MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Jacob Andrew Block, 85, of Polson and recently of Minneapolis, Minnesota, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in his home in Minneapolis. Jacob’s life was shaped through his career, family and church. He left an indelible mark on those he served.
Jacob was born on Nov. 26, 1933, in Harvey, North Dakota, to Lillie Evelyn Foss and Jacob Ingwert Block. He was educated in the Harvey Public School system and in 1958 graduated from Minot State College with an education degree. That fall he began his career teaching math in Wolf Point.
On June 21, 1959, he married Janice Marie Day (Jan. 14, 1936 – Sept. 6, 2016). Between 1959 and 1963 the couple lived in Great Falls, Ann Arbor, Michigan (where he earned his master’s in education), and Fargo, North Dakota. They returned to Great Falls where in 1964 Jacob joined Charles M. Russell High School as dean of students, and later became assistant superintendent for the Great Falls Public School system.
In 1979, he and his family moved to Missoula, where he served as Superintendent of District #1 in the Missoula County Public School system. In 1994, he and Janice moved to Polson, where he served as Superintendent of Polson Public Schools. The couple lived in Polson for 21 years and eventually retired there. Jacob was an active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and involved in the community. For health reasons the couple moved to Missoula in 2015.
Jacob’s life was shaped through his career. As an administrator his priority was listening to all perspectives and making decisions that best served students, faculty and the community. He was a demanding superintendent: firm, fair and respectful. His uncanny ability to remember names helped to create a culture of belonging and purpose.
Jacob’s life was shaped through his family. Summer and winter pilgrimages across Highway 2 to visit relatives in North Dakota and Minnesota created an important family cadence. Later in life, the cabin on Flathead Lake became home to countless other memories and served as a way for Jacob and Janice to share their hospitality with family and friends.
Jacob’s life was shaped through the church. Sunday worship was rarely missed. Church was a priority, and it grounded him in the communities he and Janice called home. In addition to various church council and committee roles, he served as Vice President of the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and neighbor, Jacob, alongside Janice provided for life’s needs, from sharing a warm home and good food, to lively conversation and vital learning. His family and friends describe him well: disciplined, compassionate, determined, respected, driven.
Jacob is preceded in death by his parents and many aunts and uncles. Survivors include his sons and their families, Jeffrey (Kristin) Block, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Joel (Kim) Block, Minneapolis; seven grandchildren, Aron (Allison), Marit, Elsa, Siri, Logan (Kristin), Tanner, and Kai; sister Luella (Stan) Schroeder; brother Kenneth (Ilene) Block; sister Lillian (Dalton) Kohlman; and numerous nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
We give thanks for the love and support of all caregivers, especially those serving at The Springs of Missoula, The Waters in Minneapolis, Fairview Medical Center in Edina, and Kindred Hospice of Minnesota.
A memorial service to celebrate Jacob’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2019, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Polson. Pastor Melanie Martin-Dent will preside; Pastor Joseph F. Wahlin will preach. A reception will follow. In honor of Jacob’s wishes, memorial gifts may be sent to Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp (Lakeside, MT), Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Polson, MT), or Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN).