William Stevenson Jacobs III
Time of Service:
10:30am, Friday, June 12, 2015
Place of Service:
Riverside Memorial Chapel
Stevenson Jacobs, of Kingwood Texas, passed away of natural causes on the morning of June 8th, 2015 at his home in New York City with his wife, Atzin Gaytan, by his side. He was 37.
That weekend, the couple was spending time at their weekend home in Connecticut, where they shared many of their happiest days together these past couple of years.
Stevenson’s journalism career began first in Mexico City and soon after he joined The Associated Press as a correspondent in the Caribbean. Later in New York he covered the global financial crisis of 2008, which led him to become a successful business man in the financial industry.
In 2003, Stevenson began covering Jamaica for the AP where he reported on numerous stories which included the country’s elections, hurricanes, tropical storms, gay rights, religion and lost treasure. “He was kind-hearted, without ego, hard-working and people trusted him enough to tell him their most intimate stories,” said Paisley Dodds, AP’s former Caribbean News Editor. “And given that he was from Texas, I remember him always wearing his cowboy boots on most of his assignments despite the Caribbean’s sweltering heat.”
From Jamaica, Stevenson went on to work in the AP’s bureau in San Juan in 2005. While in Puerto Rico, he helped edit and report on stories from across the Caribbean.
“He was a great reporter, a great writer and a great guy,” said Frank Griffiths, an AP correspondent who worked in San Juan. “He was serious when it came to work but also loved a good night out, especially when it came to hitting the streets of Old San Juan.”
From Puerto Rico, Stevenson went to Haiti in 2006. He helped report on the country’s political unrest after the fall of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the U.N. peacekeeping mission, protests, paramilitary activity and kidnappings.
News of his death spread quickly throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere with many journalists remembering Stevenson as a wise and patient mentor. “I looked up to him when I was starting out in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and will always look up to his example,” said Jonathan Katz, a former AP correspondent who followed Stevenson in Haiti.
Others who crossed paths with Stevenson during his many adventures around the globe posted accolades on social media describing him as an inspiration to their budding journalism careers and a gentle, guiding hand. He also inspired his younger brother Trent Jacobs to go into journalism.
Friends and family said he was known for his laughter, quiet acts of charity, playful wit and thoughtfulness. Following his time in Haiti, Stevenson moved to New York in 2007 when he began work with AP’s business desk. In 2010, he went on to work for a hedge fund and most recently worked as a marketing partner for ShearLink Capital in New York.
His wife said weekends in Connecticut were always the most peaceful before they returned to their day jobs in New York where they lived. His brother Trent said Stevenson was a long-time Bob Marley fan and getting the AP job in Jamaica was a dream come true. “His favorite quote was, ‘My future is righteousness,’” Trent said. “And he lived up to that quote with everything he did.”
Stevenson is survived by his wife Atzin; his parents Sharon and Steve Jacobs of Kingwood, Texas, and his brother Trent of Houston. In addition to his wife, parents and brother he will be cherished by his sister-in-law Javannie Jacobs, aunts and uncles Deborah and Greg Ballowe, Susan Jacobs, Randall Jones, Mike and Kerry Kirkland, and Tom Wylie.
He enjoyed many lovely moments and much laughter with his cousins Evan and Sean Ballowe, Christopher Jacobs and his wife Jenni, Craig Jacobs and his wife Ally, Ryan Kirkland and his wife Lori, and Reagen Kirkland. He also treasured the love of other family and friends in Texas, Arkansas, Mexico and Ireland. Stevenson was preceded in death by his grandparents Dr. and Mrs. William Stevenson Jacobs and Mr. and Mrs. William Howard Wylie, and his uncle Charles Johnston (John) Jacobs.
Memorial contributions may be donated to The American Heart Association or Doctors Without Border