Dean Martin Jacobson

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former Joint Program Graduate, Dean Martin Jacobson, on December 27, 2018, at Providence Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, WA, with his wife and soul mate, Paula Yup at his side. He was 61.

Dean was born at Edwards Air Force Base in California on November 7, 1957, to Robert and Virginia (Petersen) Jacobson and his older sisters, Linda and Cynthia. He learned at an early age to care for the environment and started the first recycling center at Malibu Park, CA, when in Jr. High School. He graduated from Santa Monica High School, Occidental College, and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, where he earned his PhD in Biological Oceanography in 1987. Don Anderson was his advisor. The title of Dean’s doctoral thesis was “Ecology and Feeding Biology of Thecate Hetertrophic Dinoflagellates.”

He and Paula married in 1985 in Falmouth, Mass. They traveled the world and lived to reduce their carbon footprint.

He worked at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in Boothbay Harbor, ME. He taught at Whitworth University and at the College of Marshall Islands in Majuro where Dean realized his dream of living and teaching in a marine community. He championed the preservation of coral beds which were mined for a road along the airport. His zealous environmental efforts forced an end to his tenure at the college.

Upon his return to Spokane, he continued his recycling efforts until his health began to fail him. His love for the mountains were equal to his love for the oceans. He spent hours painting creeks and rivers and sharing his paintings with family and friends. His greatest fear was the world not recognizing the true danger of man-caused climate change and the impact on the earth he tried so dearly to protect. Dean strove in every way to provide a safe environment for the future of humanity.

Dean is survived by his wife Paula Yup, mother Virginia, sister Cynthia Farrens, and nieces and nephew Melissa Redmond, Emily Sloth, and Michael Farrens. He joins in Heaven his father Robert, sister Linda Redmond, and step-mother Bonnie (Nielsen) Jacobson.

A memorial service was held in January at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Spokane, WA.

Dean would not want any cut flowers in his memory, but would want you to continue his life’s passion to save the environment through recycling and reducing your carbon footprint. Contributions can be made to the Sierra Club or your favorite environmental advocacy organization in his name.

Information for this obituary is from