“For only a brief time in my teens and early twenties did I entertain the idea of leaving Marion for a career elsewhere,” said lifelong Marion resident Dean Jacob. “But I soon realized that all I ever wanted or needed was right here in my hometown: family, friends and opportunity. Marion has blessed my family and me, so I should contribute to my community.”
A man known to many through his community leadership and involvement, Jacob has spent his life in many roles. Jacob is the current president and CEO of Marion Community Foundation, as well as an attorney. He has also been a teacher at River Valley School District and in the past was a co-owner of Southland Bowling Lanes.
“Marion has good people and generous people,” said Jacob, “so it makes me feel like I want to give back to the community. Working with my great team at Marion Community Foundation provides me the perfect opportunity to experience the amazing efforts being done by our local non-profits and to connect with generous donors who continue to make Marion a nice place to live, work, and play.”
Jacob believes it’s important for the people of Marion to be active and involved in their community.
“Our communities are what we make them. The more active and involved we all are, then the better our community will be,” said Jacob.
Jacob graduated from River Valley High School and married his high school sweetheart, Sue. He is the father of two adult children, Kate and Austin, and was promoted to grandparent 18 months ago by his grandson, Jake.
“I wouldn’t trade growing up in Marion for anything. I have lifelong friends I made in elementary school and high school. My teachers prepared me for a challenging college and law school education,” Jacob said of his time in River Valley.
Jacob is the committee chair for the Cardinal Project unveiled in downtown Marion last year. His community contribution is extensive and he has stood out as a leader among much of his involvement.
“I’m so proud to have spearheaded the inception of MarionMade! and the Downtown Marion Cardinal Project, both of which have been successful in helping to restore pride in Marion,” Jacob says of two well-known community improvements.
“Of course,” he adds, “neither of these projects could have moved forward without tremendous teamwork and collaborations from many in the community. That teamwork and collaboration in Marion is gratifying.”
Additional contributions include past and present roles of serving in leadership capacities for the Marion County Bar Association, United Way of Marion County, River Valley Education Foundation, Marion Noon Kiwanis Club, Marion Rotary Club, St. Mary Parish Pastoral Council, Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion Family YMCA, Stengel-True Museum, and Marion County Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He has also been active in helping the youth of our community as a big brother through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Marion County, a mentor with Marion Mentors, and the varsity boys and girls cross country head coach at River Valley High School.
“I had wonderful, loving parents who taught me the value of hard work and compassion for other people,” said Jacob. “It’s great living in a town the size of Marion because you can get to know many of the people and organizations and form a collaborative network to get things done.”