Don Jacobs and Romain Schaub
pose in front of the Waukesha Buick-Opel dealership in 1969.
When Don Jacobs finished his time in the Merchant Marines, the
first job he applied for was at a tire company, but he was
turned down because the manager didn’t feel he had the right
personality for sales.
virtually anyone of a certain age in the metro Milwaukee area
knows that Jacobs went on to run multiple successful Buick
dealerships all over the region until the early 2000s, and his
Milwaukee Toyota dealership still exists today.
passed away at the Masonic Center for Health & Rehab in Dousman
at the age of 87 on Feb. 28, is remembered by friends and family
as a tenacious, straight-forward yet friendly guy.
Don and Jeanne Jacobs in Boynton
Beach, Florida in 2002.
“The big thing
with my dad is that he was a people person,” said Jacobs’ son
Dave Jacobs. “He was always aggressive and determined to improve
didn’t get that tire job, Don Jacobs ended up working at a
filling station in Madison, where he convinced the owner to let
him sell Christmas trees on the corner of the lot. The owner of
Kayser Ford frequented the station and was impressed with
Jacobs’ tenacity, so he offered him a job, Dave Jacobs said.
“I know he
worked in the different departments - tires, service, etc. - and
eventually got into sales and then got into management and
worked his way up to general manager,” Dave Jacobs said. ”Then
when he was 42, he bought a tiny Buick-Opel dealership in
“He took a big
chance. He was the general manager at Kayser Ford for many years
and did very well for himself, but he sold everything and hocked
everything he could in order to buy that dealership.
“I’m not sure
I would’ve had the courage to take that risk when I had a pretty
nice lifestyle as is.”
Jeanne and Don Jacobs enjoy the
sun on Oconomowoc Lake in 1994.
acquired multiple other franchises over the years, including two
Subaru franchises that he was initially afraid to promote
because imports weren’t as accepted back in the 1970s as they
are today, Dave Jacobs said.
appreciated and enjoyed all his employees. He always said that
people never worked for him - they worked with him,” Dave Jacobs
determined, goal-oriented, fair, down-to-earth and honest with
people. All those things gave him the good name he had in
funeral was held March 4 p.m. at Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker
Funeral Home. The committal service took place at 11:00 a.m.
March 5, at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of
flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Don may be given to
the American Diabetes Association of Wisconsin, 375 Bishops Way,
Suite 220, Brookfield, WI 53005.