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In Memoriam

Claire Cohen Jacobs, died on 09/26/2011. Dr. Jacobs was a member of the Mathematics Department, Rutgers Camden.

A funeral was Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Platt Memorial Chapel in Cherry Hill. Donations may be made to Temple Emanuel, 1101 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08003, where Dr. Jacobs was a longtime member.

Claire Cohen Jacobs, 89, formerly of Haddon Township, a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University in Camden for 27 years who initiated a summer computer and math program for teenagers, died of pneumonia Monday, Sept. 26, at Compassionate Care Hospice in Wilmington.

Dr. Jacobs joined the Rutgers-Camden faculty in 1964 after earning a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. While teaching, she earned a doctorate in education from Rutgers in the 1970s. For several years she was chair of the mathematics department at Rutgers-Camden.

In 1984, Dr. Jacobs designed a two-week summer computer program for math teachers. After educating nearly 100 teachers, she shifted her focus to working directly with students.

She initiated a monthlong summer school at Rutgers-Camden in 1988 for Camden eighth graders. The program, which taught computer basics and fundamental math skills, included field trips and swimming in the Rutgers pool in the afternoon. It was funded largely by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education.

When the summer school was repeated in 1989, The Inquirer called Dr. Jacobs "a kind of mathematical Pied Piper, using computers to lure students deeper into the forest of pluses and minuses." She told The Inquirer that students were required to do a lot of figuring to create computer graphics. "But they don't think of it as math," she said. "They're just making designs and incidentally using math in a fun situation."

In 1993, shortly before she retired, Dr. Jacobs was program director for the Success in the Sciences Summer Institute at Rutgers-Camden. The four-week enrichment program was designed for minority incoming freshmen majoring in math and sciences. She told The Inquirer the 20 students studied math in the morning and chemistry and physics in the afternoon. Evenings were for studying and socializing.

A native of New York City, Dr. Jacobs earned a bachelor's degree from Hunter College in 1941 and a master's degree in statistics from Columbia University in 1942 when she was 20, her son, Ralph, said.

For a decade, until 1952, she was a statistician for government agencies and private industry in New York City and in Washington. Then she and her husband, Morton C. Jacobs, moved to New Jersey.

While he pursued a career as a patent lawyer, she raised their family. When their three children were in school, she taught math for three years at Audubon High School before earning her second master's degree.

She and her husband enjoyed hiking, traveling, and dancing.

After he died in 1997, she traveled with her grandchildren, including on hiking trips in the Canadian Rockies and the French Alps. Dr. Jacobs learned to play the piano as a child and encouraged her children to take up a musical instrument. She enjoyed attending orchestra and chamber-music concerts.

In addition to her son, Dr. Jacobs is survived by daughters Barbara Cohn and Anne Molofsky and seven grandchildren.

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