Ray Jacobs was the Diablo Valley German Shepherd Dog Club president for several terms in the 1990s and a member of the club dating back into the 1980s. Ray died on Jan. 29, 2008, at 82 years old. At that time, Ray lived in Redding, Calif., at the time of his death but lived in Walnut Creek, Calif., for 44 years before that.
Ray showed his German Shepherd Dogs, most from the Arelee kennel, doing his own handling. Under his leadership, Ray adapted the club’s Breeder’s Code of Ethics, championing the idea that the code include a provision that litters be raised in the house. Later, he took great interest in GSD rescue and was among those forming the first such organization in the area that subsequently became German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. He also helped to establish the Western Regional Council of German Shepherd Dog Clubs, which was comprised of GSD clubs from San Jose to Sacramento. In his position of President of the Council, Ray arranged yearly seminar delivered by nationally recognized GSD breeders and judges. He also assisted in running a yearly fun match at Heather Farms which paid for the cost of putting on the seminars.
Ray was born in Bridgeport, Conn., and, in 1943, at the age of 17, and with his mother’s permission, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Ray was among those who fought in what’s called the fiercest and bloodiest battle of WW II, Iwo Jima. A Private First Class radioman, Ray was with the first group to capture Mt. Suribachi; he appears in the photo of the first flag-raising in a photo taken by SSgt. Louis R. Lowrey, which appeared in Leatherneck Magazine. Ray was wounded on Iwo Jima less than a month later and evacuated from the battlefield. Ray also served at Camp Pendelton during the Korean Conflict, instructing troops in winter and guerilla warfare.
After the war, Ray went into broadcasting, originating the first radio and the first news programs to air in New Mexico. Five years later, Ray and his family moved to Fresno, once again breaking ground by airing the first news program on KJEO-TV. After another five years, they relocated once more, this time for Walnut Creek. Ray worked for KTVU Channel 2 news for 34 years, retiring in 1992. At KTVU, he was a reporter, anchor, news director, and news operations and editorial director.
Club members who remember Ray definitely remember that ‘broadcast-quality’ voice and his commanding presence as he presided over the sometimes very energetic meetings and announcing at shows. We also remember him for his love of the GSDs and for being the consummate gentleman.