ORONO – Sally Martin (Cope) Jacobs died peacefully in her sleep Nov. 12, 2012, after a yearlong battle with cancer. She spent the last weeks surrounded by loving friends and family at her home in Orono. She was born in New York City, the daughter of Joseph Howard and Eunice (Adams) Cope.
Sally transplanted to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where she graduated from Rapid City High School in 1954. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado, where she met her husband. They attended the University of Iowa together where she received an Master of Science degree in biochemistry. In 1963 they moved to Orono, where they raised their family. She taught biochemistry at the University of Maine for 35 years. Sally enjoyed nature and all outdoor activities, which fueled her boundless energy for conservation. She was a dedicated camp counselor and swim instructor for many years at Camp Mechawana and active in her church. One of her favorite places to get away from it all was the family camp near Lubec. Always an avid paddler, she recently discovered her enjoyment of fishing on the Penobscot River. Her gardens were lovingly nurtured by her and enjoyed by all. In 1975 she began a long career in establishing biking trails in Maine, and served as the chair of the Bicycle Safety Committee in Orono. After procuring funding for bike trails connecting Orono, Old Town and the University of Maine, she went on to become the founding president of the Sunrise Trail Coalition, a position she held for 12 years. Her most recent dream-come-true was the opening of the 85-mile Down East Sunrise Trail built on a rail banked corridor along the coast of Maine. For all her work on Rails-to-Trails she was honored in October 2011 in Washington, D.C., by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy as a Rail-Trail champion. Sally also had the privilege of serving on the board of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust from 1995 to 2007, and continued to remain active on the Lands Committee until this year. She has received more than 25 awards for her work in her community, the state of Maine and the nation, including the Jefferson Award for Extraordinary Public Service, in 1989, awarded by President Reagan at the White House; the Steve Gould Award from the University of Maine for “Outstanding Service to the University and its Ideals”; the National Park Service Conservation Hero Award, in 2007; the Maryann Hartman Award, in 2007; the state of Maine 2010 Leadership Award; a certificate of Affection and Appreciation from the Bangor Symphony Orchestra for her service from 1964 to 2003; and the first inaugural Mighty Women of Washington County Elder Award. She was the founding president of the Orono Land Trust over 26 years ago, and was honored by that organization in October 2012, with a memorial plaque on the Piney Knoll conservation area. She also received an award from the Orono Police and Fire departments for “Heroism exhibited in saving a Life,” which she received for rescuing a young man from drowning in the Stillwater River in 1987. Sally was a loving mother, grandmother, friend and a true force of nature.
She was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Richard Morris Jacobs, Ph.D., professor emeritus of music at the University of Maine. She is survived by her partner, Louis Hall, Ed. D.; daughters, Stephanie Lull and husband, Gregory, of Portland, Jennifer Leech and husband, Andrew, of Durham, N.C.; son, Jefferson Martin Jacobs and wife, Carla, of Bend, Ore.; four grandchildren, Zachary Jacobs Lull, Connor Jacobs Leech, Quincy Grace Leech and Rowan Mara Jacobs; her sister, Penny (Cope) Cutler of Jenkintown, Pa.; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends are invited to gather with the family 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Orono Chapel of Brookings-Smith, 72 Main St., Orono. A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at Church of Universal Fellowship, 82 Main St., Orono, with the Rev. Lorna Grenfell, celebrant. Family and friends are invited to a reception in the church vestry after the service. Donations in honor and loving memory of Sally may be made to the Orono Land Trust at www.oronolandtrust.org or New Hope Hospice Memorial Fund at www.newhopehospice.org/donate. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.