WOODBINE — Through the Carroll County Habitat for Humanity, the lifework of a man devoted to helping the homeless will continue after his death.
George H. "Jake" Jacobs, founder of the county chapter of the national non-profit housing ministry, helped insulate and add siding at the group's first renovation project in Eldersburg.
When he became too ill to work, the 68-year-old retired plumbing contractor still came to the site on Walnut Avenue, advising other volunteers until the job was completed May 1.
The group's efforts made sure the elderly resident, who could no longer maintain the place she had called home for 40 years, had a place to live.
She wrote to Jacobs and his wife, Marie, thanking them and saying she felt like she was living in a brand new house.
The letter was just one of the many elements that helped brighten the last few months of Jacobs' life.
He died of cancer Saturday at his home here, a little more than two months after doctors had diagnosed the illness.
"Since my husband became ill, there wasn't a day that went by that someone didn't stop in to visit with us," said Marie. "They brought food, medicines and always called to see what we needed."
The Jacobs' pastor at South Carroll Full Gospel Church called Jake a devout Christian who put his principles into action.
Jacobs had a strong desire to help the homeless, said his wife. He called the shortage of affordable housing a "creeping catastrophe" and began the organization here to provide housing for the needy.
"Homelessness destroys a family," he said in a January 1990 interview. "As a house crumbles, it brings despondency to the mother and father -- a sadness because they can't do better for themselves and their children. Human beings shouldn't have to live in fear of losing their homes."
Marie Jacobs and the other volunteers her husband had recruited for the project said they will continue the project.
Chuck Moranville, 65, who worked with Jacobs on the Eldersburg home, said when he saw a story in the newspaper about Jacobs, he offered his help. Moranville called Jacobs a man of strong faith with a true desire to help others.
"Jacobs made a worthwhile contribution to the community and we intend to continue with theeffort," he said. "We have already planned to meet with our search committee to set future projects."
Marie added that most of the couple's six children and 11 grandchildren also are involved in helping to provide shelter for the homeless.
"They all saw the joy and blessing Jake received from helping others and wanted to participate," she said.