Obituary of Anne Frohberg Jacobsen
Anne, 92, Peacefully passed away in Denver on Friday, April 28th. Everyone who knew Harriet Anne Frohberg Jacobsen - Anne - endeavored to emulate her. And it was not just one, or a few, of Anne’s characteristics that motivated imitation, it was the entire manner in which she held and conducted herself that quietly and humbly inspired others to try a little harder to live and be like Anne. Anne was the matriarch of her family, and a mentor to generations, not merely because she reached the hallowed age of ninety-two, but because she remained relevant at ninety-two - ever interested and curious about the changing world around her and about the lives of those within it. As a newly-constructed building rose from the ground next door to Anne’s highrise apartment, she watched its growth, “supervised” it’s construction, eager to learn about the techniques being used before her. And when friends and family called - people thirty, forty and fifty years younger than Anne, people living in a world vastly different than the one she had been raised in - Anne engaged them, questioned them, deflected conversation from herself in her ever-present thirst for information about others and about the present.
In this way Anne was selfless, she was humble. She manifested her humility by never touting her many accomplishments, never mentioning in a conversation that she had traveled to more places or in a better class, or that she had a more thorough understanding of a subject or a more grandiose experience. Anne’s humility was perhaps surpassed by her compassion and grace. Her nephew remembers that when he was a young child his mother said to him that she had not once heard Anne utter a disparaging word about anyone - even when other women were gossiping - and he remembered and deeply admired that as he grew old and also never once heard Anne deprecate another person, no matter how bitterly provoked.
Anne was a loyal friend who maintained close lifelong friendships and who was always considerate of what her friends might need, once spending many weekends painting the exterior of a friend’s home when circumstances forbid him doing it himself. And while Anne remained intrigued with younger generations, she also held deep reverence for her ancestors, speaking often and with admiration of her parents and grandparents, telling their stories, connecting them to the present, keeping them relevant, keeping them and their memories vibrant and alive.
Anne was a beacon to all who knew her; a shining light her friends and family turned to in order to bask in her goodness, her optimism, her dynamism, humor, warmth, compassion, goodness, and her ever-present and infectious gratitude.
Anne was born on September 24,1930 in Kansas City, Missouri to Edwin George and Mary Harriet (Harriet) Gould Frohberg. She attended Saint Joseph’s Catholic School in Fort Collins and East (Denver) High School. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. On May 1st, 1954, Anne married Bruce Milton Jacobsen and they had two sons, Eric Bruce (Rick) and Gregory Gould.
Anne’s family purchased a cabin in Estes Park when Anne was a child, and to better avoid childhood polio, Anne’s mother brought Anne and her brother, Ned, to the Estes Park cabin for the summers. There, with neighboring children, Anne and Ned spent their days roaming the hills and fields adjoining the cabin, coming in only for lunch and the requisite, but dreaded, nap that their Mother believed would also ward off polio.
Anne’s adoration of Estes continued as she worked there for a summer during college, and when she and Bruce inherited the Estes cabin. Together they made major improvements to the cabin, including adding a large screened-in porch, and Aunt Anne wallowed in scouring the local garage sales to find furniture and other needed items for the cabin. Together Bruce and Anne also continued the tradition of hosting large family gatherings there. Anne - ever the gracious hostess and admired cook - magically managed to prepare and clean up after large and lavish meals for many in the small cabin kitchen. Boisterous parties for friends were also held at the cabin, and it was an ongoing practical joke to position someone in the cabin’s loft above the entrance door and greet unsuspecting guests by spraying them with soda as they entered.
But Anne not only cherished the cabin for the opportunity it provided for her to practice her consummate hospitality, and to share precious time with beloved friends and family. She also loved nature - she thrilled at seeing the deer and elk that crossed the cabin’s property, and she bought books to better study the many wildflowers scattered across the land, and the myriad birds which visited, of which bluebirds were her favorite. Even when Anne had moved to an apartment in the city and could only rarely visit Estes, what she most cherished about her apartment was that on clear days she could see Long’s Peak. That small sighting was enough to connect Anne to all of her memories of Estes and to bring her contentment and joy.
Though Anne majored in child education, her ardor for travel led her to seek employment after college as a reservation agent for United Airlines. Her travel benefits there enabled her to fly her parents to Hawaii from San Francisco on a Boeing Stratocruiser, and for her to take them to the Bahamas. Anne often recounted with great delight that in the Bahamas, her father, who had COPD and difficulty moving about, discovered motorized bicycles and spent his time there bicycling throughout the island, savoring his mobility and ability to explore.
The most precious treasure Anne received from working at United Airlines was that it was there where she met Bruce, the husband she would cherish and adore every day for the almost sixty-nine years of their marriage. And because Bruce spent his career with United, he and Anne were able to travel extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Bruce and Anne traveled first-class annually to Hong Kong in the fall and knew all the proprietors in the Hong Kong shops. Bruce would have his suits made and tailored there, and Bruce and Anne would do their Christmas shopping - purchasing things such as exquisite cashmere sweaters at deep discounts.
