care Facility for the last 10 years of his life. Eleanor moved to the Aase Haugen Home 1 May 1987.
Susan Dee Jacobsen was born in Decorah. Susan’s close friends know her as "Sue”. She is the oldest of the 3 daughters of Melvin and Eleanor (Wise) Jacobsen. Sue’s sisters are Nancy Elsbernd (Decorah) and Mary Ann Brooks (Clive, IA). Sue grew up on a farm in Sec. 16, Pleasant Twp., Winneshiek Co. As a young girl she loved to roam the woods and collect wild-flowers which she would dig up and plant in a "Wildflower Garden” by the house.
Sue and her sisters helped with the farm work as well as helping their mother in the house and garden. The girls had to help feed the cows, pigs and chickens. To feed the cows you first had to climb up in the silo and throw the silage down the chute. The climb up the silo in the early winter was always scary; it was a mighty long way to the top. It was not so bad by spring when the silo was almost empty. Once the silage was down, each cow was given her portion. The cows were then given hay, but first the hay bales had to be thrown down from the
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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021