Advocate heart and soul of Killarney

A memorial service for Keith Jacobson, who died June 24, is set for Sunday

Lorna Gibbs, long time seniors advocate and close friend of Keith Jacobson, says the community activist was the heart and soul of the Killarney Community Centre and the driving force behind a movement to have a seniors centre built in Southeast Vancouver.

Jacobson died Friday, June 24, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Jacobson was no stranger to battles — in the years this reporter knew him, he fought tirelessly for his community of Killarney as well as for the rights of community centres across the city — and of course the seniors centre. Gibbs says

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Jacobson was determined to live long enough to walk through the front doors of that seniors centre once it was built but unfortunately did not live long enough to see his beloved project through to completion. Jacobson, who had served as president of the Killarney Community Centre Association, was still active with the board and held the position of treasurer at the time of his death.

“He worked right up until the end,” says Gibbs.

Jacobson was an outspoken critic of the plan to rewrite the joint operating agreement between the city and park board and the city’s community centre associations, an issue still unresolved after more than a decade. Jacobson also fought through multiple mayors and councils in his quest to have the long-awaited seniors centre built adjacent to the Killarney Community Centre, a plan recently approved and supported by three levels of government.

Jacobson’s wife Karen told the Courier a memorial service will be held this Sunday, July 3, at 3 p.m. at the Killarney Community Centre, located at 6260 Killarney St. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the B.C. Cancer Foundation as a way to express their thanks for the care given Jacobson during his five years of treatment. Donations can be made online at

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