Peter Richard Jacobson, 72, artist, writer, fine-art photographer, guitar picker, poker whiz, fly-fisherman, lure-builder, mongrel wrangler, humorist and longtime friend of Bill W., died on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD, following a massive heart attack.
Peter was born in Westerly, RI, in 1947. An outdoorsman from childhood, he loved to fly-fish, hunt for arrowheads, walk in the woods, ski and play golf. He grew up in Ashaway, RI, where he spent many juvenile-delinquent-pranking hours with his brother Paul and friends, haunting the Ashaway Cemetery, camping in the woods there, sneaking bareback rides on horses corralled at the nearby Kenyon farm and participating in Ashaway Gate-Night pranks.
He graduated from Chariho Regional High School and attended Mitchell College in New London for a year, often hitch-hiking back and forth from his home in Ashaway. Never a fan of formal education, he left after learning as much as he felt he needed.
Around this time, he had one of the most memorable experiences of his life, traveling - barefoot - to New York City with friends to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium. He and his pals had extra tickets, and tried to give them away, but none of the cute girls they approached would accept them.
Also around this time, he was part of a band, The Livin' End, which played throughout New England, mainly at college parties. In the band and throughout his life, he played guitar, both acoustic and electric, mostly blues and some folk. Fran Christina, who went on to drum with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, was a part of The Livin' End for a while. In recent years, Peter had put the guitar aside, but had planned to return to it this week.
He had many jobs in life, including working for General Electric in Washington, DC; Fisher’s Big Wheel and Grant’s in Westerly; Bradford Dyeing Association in Bradford, RI; and the G.C. Moore Company in Westerly; driving for Harry’s Taxi in New London, CT; and transporting developmentally disabled adults to their jobs in southwestern Maine, a job he adored.
He worked as a librarian and weather-page builder at newspapers in Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Maine.
He wrote a column for The Mystic River Press, delivered that paper to shops in the area, and wrote a regular column for Reel-Time, an online fly-fishing site.
He was briefly a Realtor, a pursuit he left because of what he perceived as an environment of rampant greed.
He made beautiful black and white photographs, starting with realism and moving into abstract expressionism, winning a merit award in B&W magazine, a superb national publication.
A few years ago, he leapt into digital painting, which he pursued passionately. He spent months learning Photoshop and Corel Painter, both of which he mastered.
His most recent job - in addition to making digital paintings - was supporting his wife Carrie in her art career. He was a constant source of strength and inspiration for her, and his great eye and beautiful design sense helped her with every painting.
Peter had a great sense of humor and could write with precision and a vivid wit. Here is a bit of writing he did on an application for an art show:
“Having grown tired of just about everything else, I've pretty well settled into what I do now: creating images that interest me, and leaving the platitudes and technobabble to people who think that kind of stuff is important. I do what I do because it's what I do, and the reasons why I do it are best left for my therapist and myself to sort out. I try to focus on the beauty of the ordinary, steering clear of rules, and paying as little attention as possible to the folks who have taken it upon themselves to decide what someone else's art should look like. If this policy runs me afoul of the Image Purity Police and its auxiliary regiments of self-appointed critics, then nothing could make me happier.”
He wrote memorable Craigslist ads, one time offering to give away an elephant to the right person, and announcing that the yard sale was clothing-optional. Early birds, he wrote, would have to be able to outrun slavering chow dogs.
He was an avid conservationist, an expert and imaginative fly-tyer, a self-described social Democrat and Bernie supporter and a determined Trump hater. He successfully battled a lifetime of depression, and had been sober for 34 years.
He was a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, the American women’s soccer team, and Halloween.
And though he never earned a college degree, he was a voracious reader with a remarkable memory, and educated himself to mastery on many subjects, including Hawaiian shirts, World War II, the Vikings, dogs generally and Carolina Dogs specifically, dinosaurs and archaeology and the life and health of the salt marshes and barrier islands of the Eastern Shore.
He was the proud and loving father of Erika Chiaradio of Westerly, and he delighted in Erika’s husband Paul.
Peter loved dogs and cats, and had them throughout his life. At their home in Wachapreague, VA, he and Carrie, his wife of 31 years, had five dogs. He was their primary care-giver, and he spent a lot of time playing, cajoling, and yelling at them.
He was the son of the late Marie and Jacob Jacobson of Ashaway and brother of the late Paul Jacobson. In addition to his wife, daughter and son-in-law, he leaves two sisters, Susan and Lorri; three grandchildren, Ashton Gaccione of Westerly, Samantha Bascom of North Kingstown and John Jacobson of Westerly; and three great-grandchildren, Rosilynn and Emmett Bascom of North Kingstown and John Jacobson Junior of Westerly.
Memorial gifts may be made in his name to the Eastern Shore SPCA - http://www.shorespca.com/