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Brigitte Jacobson
Brigitte Jacobson

Brigitte Jacobson, a former Navy lieutenant commander and pilot who was active in schools and parenting groups, died of cancer Dec. 17 at her North Baltimore home. She was 46.

Born at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia, she was the daughter of Claude Lott, a Marine captain and his wife, Janette. As a member of a military family, she lived in Hawaii, Okinawa, California and New Jersey, where she was a graduate of Monmouth Regional High School.

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She was New Jersey state champion in the 400m hurdles during her freshman year at the school.

She enrolled at Norfolk State University in the ROTC program and was battalion commander of the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC Battalion. She earned a degree in English at the school and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy. She was also selected for the aviation program.

She completed flight training and earned her wings.

“At the time Brigitte became one of only a few black female pilots in the Navy,” said her husband, Michael Jacobson. He said they met at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City where she had been assigned to fly the E-6B, a Boeing 707 outfitted for strategic communications and nuclear command and control.

The couple married in 2002.

“My wife’s smile didn’t just brighten up a room – it enveloped spaces in light,” her husband said. “It was impossible not to smile with her, not to laugh when she laughed. She connected with people in a deep and meaningful way.”

Ms. Jacobson became an aircraft commander, mission commander, Instructor pilot and was later named a pilot evaluator for her squadron.

In 2001 she was featured in a book about female pilots called “Yankee Doodle Gals,” aimed at educating and inspiring young women, according to a family biography.

In 2004 she earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of Oklahoma City with an emphasis in photography.

“This began a long relationship with the arts and birthed what would be a lifelong interest in photography,” her husband said.

She completed the final years of her Naval service as the administration officer for the strategic communications wing and she was honorably discharged as a lieutenant commander.

She and her family moved to Baltimore in 2006. She raised her family and became a volunteer and activist in education and environmental issues.

She was a volunteer at Roland Park Elementary Middle School.

She joined Baltimore Attachment Parenting and ran its online forum. She was a member of the La Leche League and the Baltimore Food Makers Group.

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“She became a sought-after expert on parenting among her friends,” her husband said.

She was a mentor to girls at the Enterprise Women’s Network Girls’ mentoring program at the William S. Pinderhughes School in West Baltimore. She was also a co-captain and leadership group member of the organization.

She was a member of the Sierra Club, the Mom’s Clean Air Force and the League of Women Voters. She traveled to Annapolis and to Washington D.C. to lobby legislators as a member of MCAF.

A friend, Megan Beller, said, “She told hair-raising stories and she had a sympathetic ear. Spending time with Brigitte was the best, the most fun you can have. You left having learned something — a book to read, a recipe to try, a recommendation for a plumber or a new strategy for bedtime.”

She also helped register Ohio voters in the months before the 2016 presidential election.

“Brigitte used a darkroom in her home to hone her skills as a photographer, working exclusively with 35mm film and specializing in black and white artistic photography,” her husband said.

A woodworker, she framed pictures using found objects and reclaimed wood.

Ms. Jacobson wrote letters to The Sun, including one this year:

“As the primary shopper for a family of four who almost always has a cart full of groceries and is not trained as a cashier, the self-checkout machine does not represent increased convenience,” she wrote. “Furthermore, I resent the fact that my wait time for a live cashier has substantially increased over the years because this bit of technology that increases the consumer’s workload has replaced a human being who reduced it. Since when did we all willingly and without pay start working for technology (and the grocery store) rather than it working for us?"

On another occasion, she wrote, “In mandating a post-Labor Day start date for Maryland schools, Gov. Larry Hogan has once again demonstrated his arrogance and short-sightedness ... I deeply resent the governor for impacting my family’s additional opportunities for family time throughout the year just to benefit Ocean City businesses at the end of the summer. "

Ms. Jacobson traveled widely and in 2018 spent nearly a month in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

“During that trip Brigitte summited Mt. Meru, the fifth highest mountain in Africa while, unbeknownst to her, her body was already battling metastatic breast cancer,” her husband said. “She stood on the peak of that mountain having lived a full, flowering, and amazing life.”

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Homewood Friends Meeting House, Charles and 31 streets.

Survivors include her husband of nearly 18 years, two sons, Nick Jacobson and Noah Jacobson of Baltimore; her parents Claude and Janette Lott of Baytown, Texas; and two sisters, Tracy Williams of Baytown and Kelly Bridgeforth of San Diego, California.

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