The family of longtime Knoxville radio personality Jeff Jacoby is planning a celebration of life service Thursday in his honor.
It will be at 5 p.m. at Cokesbury United Methodist Church on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville.
Jacoby died Sunday morning after battling pancreatic cancer for two years. He was 61 years old.
Jacoby was known for his work for Sports Radio WNML and has been involved in Knoxville sports since 1983, according to the station's site. He worked with the Vol Network for more than a decade and co-hosted the Doc, Jeff and Heather show on WNML.
"In the first year and half [after his diagnosis] he missed one day of work. And I had to send him home that day," sais his co-host of 11 years, Mickey Dearstone, "And people would go, 'Why is he coming in?' But he just absolutely loved it so much and I honestly think that he wouldn’t have made it as long as he did if didn’t have that to look forward to."
He has been publicly fighting his battle against cancer for more than a year, and has used his position at the radio station to draw attention to efforts that help others in their battles with cancer, including the Game on Against Cancer event.
"He was the most positive person I’ve ever seen with that horrific disease," Dearstone said.
In a statement on behalf of his family, Jacoby's wife Sheree said they are "proud of the life (Jeff) lived and the high bar he set for his peers, friends and family members."
"We are humbled by the overwhelming love and support extended to Jeff and our family over the last two years while Jeff fought against an ugly disease. In true Jeff Jacoby fashion, he defied this cancerous beast, outliving his prognosis," she said. "We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Dr. Mitchell Martin of Tennessee Cancer Specialist and his entire staff for helping to extend Jeff’s life so that he was able to give us precious times together."
Vols Head Coach Butch Jones spoke about Jacoby Monday, saying he enjoyed the opportunity to get to know him.
"Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family. He's meant so much to the Knoxville community and University of Tennessee," Jones said. "I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with him and get to know him. It's been a tough year for our community when you look at obviously the passing of Jeff, but also the tragedies in Chattanooga and Gatlinburg, but this state is resilient and will persevere, just like this football team."
WNML radio producer Joel Silverberg told WBIR 10News that Sunday was a "sorrowful day," but it was fitting that his coworker would be remembered on Christmas.
"Christmas was Jeff's favorite holiday, he always talked about Christmas a lot," Silverberg said. "It's what made everybody so upset as we came close to the last week before Christmas. We knew what Jeff was going through and we knew how much he loved Christmas."
Dearstone said Jacoby was in charge of his five grandchildren's stockings every Christmas. In their last conversation, Jacoby said he hoped to make to Christmas. He died Christmas morning.
Silverberg said Jacoby was the first close friend he'd seen battle cancer, and no one set a better example than the radio host.
"It's very eye-opening how somebody battles cancer as hard as Jeff did," Silverberg said. "His two-year fight was remarkable to see, because there were days when you felt like, 'Man, does this guy really have cancer?' It just didn't seem like it some days."
Jacoby will be remembered as an energetic, passionate and positive man, Silverberg said.