Son appeals for witnesses to hit-run

Police have few leads in fatality

courtesy of the jacobs family
Eleanor Jacobs “had the ability to fight for the underdogs,” her daughter-in-law said.

The night before she was struck by a vehicle and sustained the injuries that eventually killed her, Eleanor Jacobs of Needham was singing songs to her 8-month-old grandson via Skype as he sat in a high chair at his home in New York, smiling and laughing at his grandmother.

It is a moment that Jonathan Jacobs, Jacobs’s son, is “so glad’’ it happened, and one he will always cherish.

Nearly 24 hours later, on Dec. 7, Ellie Jacobs, as most knew her, was struck by a vehicle in Norwood as she walked near Washington and Howard streets at about 5:46 p.m., Norwood police said.


The vehicle, possibly a dark-colored Toyota, left the scene, according to two witnesses police quoted in their report.

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Jacobs died Wednesday evening after going into cardiac arrest during a medical procedure to remove a breathing tube.

Yesterday, Jonathan Jacobs urged any witnesses to help police find the driver.

“I want someone to come forward who knows something or knows the person who did this,’’ he said.

“I’m going to stay on this even if there is just a shred of hope, because this was not supposed to happen. My mother was supposed to live at least 20 more years, and I am confident that something will eventually come out.’’


Kevin Grasso, a police spokesman, said the investigation is difficult. “This investigation has been very frustrating, because we don’t have any leads to go on,’’ Grasso said. “When she was struck, there really was no evidence left behind and very little description of the vehicle and driver provided by witnesses who have come forward.’’

Family and friends mourned the loss of a woman they described as fun-loving, caring, and energetic.

Patti Grossman, a longtime friend of Jacobs, remembered the care she put into everything, whether that meant spending extra time accessorizing her table before a party or serving as president of the sisterhood at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham.

Grossman said she helped wherever she saw a need.

For most of her professional life, Jacobs worked as a psychiatric social worker at hospitals before starting a private practice.


Most recently, she was a childcare coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair, helping to place au pairs with families and acting as a mediator when needed.

Seven years ago, she lost her husband to a nearly 12-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, but daughter-in-law Maedhbh Mc Cullagh said Jacobs’s spirit stayed strong.

“She had the ability to fight for the underdogs, to take in the strays and the people who were lost,’’ Mc Cullagh said. “She just had an incredible empathy for people who were struggling.’’

Services will be at Temple Beth Shalom, 670 Highland Ave., Needham, today at 1:30 p.m.