Judy Jacobs
Nassau County Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), center, died Tuesday at the age of 77.

Eleven-term Nassau County Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), a 20-year veteran lawmaker who served seven years as the legislature’s first Democratic presiding officer, died Tuesday after a reported fall. She was 77.

Jacobs got her start in politics as a vocal civic and environmental activist. She counted a law that banned smoking in restaurants and bars as top among her many legislative accomplishments. News of her death shocked and saddened her constituents and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

“Judy was a tireless advocate for her constituents often reaching out to me nights and weekends to try to help a resident in need,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican who previously served with her in the legislature. “She truly was an example of all that is good in a public servant…Judy often referred to good things in our county as ‘jewels’, so today may I say Nassau lost one of its precious jewels.”

Jacobs, whose tenure spanned three county executive administrations, was among four remaining county lawmakers that have been serving on the 19-member Nassau legislature since its inception in 1996.

“Her dedication, loyalty and commitment to her community were second to none,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat from Great Neck. “She consistently fought to improve the quality of life for Nassau County residents. Judy Jacobs’ legacy will forever be in the hearts of all who knew her.”

She represented the 16th Legislative District, which encompassed the North Shore communities of Plainview, Old Bethpage, Jericho, Syosset, Woodbury, Hicksville, Old Westbury and Roslyn Heights. She sat on the rules, health, planning and government services committees.

“She was a kind and courageous woman, and she will be sorely missed, nowhere more than on this campus,” Nassau Community College President W. Hubert Keen said. “At all times and in all settings, she was a fierce advocate for the College and for all whom she served. Many times she could be seen supporting NCC events, the most recent being the prom dress giveaway in May.”

Jacobs was predeceased by her husband, Sid, and survived by three children and nine grandchildren. Her funeral is set for Friday.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.