One needs a sense of humor to successfully navigate the travails of travel and the customs and cultures of others, and Anne was known for her wit and her playfulness. She and Bruce had standing jokes - that she could get a dog to replace their beloved Sox, but only if it was large enough to pull her in her wheelchair; that the only way they would ever get the exterior of their highrise apartment windows cleaned was if Bruce hung Anne out the windows so she could clean them. They also often told those who who admired their marriage that they had never said an unkind word between them, which some listeners actually believed.
Anne’s playfulness manifested in practical jokes. Bruce and Anne took a trip on the Delta Queen, a paddle-wheeler that traverses the Mississippi River, with their dear friends Sue and Jerry Weiss. Despite the fact that their luggage had been lost and they were without clothes or toiletries, Anne remained in high spirits, even charming the Delta Queen waiter to bring them several nightly desserts, as Anne loved all things sweet, especially chocolate. The couples had been permitted to bring a bottle of whiskey on board, and spontaneously, when the bottle had been emptied, Anne wrote a note that said, “Help! We are stranded on a ship!” and put it into the bottle and threw the bottle into the Mississippi. This was met by hilarity from everyone involved, and was but one of many examples of Anne’s playfulness and wit.
In addition to her wit, Anne’s simple but unmitigated joy was infectious, and in the later years of her life, few things brought Anne and Bruce more happiness than the annual summer visits of their granddaughters, Katie and Kerrie. And when Katie gave Bruce and Anne a great-granddaughter, Lucy, they were elated, cherishing every moment they FaceTimed with her, sharing every photo they received of her, and savoring her visit to them. When Anne spoke of Lucy, the bliss that Lucy brought her radiated communicably from Anne and carried her happiness to all who witnessed it.
Anne was also admired for her intelligence. She was an accomplished seamstress, and Bruce speaks of coming home from work to discover that during the day Anne had crafted an elegant set of curtains, or a stunning lamp shade. And when Bruce and Anne purchased their home in Longmont, Anne redesigned the kitchen, utility room, porch and sunroom of the Longmont home, receiving compliments on her designs up until the very day they sold the home.
Though Anne provided many examples of behavior that deserved emulation, it was perhaps her marriage to Bruce that those who knew them especially esteemed. Bruce and Anne’s love for one another was unconditional - it survived the death of their teenaged son, Rick; Anne’s cancer and the amputation of her leg; the death of their second, and only surviving son, Greg; and all the trials and travails that marriage brings. Throughout all the occurrences of almost sixty-nine years, Bruce and Anne remained proud of each other, and each would boast of the other’s accomplishments. They took care of one another with established routines in which each did things for the other. They enjoyed one another - and even during the long Covid lockdown, in which they could go weeks without meeting anyone other than each other - they celebrated being together, and were grateful to be locked down with the person they so adored. They respected each other’s intelligence, dignity and accomplishments. They never, never spoke ill of the other to anyone else. They were models of marriage, providing an example of unmitigated commitment and deep, abiding love that was an inspiration and an encouragement to all who knew them and all who sought to strengthen their relationships.
Perhaps the bind that most fiercely tied Bruce and Anne’s marriage was that of their shared and ineradicable faith. Anne’s faith manifested in every aspect of her life. It manifested in her deeds - in the hundreds of rosaries she made and donated to disabled children, and to those who were hospitalized and in nursing homes; and in the many and generous charitable contributions she and Bruce made to organizations such as Meals of Mercy and nonprofits that support Native American children. It manifested in her actions - in her graciousness, her grace, her selflessness and humility, her goodness, her compassion, her patience and perseverance. And it manifested in Anne’s thoughts and convictions - her continued sense of gratitude, despite the terrible losses she had endured of her sons and her leg; and in the fact that Anne was not jolted by the troubles of this world because she knew, she believed incontrovertibly, that there was something greater awaiting.
In the last days of her life, bed-ridden and barely able to speak, Anne periodically raised her arms to the heavens and made utterances - occasionally comprehensible, as when she called out to her parents, and to her son. But Anne, while still battling with her fierce spirit to stay in this world with Bruce and those she loved here, was clearly being called by those who had passed, was raising her arms toward and speaking to them as she hovered on the plane between this world and the next. Though we who remain will deeply mourn the loss of this extraordinary woman whose grace and goodness illuminated our lives, may she rest with those who called her in peace and in joy and in love. Anne is survived by her husband, Bruce Jacobsen; her granddaughters, Katie Ann Jacobsen and Kerrie Ashly Jacobsen; Katie’s partner, Mike Viramontes; and her greatgranddaughter, Lucy Rose Viramontes. Anne is also survived by members of the Frohberg and Jacobsen families, and by many friends.
Anne is pre-deceased by her sons, Eric Bruce and Gregory Gould Jacobsen.
Instead lieu flowers, donations may be made in Anne’s name to: The Salvation Army: salvationarmyusa.org
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital stjude.org
Return notices for the family may be mailed to: Bruce Jacobsen 2835 W. 32nd Avenue, Box 238 Denver, CO 80211To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Anne Jacobsen, please visit Tribute Store