Jacobs, James Wriley

Jacobs, James Wriley

July 25, 1923 – March 14, 2015

James was an active volunteer in the by-laws and policy and procedures committees.  

Dr. James Wriley Jacobs passed away peacefully at his home, March 14, 2015.  He was born July 25, 1923 son of Norman Bliss Jacobs and Roberta Columbia King Jacobs.  James Wriley was a lifelong resident of his beloved home town of Gaithersburg and enjoyed sharing stories and memories of his life in a small town. His family home, in Old Town Gaithersburg was built by his father and brothers.  The Jacobs brothers ran the Wheelwright Shop near their homes on East Diamond Avenue where Jake often observed and listened as his father and uncles repaired and built wagons.  Jake obviously learned by watching and listening for later in life Jake was quite the accomplished carpenter.

During Jake’s early years, Gaithersburg was a bustling farming community.  His father was the manager of Gaithersburg’s Thomas and Company Canning Factory and his first job was helping his Dad cleaning the corn cutters.

He met his bride, Betty Jeanne King through Epworth United Methodist Church.  The Church was located on Brooks Avenue where his mother Bertie and Betty Jeanne’s mother Elizabeth were members.  The church was the center of all their lives at that time – both spiritually and socially.  So, it was not unusual that Jake and Betty Jeanne would reconnect after World War II.

James Wriley played sports throughout his elementary and high school days and after the war became a physical education teacher in the Montgomery County Public School System.  But, before his career started, he was called to service while attending Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.  He met many of lifelong friends there including Kenneth Studley and Arthur Spaulding.  Jake was drafted in the US Infantry to active duty during the European Theater of Operations with the 89th Infantry Division 353rd Regiment, Company L, as a Combat Platoon Leader and as Personnel Officer Special Services Staff Sections of General Mark Clark.  He was released from active duty July 1946 as a First Lieutenant.  After the war, Betty Jeanne and Jake were married in 1947.  Jake retired from MCPS as Associate Superintendent and then worked in the family business until his second retirement.

Jake was a graduate of Gaithersburg High School, Green Mountain College and Manhattan College.  He attended George Washington University where he majored in Education and earned his Doctorate degree in that field.

James Wriley, was an active member of his community and served as Superintendent of Sunday School at Epworth United Methodist Church, the Gaithersburg Rotary Club, Gaithersburg Lions Club and served as a Director, Trustee or Board Member of the following:  Save the Children Federation; Montgomery County Library Board; American Red Cross, Montgomery County Chapter; The Washington Ear; Montgomery General Hospital, First Montgomery Bank and Green Mountain College.

In the 1990’s James Wriley decided to write his biography which was published in 2014.  Memories of a Small Town Boy is now circulating throughout the community to family and friends.

In addition to his wife Betty Jeanne, he is survived by his children, daughter, Betsy J. Rippeon and husband David, son James Wriley Jacobs, Jr and wife Peggy, and son Mark Jacobs, and Sally Jacobs. Eight grandchildren:  Jonathan Rippeon and wife Michelle, Michael Rippeon and wife Deanna, Brian Jacobs and wife Ashley, John Jacobs and wife Emily, Caroline Horowitz and husband Ari, Courtney Jacobs, Jessica Bartlett and husband Brian, and Tyler Jacobs.  Great Grandchildren:  Jake Rippeon, Andrew Rippeon, Jackson Rippeon, Grady Rippeon, Maddie Rippeon, Allie Rippeon, Sara Kate Rippeon, and Landon Jacobs.  James Wriley was preceded in death by his sister Hazel Jacobs Jones and his brother Norman B. Jacobs.

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