After seven decades, widow of WWII soldier gets to say final goodbye

A Roseville woman buried her late husband’s remains at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Friday, 73 years after he was declared missing in action during World War II.

Army Staff Sergeant Jerry Jacobsen was given full military honors and a flyover of WWII aircraft as his 84-year-old wife, Catherine Tauer and 86-year old sister, Jackie LeBath, sat near his grave. They were surrounded by dozens of their family members and acquaintances.

This day may not have ever come if it had not been for war historian Roberta Russo, who discovered Jacobsen was buried in a grave for an unknown soldier at a cemetery in Normandy, France. The Department of Defense had been alerted to the same information back in 2008 but didn’t follow through.

In 2016, a story by the Fox 9 Investigators on Russo’s findings got the attention of the Pentagon and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

The Department of Defense exhumed the grave in November 2016 and DNA tests confirmed Jacobsen’s remains in June, though Tauer had a memorial marker placed in Jacobsen’s honor at Fort Snelling nine years ago.

She was 17 and Jacobsen was 22 when they started dating in 1939 and got married four years later in the middle of the war. 

A year later he went missing. He was 27 years old. 

Since then, Tauer has tried over and over again to get information from the Defense Department on where her husband might be located.

Jacobson was a member of the 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division, which took part in the siege of Saint Lo’, France. On the day he went missing, he was manning an observation post and was to report on enemy mortar fire.  

The U.S. Army declared him deceased as of July 16, 1945.