REDLANDS - December is a nostalgic time of year for Ed Jacobsen. More than 60 years ago at this time he was a part of the Allied offensive in Belgium and Holland during World War II.

Despite having been grazed on his buttocks by a bullet, he was ordered back to the front lines.

In the spring, during a reconnaissance patrol for the 30th Infantry Division, 119 Armored Division, seeking contact with the Russian Army as the two forces drew close to each other, he headed toward a bridge on the Elbe River that the Allies had taken over a short period before - only to discover the hard way that the Germans had quickly regained control of it.

He was captured and held in a prisoner of war camp near Magdeburg, Germany, but escaped after 17 days with three of his buddies - not knowing by then that the war had ended.

During their escape, they stole a jeep and were fired upon as they left - apparently their captors hadn't received the memo that the war was over, either. Jacobsen was shot in the left eye, though he was able to see with it for many years later, finally losing vision in that eye about 15 years ago.

"The Germans treated me OK," Jacobsen, 85, remembers. "They were scared because they knew the end was coming."

There's another reason it's a nostalgic time of year for Jacobsen, a devout University of Redlands alumnus and proud former member of Pi Chi, the university's oldest fraternity.

As the university prepares a float for the Tournament of Roses parade in January as part of its centennial celebration, Jacobsen will be reflecting on the time he and his buddy scored a touchdown at the Rose Bowl.

No, not the on the same day as Tournament of Roses.

A hip injury prevented him from ever playing at Redlands High School, but a played freshman football at the university.

"I was a center lineman" for Redlands, Jacobsen recalled. "I think we were playing Occidental, and we were supposed to be playing at a different field, but something happened and we got transferred at the last minute to the Rose Bowl - not the New Year's Rose Bowl."

According to Jacobsen, "We recovered a fumble, and as we ran toward the end zone, I remember as my buddy and I looked out at the stadium we thought to ourselves that it looked pretty empty, because 3,500 people scattered around the Rose Bowl doesn't look like very many people."

Jacobsen, a retired Realtor who still has his broker's license, now lives up the street from his alma maters at Plymouth Village.

His father, a former economics and business administration professor at the university, volunteered their family's home when once "in the mid-30s several athletes from San Joaquin brought along a bulldog that was being kept in their hotel room. We offered to keep it in our basement while they were on Christmas vacation," Jacobsen said. "As a kid, that bulldog was big to me. Sometime a year later, maybe in '33, '34 or '35 the university adopted a bulldog as its mascot."

His own children know him to be supportive, hard working and a loyal alumnus for Redlands.

"We used to go to the Homecoming games and the Feast of Lights," said Steve Jacobsen, 54, a pastor in Santa Barbara. "My mom was involved with Town & Gown. When she passed away, he created a scholarship fund in her name that he still contributes to."

According to Steve, his father did some complementary real estate consulting for the University of Redlands. "He'd never charge them" for his consultations, Steve said.

While the family lived in San Bernardino, Jacobsen was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.

"He always placed a premium on civic duty," Steve said. "While he was never a politician, he was involved around politics. I remember once flying up with him to Sacramento when I was 10, and he took me with him to the state Senate and I was able to sit in a senator's chair."

"He's a very solid citizen," according to former Redlands school board member and Principal Barbara Phelps, who graduated from Redlands High School with Ed Jacobsen, and later attended school with him at the university. Phelps also described her former classmate as "a dear friend. When Ed tells you you're his friend, he's your friend. He's always concerned about the people he knows, and he's always very caring and very giving."

Ed Jacobsen never seemed to navigate far from his roots. In his childhood days, Plymouth Village was nothing but orange groves. He witnessed the construction of Currier Gymnasium at the university; he "watched the president's house roll over the hill and up the other side to become the Alumni House. I watched the (Sara Grace Parker) Hall of Letters get built."

Steve said he practices some principles he observed in Ed.

"My father has always been a great listener" to Steve and his sisters, Kristen of Santa Cruz and Karen Stancer of Santa Barbara, as well as their older son Alan who died in June 2005. Ed's wife Dorothy died 12 years ago.

"He would let us learn to take responsibility from our own actions," Steve said. "Even though he might not have always thought our own decisions were the best for ourselves, he always supported them and let us take their own path. I try to remember that as my own kids grow up."  DAVID JAMES HEISS, Redlands Daily Facts - Redlands,CA,USA