Word trickled out Friday that a spectator had died at the U.S. Open. Out of nothing more than morbid curiosity, the public wondered as to the details of the golf fan’s demise.
It turns out, 94-year-old Marshall “Chick” Jacobs’ passing was pretty natural and without drama—save for the fact that it came during the second round of the second major of the year. Jacobs, sitting next to his son in the grandstands, merely faded away.
But more than just craving the details of a death at a major sporting event, we should try to learn a little more about the man who was determined to live long enough to see the U.S. Open in Wisconsin.
Jacobs’ wife, Lucille died the Tuesday of the week of the U.S. Open—just three days before Chick’s demise at the tournament. His wife of 68 years had been in poor health since hip surgery. It was in part due to the couple’s passion for golf that Chick was compelled to attend the tournament, per Golfweek.
Marshall himself hadn’t teed it up in two years and had been in decline since his own broken hip in January. Nevertheless, he refused to miss a tournament he’s been planning to see since the USGA announced Erin Hills would host the event.
“I hope I’m still alive when this thing is here,” Marshall told his family.
In the two days after his wife’s death before he attended the U.S. Open, Jacobs scoped out prime viewing locations with the precision expected of an engineer who once worked on NASA’s Apollo program (which he did).
He settled on the grandstands next to the sixth green as a prime viewing spot. Jacobs and his son, Bill spent “three hours of bliss” watching the golfers come through. He even got to see his favorite golfer, fellow Wisconsinite Steve Stricker play through.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Marshall began to fade away. His pulse weakened as he slumped and became unresponsive. Paramedics arrived, but Marshall’s do-not-resuscitate order kept them from performing CPR. He died alongside Erin Hills sixth green in his son’s arms.
Bill told Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his father’s favorite places on earth were golf courses, suggesting God found it a fitting time and place to call Marshall home to be reunited with his wife.
Regardless of your religious orientation, it’s a touching story and picture—and just about the best way for an avid golf fan to depart this world. RIP Marshall (and Lucille) Jacobs.