Ted & Florence Jacobsen


Ted and Florence Jacobsen come from a proud heritage. Florence’s paternal and maternal grandfathers, Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant, served as successive Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ted’s parents were Danish immigrant converts who became pillars of the Utah religious and economic community. Ted married Florence Smith in 1935, beginning a remarkable partnership that extended for over eight decades in life and will endure in eternity. Building on their firm family foundation, they have each made a significant mark on the Church and in the community. Brother and Sister Jacobsen are the parents of three sons, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Ted received his engineering degree from Utah State University, and rose to a leadership position in Jacobsen Construction. The firm built many important structures including the University of Utah Special Events Center (now known as The Huntsman Center), the Los Angeles Temple and (with partner Jack Wheatley) the Oakland Temple. Ted was active in many civic organizations. He served as Chairman of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, as President of the Association of General Contractors and as a member of the Utah State House of Representatives. Church leadership positions included Bishop of the Bonneville Ward, President of the Eastern States Mission, and President of Temple Square, supervising hundreds of volunteer guides.

In 1961 after serving actively with her husband in the Eastern States Mission, Florence was called as General President of the YWMIA, a position she held for twelve years. She served as a member of the National and International Councils of Women representing the Church. During her tenure as President of the YWMIA, she saved the Lion House from the wrecker’s ball and supervised its splendid restoration. During her presidency she was involved in many other restoration projects. After her release in 1973, she was called as Church Curator, eventually rising to the post of Director of the Church Arts and Sites Division. She supervised the first systematic catalogue of the Church’s artworks and historic artifacts, and continued the program of restoring and renovating significant Church historic sites, including the Joseph smith home in Palmyra New York, the Brigham Young Summer residence in St. George, UT and the Manti Temple. Her crowning achievement may have been serving as the driving force behind the concept and construction of the Museum of Church History and Art, which she directed until her retirement in 1985. She was honored by Brigham Young University with their Woman of Excellence Award.

As part of their most lasting legacy, Florence S. and Ted C. Jacobsen founded and funded the Jacobsen Scholarship Fund. The mission of this scholarship fund is to assist worthy Latter- day Saint students who are citizens of the United States and demonstrate a need for assistance and a commitment to serve others through education. The scholarship which began making awards in 2005 has awarded over one thousand scholarships to students attending fifty-two post secondary institutions.

Brother Jacobsen passed away in 2009 at the age of 100½ after a full and productive life of love, kindness, service and achievement. Sister Jacobsen continues her active involvement with the Jacobsen Scholarship Fund as well as many other community and Church associations. In 2010 she was honored by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation for her sacrifice and vision in preserving Mormon history and historical sites.