January 5, 1947 ~ April 17, 2019
Jacob Sprouse filled any room he entered. He was passionate, articulate and frequently very loud.
When I was hired in 1978 as the foster family specialist in the Commonwealth of Virginia my first task was to meet the president of the state foster parent association. I was also warned to expect the unexpected from the infamous President Sprouse. The man I met back then became a lifelong friend, the sort of friend with whom I could strongly disagree and we would remain friends.
When I moved to Florida Jacob helped me plant a garden, which quickly became a jungle. We both enjoyed food and dined together often. I recall how he criticized one of my homemade meals of Spanish tapas by asking if there was an entree after he had devoured all I had prepared, including two helpings of the dessert flan.
When I married in 1988 Jacob brought his son, Kenney, to meet my husband in Ponca, Nebraska. I’m not sure if he approved of my cannon-shooting farmer, but he always asked about Craig every time we talked, always making cleverly disguised criticisms about Craig’s unusual hobbies. Craig remembers the time he loaded extra black powder into his cannon before very quietly saying, “Fire in the hole.” Jacob was a big man but that did not stop him from jumping a couple of feet at the surprisingly loud report. Craig still smiles at that memory – the time that Jacob was at a loss for words.
I spoke with Kenney this week and he asked that I encourage others to leave a memorial gift that would reflect Jacob’s passion for helping children and foster families. Jacob served in a leadership role in the NFPA for many years so I am giving a memorial gift to the NFPA scholarship fund. I believe this gift best reflects Jacob’s passion for improving the lives of children in foster care.