Eshia “Jake” Jacob, who was serving his 9th term on the Woodbury Heights Borough Council, passed away on January 17. He was 85.
Jacob ran for the council thirteen times and won nine of his races.
Jacob made his first bid for councilman in 1980 but lost to Republican Deborah Hillman McGlinn by 64 votes.
He sought a council seat again in 1982 and defeated Republican incumbents James Gabel and Ginger David. He ousted Gabel by 233 votes and David by 248. Woodbury Heights mayor James Master beat his Republican challenger that year by just 9 votes.
He was defeated for renomination in the 1985 Democratic primary, losing to Theresa Lewis Kelly by 14 votes.
Jacob ran again in 1986 and tied incumbent Nicholas Danze in the Democratic primary on the machine count. After absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Jacob won the nomination by one vote.
He lost the general election to Republican Shirlene Hale by 69 votes.
In 1994, Jacob challenged councilman Robbie Conley in the Democratic primary and lost by one vote.
Jacob made a third comeback bid in 1996, running on a ticket with councilman Harry Elton. They defeated Danze and former mayor William Tortella in the Democratic primary; in the general election, they beat Republicans Patrick Schoen and Robert Wehrle.
In 1999, he was re-elected by a margin of nearly 2-1.
Elton ran for mayor in 2002 and Jacob sought re-election on a ticket with Joseph Smith. They defeated one GOP rival, Sherman Yeiter, by a 2-1 margin
He was re-elected in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Jacob was re-elected to his 9th term in 2017, defeating Republican Robert Seibert by 249 votes.
“Jake represented the very best in public service. A genuine people person, he truly loved working to help others any way that he could and was ceaselessly dedicated to that cause,” the Gloucester County Democratic Committee, said in a post on their Facebook page. “Anyone who spoke with him at any length could immediately tell just how passionate he was about serving his community. He was – and always will be – a source of eternal positivity and optimism.”
He worked for the Bell Fuel Company in Philadelphia and later as a salesman at Royal Pallet.
Jacob is survived by his wife, Mary, four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held from 5:00 to 8:30 PM on Thursday, and from 8:30 to 9:45 AM on Friday. A funeral ceremony will be held on Friday at Infant Jesus Parish in Woodbury Heights.
Jacob will be buried at the Gloucester County Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Williamstown.