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Harvard firefighter dies from rare form of cancer

Phil Jacobs battled Ewing’s sarcoma

A Harvard firefighter who had been battling a rare form of cancer died last week. He was 48.

Phil Jacobs, a 30-year veteran of the Harvard Fire Protection District, was diagnosed last May with Ewing’s sarcoma, Harvard Fire Chief Bryan Pierce said Wednesday. Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. Jacobs underwent chemotherapy, radiation treatment and stem cell transplants. Jacobs died Jan. 7, and his funeral was held Tuesday.

Pierce, who worked with Jacobs for 22 years, said Jacobs had a great impact in the community.

“Phil was a big part of a lot of people’s lives. He was very impactful. He was a relatively quiet guy, but he was involved in a lot of different organizations,” Pierce said.

Jacobs was involved not only in the fire department, but also with the local Boy Scouts, schools and Trinity Lutheran Church in Harvard, Pierce said.

“He was a family man, he was dedicated to his faith, his family and our department. Everything he did, he put his whole heart into and did the best he could do with everything he ever touched.”

Although he made many memories with Jacobs, Pierce said he loved watching “Law and Order” on Sunday mornings at the station.

Another longtime colleague of Jacobs’ and a friend from church, Jeremy Adams, who is a firefighter and paramedic, said Jacobs was a very community-oriented person. Adams said that Jacobs was an “easygoing guy” and he loved to relax and talk with him over the course of their 17-year relationship at the fire department.

Jacobs is survived by his wife, Kelly; his 12-year-old son, Edward; and his two siblings.

The Harvard Firefighters’ Association raised about $14,000 in their Fight for Phil fundraiser, hosted in September. At the beginning of December, the association presented the funds to Jacobs and his family, Pierce said.

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