George R. Jacoby [1932-2013]; Buckeye until the end, died watching the team


George R. Jacoby, a Libbey High graduate and star Ohio State University football player, died Saturday in Cincinnati. He was 81.

His son, Jeff, said his father died of natural causes. An OSU fan till the end, Mr. Jacoby passed while watching the Buckeyes open the football season.

“He died to watch the second half with Woody [Hayes],” son Jeff joked, referencing the storied OSU coach.

At Libbey, Mr. Jacoby played alongside Dick Szymanski, who later enjoyed success at the University of Notre Dame and a long professional career in the NFL with the former Baltimore Colts. Mr. Jacoby graduated from Libbey in 1950.

He was a two-way player for Ohio State from 1951-53, playing offensive tackle and nose guard on defense. He became one of the top collegiate players in the country, serving as co-captain and MVP of the 1953 OSU team and twice earning All Big-Ten selections, among other honors.

He was drafted in the sixth round by the New York Giants, but decided to forgo a professional career that had little financial promise. Instead, Mr. Jacoby returned to Toledo, where he worked for Chevrolet as an accountant. The company transferred him in 1961 to Cincinnati, where he lived the rest of his life with wife, Nina.

Mr. Jacoby remained a passionate OSU football fan, up until a few years ago attending each homecoming game and the traditional Captain’s Breakfast, where past captains welcome new leaders of the Buckeyes. He wore OSU clothing constantly, possessing a plethora of university gear, son Jeff said.

The family plans to cremate Mr. Jacoby in OSU attire.

Mr. Jacoby is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nina Jacoby; sons Jeff and Doug Jacoby; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation is to be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today, followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. at the Gwen Mooney Funeral Home in Cincinnati.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society, Crossroads Hospice of Cincinnati, or Faith Lutheran Church, also of Cincinnati.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.