A funeral service will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at Gutterman’s Funeral home in Woodbury for Nassau Legis. Judith Jacobs, an 11-term Democrat representing Woodbury who died Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Jacobs was remembered by colleagues and friends for her passion and the honorable manner in which she served.
“Judy often referred to good things in our county as jewels, so today may I say Nassau lost one of its precious jewels — Judy Jacobs,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said early Wednesday in a statement.
“She truly was an example of all that is good in a public servant.”
Jacobs, 77, who served on the county legislature since it was formed in 1996, died at a Manhasset hospital after falling earlier on Tuesday, family, friends and political associates said.
A funeral service will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at Gutterman’s funeral home, 8000 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury.
“Judy was at her core a community activist,” said Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau Democratic Party, who confirmed her death to Newsday. “That’s how she got her start, and that’s what she always was.” The two are not related.
Mangano said Jacobs guided the legislature “with distinction and honor” when she served as its presiding officer.
Mangano in his statement cited her “passion to make Nassau County a wonderful place to live” and her ability to fight hard “for the issues she believed in.”
She had been diagnosed in May with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder and form of cancer, said her daughter Linda Jacobs-Geller of Woodbury.
The legislator, weakened by anemia, fell and hit her head at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at her Woodbury home.
“She kept it very secret because she wanted to continue being the crazy working lady that she is,” her daughter said about the disease. “She was mostly dealing with anemia but recently her platelets were at a very low level. When you have no platelets, you just have a very horrible bleed. There was no way to do surgery. There was nothing you could do.”
Typically reluctant to make a fuss, Jacobs had refused to call 911 but was taken by family to Syosset Hospital, where an infusion of platelets was futile, her daughter said.
Jacobs was transported to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, where she died at 9:30 p.m., not long after she and her other daughter, Jackie Herschander of East Setauket, sang “You Are My Sunshine” to each other, Jacobs-Geller said.
Ginger Lieberman, a friend of Jacobs for 40 years, called her honest and dedicated.
“Judy embodied what every politician should be,” Lieberman said. “She never put herself first. It was always, ‘I need to be someplace.’ ”
Chris Wright, a member of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, the county’s fiscal watchdog, called Jacobs his best friend in government and one of the nicest people he knew.
“She was a tireless public servant who always led with ‘is this the right thing to do?’ and she made a tremendous and positive impact on everyone on whose behalf she worked,” Wright said.
Another family friend, Sherry Gutes, said she was stunned by Jacobs’ death.
“I knew her as a grandma and a loving mom,” Gutes said. “Sweet and humble and completely dedicated to her community.”
W. Hubert Keen, president of Nassau Community College, called Jacobs a fierce advocate for his school.
“She was a kind and courageous woman and she will be sorely missed, nowhere more than on this campus,” Keen said.
Jacobs, a former teacher in the Elmont school district, was elected to the legislature in 1996. She quickly took a leadership role on several issues facing the legislature and became its presiding officer in 2000 after Democrats won the majority.
She served as legislative leader through 2008.
Before her election to the legislature, Jacobs had already established herself as a civic leader and community activist in Oyster Bay. She belonged to several community organizations, according to the Nassau County Legislature’s website.
With David M. Schwartz, Candice Ferrette and Robert Brodsky and Paul LaRoccoy