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  • In Memoriam: Carolyn J. Jacobson - March 23, 2018

    It is with a heavy heart that we notify you of the death of Carolyn Jacobson after a 2 year valiant battle with endometrial cancer.

    Elise Bryant, CLUW’s President describes Carolyn this way, ”Activist, unionist, educator and hell raiser, we give thanks for the spirit, intelligence and passion Carolyn brought to everything she put her hand to. Like our foremothers Mother Jones, Olga Madar and Sojourner Truth, Her spirit marches on!”

    After graduation in 1972 from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations Carolyn served as an intern at the AFL-CIO in publications and public relations and then worked for 28 years as the director of public relations for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Miller International Union (BCTGM).  During that time she was the union’s representative to CLUW, coordinated union women, participated in women’s activities and formed a women’s committee.

    She obtained a Masters of Science degree (Communications) in 1979 from American University.

    Carolyn was committed to CLUW from the beginning as a founding member, having attended the first conference in Chicago 44 years ago this month. She served as a project consultant and special assistant to the CLUW President for 15 years.

    After retiring from BCTGM in 2001 she created and directed CLUW’s Contraceptive Equity Project to make sure that unions knew they had a right to demand contraceptive coverage in their health plans if the plan covered other preventive drugs and devices. When it shut its doors in early 2004, the project had succeeded in assisting millions of union families secure contraceptive equity in their health plans. CLUW continued to urge union women to check to see if their plans covered contraception… and if the plan didn’t, CLUW asked them to urge their respective union to pursue the issue… reminding them that “the union can threaten the employer with a law suit under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” 

    Carolyn subsequently directed CLUW’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Works project that worked to reduce cervical cancer rates and disparities among working women by promoting increased cervical cancer screening and annual follow up for union women and their families.  Carolyn also connected CLUW with projects spearheaded by two young survivors – Christine Baze of the Yellow Umbrella Tour and Tamika Felder of Tamika and Friends’ Walk to Beat the Clock.

    In 2015 CLUW adopted the Spread the Word Campaign, an awareness effort for women about coronary artery disease which kills more Americans than all cancers combined and is the #1 killer of women in the United States.

    Most recently Carolyn worked with HealthyWomen, a non-profit health information source for women, to conduct a survey of CLUW members’ health information needs. Carolyn had health information posted monthly on CLUW’s website based on the survey results.

    Carolyn was successful in securing funding and partners for these initiatives.  She produced materials, contributed to the CLUW website, created articles to non-CLUW publications, led and coordinated panels and workshops throughout the country for national meetings and chapter events.

    Carolyn worked closely with the CLUW Health and Wellness Committee.  The co-chairs reflected on their experiences. Helen Ramirez-Odell: “What I remember so much about Carolyn is not only how informed she became on the health projects she took on for CLUW, but how her skills as a union woman enabled her to do the organizing work that is required to make a project successful.” Millie Hall: ”Carolyn's  amazing devotion, desire and vision to "talk union and health" issues.. for union women, was invaluable.  She called, emailed, Facebooked me often .., right up to close to the end about issues our CLUW Health and Wellness Committee should address.  We will truly miss her.”

    Carolyn also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Berger Marks Foundation and  promoted her love of mentoring and advancing young women into leadership through that resource. She directed CLUW to Berger Marks’ grant opportunities that resulted in providing scholarships to 10 young women to attend CLUW’s Working Women’s Leadership Skills Training in 2012 and 2014. In 2011 CLUW was awarded grants to three CLUW Chapters “to fund projects and expenses that promote and/or mentor young women activists and trade unionists.” 

    She conducted mentoring programs including mentoring circle training through providing materials, workshops and making herself available for radio show interviews and other forms of communication.

    Carolyn is a long-time member of the National Writers Union, UAW, Local 1981.

    She is a recipient of Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations’ highest alumni award for “service to the school and professional achievement”,  American University’s “Alice Paul” Equal Rights Award, Women in Government’s “Presidential Leadership Award" and CLUW's Outstanding Achiever Award. 

    Carolyn once reflected, “ I came from  a family that was very steeped in social justice.  It was really important to not only do well, but to do good.” Her life accomplished that. She will be sorely missed.

    Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and many friends at this time.

    She is survived by her brother Myron Jacobson, niece Clarice Jacobson, nephews Glenn and Daniel Grindlinger and great niece Emilia Rosenzweig.

    CLUW Funeral Tribute Remarks

    Funeral arrangements have been set as follows:

    Service: Monday, March 26 1 PM: Adas Israel, 2850 Quebec St NW, Washington, DC 20008(202.362.4433)

    The family will sit shiva in Carolyn's home on Monday, March 26 and Tuesday, March 27 6-8 PM:  (4700 Connecticut Ave. #609, Washington DC 20008) 

    A graveside service will be held at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, 3/28/18 at Old Springfield/Montefiore Cemetery, 121083 Springfield Blvd., Jamaica, NY 11413 (718.528.1700). The family will sit shiva at the home of Glenn and Brooke Grindlinger (400 E. 85th Street, Apt. 16J, NY, NY 10028) on Wednesday evening, 6-8 PM. 

    The family is working with Cornell University to develop programming and scholarship in Carolyn’s honor to support Carolyn’s longstanding interests. Contributions to this effort may be made at When making online donations, please be sure to fill out the “In Memory of” section of the donation form, indicating in memory of Carolyn Jacobson. You should select “Cornell University-Other Cornell” under the “what areas of Cornell would like to support” tab. Donations may also be made by paper check to Cornell University, Box 37334, Boone, IA 50037-0334 (checks payable: Cornell University, noting in the memo “In memory of Carolyn Jacobson”).

    Cards and messages may be sent to:

    Myron Jacobson (Carolyn's brother), 3306 Northwest 53 Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33496

    Clarice Jacobson (Carolyn's niece)

    Glenn and Daniel Grindlinger (Carolyn nephews)

    Page Last Updated: Mar 28, 2018 (16:56:04)
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