Nassau Legis. Judy Jacobs is seen in Mineola on Monday,...

Nassau Legis. Judy Jacobs is seen in Mineola on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Judy Jacobs served Nassau County with exceptional skill and contagious joy for two decades, a local activitist who quickly found herself in a leading role to save the county from a calamitous bankruptcy.

Jacobs died Tuesday after a fall at her Woodbury home. Her injuries could not be treated because of an underlying bone marrow disorder. The news saddened many of those who worked with her, first when she was an Oyster Bay community activist who led efforts to close the Old Bethpage landfill. She won her first election at age 56, a campaign for the Nassau County Legislature characterized by the politeness of the candidates.

She was an original member when the legislature was formed in 1996. Four years later, her team-building approach led to her selection as majority leader when the Democrats took control in 2000 with a one-vote margin. For the last two years of the failing administration of County Executive Thomas Gulotta, it was Jacobs, as majority leader, who worked with a newly created state control board to stabilize a local government on the verge of collapse.

Jacobs leaves a legacy of bipartisanship, hard work, humility and grace. She loved being a public servant, one who knew that the honest rendering of public service was its own reward.

Her work for Nassau County should be remembered and honored.

— The editorial board

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