Jacob Franklin Snyder Koontz (1931-2011)
Jacob Franklin Snyder Koontz was born on December 28, 1931 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He died May 24, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. He was a longtime resident of Plant City, Florida. He is survived by his widow, Ruth (Mathias) Koontz, his sister (“Casey” Epperson), three children (Mary Stevens, Catharine Martin, Jacob Franklin (J.F.) Koontz), five grandchildren (Nathan and Matthew Albright, Amber Schmidt, Faren (Koontz) Bryant, and Kristen Koontz), and one great-grandchild.
Jacob was born during the Great Depression and spent his childhood in a semi-nomadic experience, and from an early age the disability of his father due to being gassed in France in World War I made him a responsible breadwinner for his family. After graduating from high school at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Coast Guard, where he served faithfully for two decades, engaged in all kinds of rescue missions and considerably more interesting tale of unknown foreign missions of which he never tired of telling his family.
During his time in the Coast Guard, while he was stationed in Miami, Florida, he met and married a young Canadian-born woman who was the only modest young woman (according to him) on Miami Beach even in the 1950’s. Together, between 1956 and 1960, they had three children in three cities (St. Petersburg, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina) as his Coast Guard duties kept him in a semi-nomadic lifestyle. After several years as a drill instructor at the Coast Guard Academy in Groton, Connecticut (a job for which he was well suited in personality and temperament), his religious beliefs as a member of the Worldwide Church of God and the response of the military to those beliefs led him to leave the Coast Guard.
He then moved from New England down to a couple acres and a single-wide trailer (to which he made additions), where he lived the rest of his days just outside of Plant City, Florida, dabbling in providing pasture for horses, keeping cattle and chickens, gardening, and growing such fruits as grapes, limes, kumquats, and mulberries. He considered himself a loyal member of the Worldwide Church of God until the day he died, interested in prophecy, with a love of giving thought-provoking and witty sermonettes and Bible studies. He spent most of his years in Florida working as a repairman of sowing machines for the Singer Sewing Machine Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, commuting the two hours each day.
One of his fondest habits during the course of his life was to entertain friends and family with a rum and coke, some steaks he cooked in his homemade steak pit, and endless stories and speculations, of which he was very fond. He is remembered as both a steady and loyal man with an eye for order and discipline and a refusal to complain about life’s suffering, as well as a tendency to have strong opinions and a fierce temper, qualities he passed on to many of his surviving descendants.
It is a sad irony that both the closing period of his life and that of his father were marked by incompetence by medical professionals, but he lived a full life of nearly 80 years, only growing tired in the last few weeks of his life as a succession of blood clots and health crises kept him returning over and over again to the hospital. He will be greatly missed by his friends and family, who know that his suffering is over and that when he next wakens from the sleep of the grave, it will be in the Kingdom of God.