Dr. Martin G. Jacobs, 83, a nephrologist and pioneer in the field of dialysis and kidney transplantation, died Feb. 10, 2013. Born in Newark, he was raised in Orange and in recent years split his time between homes in South Orange and Manhattan.
Until his retirement three years ago, Dr. Jacobs was a senior attending physician at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, and courtesy staff member at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Dr. Jacobs, known as “Dr. J,” helped carry out the first kidney transplant in New Jersey in 1967. In the decades that followed, he helped transform what was an experimental intervention into a life-saving procedure with a 90 percent success rate. The renal program he led at Saint Barnabas was one of the nation’s most active, with more than 2,000 transplants performed under his guidance. In 2001, the hospital established a transplant institute that bears his name.
A graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, he earned an undergraduate degree from Franklin & Marshall College and studied medicine at Cornell University. The son of a fruit and vegetable vendor, he worked his way through school by selling shoes, drawing blood, and driving a produce-delivery truck. His medical training included two years as a naval doctor, an internship in internal medicine at the University of Chicago, and a residency at Newark Beth Israel, where he was chief resident. In 1972, he became one of the first board-certified nephrologists in the United States.
He served as a senior medical officer in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in the Philippines and Japan.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara; two daughters, Wendy of Durham, NC, and Ellen of Manhattan; his son, Andrew, a New York Times reporter currently based in China; and six grandchildren.
Services were held Feb. 13 with arrangements by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Livingston.