A Toledo Blade article about Bobby Jacobs, the youngest son and the last living child of George and Mary Jacob, right after his death on June 16, 2002
Bar owner was a real showman
June 19, 2002
Robert “Bobby” Jacobs, 75, a colorful Toledo bar owner and showman whose businesses were synonymous with the area’s night life, especially during the 1960s, died of complications of diabetes Sunday in Toledo Hospital.
Mr. Jacobs grew up in North Toledo, the youngest of eight children born to Lebanese immigrants, in the close-knit neighborhood that was home to his famous cousin, entertainer Danny Thomas, and actor Jamie Farr. He was a graduate of Woodward High School.
Mr. Jacobs had an excellent singing voice, which friend and restaurateur Gus Nicolaidis compared to Frankie Laine’s, and when he was young longed to be a professional entertainer.
He was inspired by the enormous success of his famous older cousin, but the right breaks never came his way for a career in show business, according to his first wife, Helen Warr. By way of consolation, he went into the bar, restaurant, and night club business and became a consummate showman on a smaller scale.
“He was a sharp dresser, always wearing the sharkskin suits,” Mr. Nicolaidis recalled. “He had a 12-inch cigar in his mouth and dark hair combed straight back. His hair was black and shiny. We called him `Dick Clark’ because he was so theatrical. He was a good guy.”
Mr. Jacobs’ businesses included the Carousel Club, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, the Patio Lounge, and Gigi’s.
It was at the Carousel Club, 2620 West Central Ave., that his show-biz flair was most evident, Mr. Niciolaidis said. “He was such a showman. He had a vocal group that he used to advertise as `Direct from Las Vegas,’ but they were all local guys. I knew them.”
“He would get up on stage and sing, with a cigar in one hand and a microphone in the other,” Mr. Jacobs’ son, Gary, said.
The gregarious Mr. Jacobs was loved by his customers, who had a way of becoming friends over the years, his son said. He loved practical jokes.
Mr. Jacobs and his second wife, Lena, were married for 40 years. For much of that time they owned and operated Gigi’s, a restaurant at 4350 Monroe St. with an upstairs apartment they lived in.
His health deteriorating badly, Mr. Jacobs retired 10 years ago. For the last 21/2 years he was a resident of the Darlington House nursing home in West Toledo, his son said.
Mr. Jacobs was an avid golfer, hunter, and fisherman.
Surviving are his wife, Lena; sons, Gary and Robbie; stepsons, Joseph and Thomas Garry; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Gesu Church.
The body will be in the Ansberg-West Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The family requests tributes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.