Amtrak crash victim Rachel Jacobs remembered as ‘beacon of light’ at memorial service

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GREENWICH VILLAGE (PIX11) -- Hundreds attended a memorial service on Saturday for one of the eight people killed in the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia earlier in the week.

Rachel Jacobs, 39, was remembered as a kind and caring person who was passionate about her causes.

“She was really seen as a beacon of light,” said Brett Leitner, who attended the service at Hebrew Union College in Greenwich Village. “She touched a remarkable amount of people. It’s a deeply felt loss.”

The married mother of a 2-year-old son was counted among the missing for several hours before her body was found in the wreckage of Tuesday’s rail disaster. She texted her husband shortly before the crash to tell him she was on her way back to the city to their home in Stuyvesant Town. She was the CEO of a Philadelphia based online education consulting firm.

Jacobs husband Todd spoke at the memorial.

“I was really struck how much she impacted his life,” said Leitner. “He spoke really eloquently and lovingly about her.”

The daughter of a former Michigan state senator grew up in Huntington Woods, a suburb of Detroit. She was a founder of Detroit Nation, an organization of former residents devoted to helping the struggling community they came from.

“Clearly she loved Detroit,” said Ellen Bates-Brackett, a family friend who had also lived in Huntington Woods. “I go away thinking and recommitting myself to a more meaningful life. Thank you Rachel.”

“All I can say is the world went into a net deficit today because this woman was a giver, not a taker, and we’re all at a loss,” said a former colleague.

Funeral services will be held for Rachel Jacobs Monday morning in Southfield, Michigan, near her hometown where she will be buried.