Mark M. Jacob

December 22, 1939March 15, 2023
Obituary of Mark M. Jacob


Nelsen Williamsburg

Mark M. Jacob, age 83, of Seaford, Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Born December 22, 1939, Mark Jacob began life in the Bronx, New York City, child of the late Fred and Esther Jacob, and younger brother of the late Sidney Jacob. The way he described it, Mark lived a childhood right out of your idyllic vision of 1940s Jewish New York; stickball in the street, candy stores with comic book spinner racks, double features for a dime, and the freedom to wander safe streets with a passel of friends. After a stint in the Army, Mark tried on many hats, as he figured out his greatest strength, connecting with people and building relationships. He worked in New York’s Garment Center, ran errands in the Brill Building, drove a taxi across Manhattan, peddled his paintings at flea markets, and sold women’s wigs, furs, and makeup out of the back of his car. He did it all to support the family he loved. In 1964, he married Nancy Landauer, a dark-haired beauty that he spotted across the office one day. They fell in love at first sight and didn’t leave each other’s sides for the next 58 years. Fred came along in 1969, and Steven arrived in 1978. Along the way, they moved from Queens, to Richmond, to Newport News, and, finally, to Seaford. Mark sold insurance for many years (including the first $1 million life insurance policy in the Commonwealth) and owned Flippin’s Fish & Chips, a fast-food restaurant in Hampton. (He swears he made the best fried shrimp on the Peninsula!) But he found his life’s calling when his son Steven began struggling in school from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, at a time when no one knew what ADHD was. In 1988, he founded PADDA, People with Attentional and Developmental Disabilities Association. Over the next two decades, Mark became a fierce self-taught advocate for children and adults with disabilities. Mark’s PADDA provided free representation in special education proceedings, helping parents fight for a fair and effective education tailored to their kids’ needs. He lobbied state and local officials to strengthen the law, and he taught parents about the special education process to help them become excellent advocates in their own rights. PADDA was so successful that the Department of Education awarded it a grant to teach and advocate for Tidewater’s kids, with a focus on our military families. Under Mark’s leadership, PADDA grew into a force that bettered the lives of thousands of children across Hampton Roads. Mark retired in 2006. He served as a mediator for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, using his uncanny ability to bond with people to help resolve difficult divorce and custody issues. He visited his favorite restaurants and kibbitzed with everyone, telling stories and cracking them up with jokes old and new. But above all, he loved his family and friends, especially grandchildren Charlie and Alice and great nephew Sid, and the menagerie of pets who shared their lives over the years. Mark was predeceased by his parents, Fred and Esther Jacob; his brother and sister-in-law, Sidney and Jewel Jacob; and his son, Steven Jacob. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; his son Fred Jacob (Beth) and grandchildren, Charlie and Alice, of Washington, D.C.; his nieces Leslie Gillie (Toby) of Deltaville, VA and Normagean Hall (Mike) of Williamsburg, VA; great-nephew Sidney Hall of Virginia Beach; and friends and family across the country too numerous to mention. Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21st at Nelsen Funeral Home in Williamsburg and will be officiated by Rabbi Severine Sokol. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations may be made in Mark’s name to the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Online condolences may be shared at In keeping with his “never met a stranger” nature, Mark became known as “Uncle Mark” to many of those whose lives he touched over the years. Our uncle may be gone, but we know that he left the world a better place than he found it. We miss you already and will love you forever. Wherever you are now, we know that you’re already making ‘em laugh.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Tuesday, March 21, 2023