Jacobs, whose prominence faded in recent years, made a fortune as a corporate raider who bought and liquidated failing companies at a profit. He said he had a fortune of more than $200 million at one point in the 1980s.
Jacobs for much of his career was a nationally known investor who looked for unrecognized value in companies and sometimes made huge profits with short-term stock trades. Alexandra Jacobs was an accomplished painter and a devoted mother and grandmother who avoided the limelight that her husband often relished.

In the 1980s, Jacobs owned a minority share of the Minnesota Vikings, which he sold in 1991.
At the time of his death, Jacobs’ portfolio included the household goods company JR Watkins Co, Jacobs Trading Co, and a host of other companies, among them multiple boat manufacturers.
His son Mark, a graduate of Brown University, has served as CEO of Watkins Co since 1998.