Dallas Jacobs Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Dallas Luke Jacobs Jr.

September 21, 1923 - March 7, 2013
Obituary

All he wanted was "up." As a boy growing up in Tennessee during the Great Depression, Dallas Jacobs, Jr. or "Luke" as he was known to his family dreamed of becoming a pilot and learned practical aeronautics by building and flying model airplanes. He graduated from Shelbyville Central High School in June 1941 and began studying engineering in the fall at the University of Tennessee just three months before the aerial attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the Second World War. His family used their connections to Tennessee's governor who recommended Luke for an appointment as an aviation cadet with the Army Air Corps. He...
All he wanted was "up." As a boy growing up in Tennessee during the Great Depression, Dallas Jacobs, Jr. or "Luke" as he was known to his family dreamed of becoming a pilot and learned practical aeronautics by building and flying model airplanes. He graduated from Shelbyville Central High School in June 1941 and began studying engineering in the fall at the University of Tennessee just three months before the aerial attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the Second World War. His family used their connections to Tennessee's governor who recommended Luke for an appointment as an aviation cadet with the Army Air Corps. He completed flight training in 1943, was commissioned a lieutenant, and sailed to England aboard the Queen Mary to enter the war as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the famed Mighty Eighth Air Force. His youthful and innocent dream was fulfilled but transformed into an arduous and deadly task of defending freedom by fighting an air war over Nazi-held Europe. He completed his first combat tour in 1944, was awarded his first of two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and was promoted to Captain. Governor Cooper however appointed him as a Colonel of the Governor's Staff before Luke returned to Europe in 1945. Luke providentially survived a second combat tour serving as a squadron commander based in Italy where he led bombing missions until the German surrender.

Following the war Luke returned to his university where in 1946 he met and married fellow student and veteran, Betty Lynn Rose. However in 1948 his college education was interrupted again when he was recalled to active duty by the newly established U. S. Air Force. The couple had their first son in 1949 and Betty was pregnant again in 1950 when the Korean War broke out. The war situation was critical and Luke departed for Korea to fly night fighters just hours before his first daughter was born. He narrowly survived crash-landing his crippled F-82 Twin Mustang early in the war and was reassigned as an air liaison to the Army's Second Infantry Indianhead Division where he was awarded his first Bronze Star for valor during a critical ground assault. However his desire was to fly and he returned to flying but not before earning his second Bronze Star.

Luke left the Air Force following the war and moved his family to Florida in 1956 wishing to forever avoid the bitter cold that he endured in Korea. In 1958 he began a second career building homes in Orlando where two more sons were born to the family. He still served in the Air Force Reserve and as a Lt. Colonel in 1959 fulfilled his ambition of supersonic flight by piloting an F-104 Starfighter over the Gulf of Mexico. His construction career was varied and the local projects he managed ranged from restoring Rosie O'Grady's in 1974 to building downtown's Barnett Plaza in 1981. He was active in his community volunteering as a high school assistant wrestling coach and serving as a deacon at First Baptist Church Orlando. As he reached his 60's Luke's desire to fly waned along with his ability but not his interest in aviation. After semi-retiring from construction Luke worked to restore the B-17 bomber Liberty Belle to flying condition in 1992. Luke was a particularly guarded person and rarely talked about his wartime experiences. However the fiftieth anniversary of World War II gave his youngest son the occasion to ask him what he felt then being so deeply involved and instrumental in winning that momentous war that defined his generation. His reply was uncharacteristically forthcoming, candid, and simple: "All I wanted was up – and the war meant I could go up." Luke passed away Thursday morning at the Veteran's Home in Orlando. His final mission is "up."

He is survived by his sons, Dallas Jacobs, III of Edmonds, WA and Christopher Jacobs, DeLand, FL; daughter, MaryLynn Whitman of Davidson, NC and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations be made to the Eighth Air Force Museum. Donations will ensure the legacy of Luke and his comrades live on.

Guest Book

The Guest Book for Dallas Luke Jacobs Jr. is no longer available online.

If you would like to reopen this Guest Book allowing further messages from loved ones, click here.


More Obituaries

Orlando Sentinel
JACOBS, JR., COLONEL DALLAS LUKE, 89 of Orlando, FL passed away Thursday, March 7, 2013. He was born Sept. 21, 1923 in...

Read obituary at Orlando Sentinel.

Personalize Your Tribute

Share photos, videos and more with Legacy Memorial Websites. Find out more.