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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, John Jackson lived each day to the fullest while holding his loved ones near. He was a man of honor, integrity, and sound moral convictions that together provide us all with much to aspire for. John was a devoted husband and father whose family tree blossomed to include numerous branches of love ones who made him so very proud. With a special place in his heart for children, he served as a foster parent and used his time and talents to enrich the lives of children who are so often overlooked. Life will never be the same without John here, but the impact he made in the lives of so many around him will continue to touch others for years to come.
The vibrant decade of the 1920s brought our country some of the most exciting times we have ever seen. Cars were being mass produced with the assembly line, which made them more affordable, baseball became America’s favorite pastime thanks to legends like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, and the world of flight took enormous strides forward because of the adventurous spirits of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Amidst this exciting time there was much to celebrate in the lives of a young couple from Indianapolis, Indiana, as they were pleased to announce the birth of their baby boy on January 6, 1924. John W. was one of two children born to his parents, John O. and LaVinia Jackson, and he was raised in the family home in Dayton, Ohio, alongside his sister, Eva May.
Even while growing up John’s spirit of ingenuity was easy to see. He amazed his father by making a radio out of coal, but this was only the beginning. Also known for his free-spirit, John learned to fly a plane while in high school. He was a student at local schools and graduated from a local high school in Dayton.
As a young man John honorably served in the Army Air Corps. While in the military much of his time was spent in England where he worked fixing radios. At one time John stayed behind to finish a radio for his wife instead of traveling with his squadron. This proved to be a fateful decision as his entire squadron died in a plane crash on that very trip.
With his military duties fulfilled, John went on to graduate from the Electronics Institute. Poised for a rewarding career, he worked for Scientific Products, which later became Baxter. John’s work primarily found him fixing hospital equipment in both Michigan and Ohio. He also was an integral part of establishing a lab in Puerto Rico, which now boasts of two labs. John retired in 1985. In addition to his work with Baxter, he also spent several years teaching a bio-medical class at Schoolcraft College.
Although he enjoyed his work, nothing was more near and dear to John’s heart than being with his loved ones. It was before he left for the service that he was united in marriage to the woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was June, and they met while she was visiting her mother in Dayton. John laid eyes on her while working at the soda fountain inside a local drug store, and he was smitten with her right from the start. In fact, he even told his friend that he would marry that girl!
Life only became sweeter when John and his wife were blessed to welcome four children into their hearts and home including John, Ken, Kathy, and Cindy. As a family they took a memorable trip to Washington, D.C., and there were also annual summer trips for one week spent at a cottage somewhere in Michigan during the month of August. For several years he and June were foster parents, and their dedication to helping these children didn't go unnoticed, either, as they were named Foster Parents of the Year in 1980. This high honor included a plaque from the governor in recognition of this special award.
In his time away from work John was always busy. As someone who was handy, he had projects going on at all times. Much of his work was done in the workshop that was on the second floor of the barn he put in his yard. Among his projects was the dome he built over his kids‘ pool that was complete with a heater inside. This way, the pool could be used almost all year. Both he and June were founders of Retarded Children’s Association, and John made several educational toys for the children including an oversized shoe that would make it easier for them to learn how to tie shoes in addition to a working traffic light, too. Later in life he also made toys for the Head Start program. In recognition of his work he was presented with the Golden Apple Award from Head Start. Once he retired John loved golfing with his friends, and since he enjoyed working with electronics he made several video tapes and recordings including a record of June playing the piano. He enjoyed making things of all kinds, watched Tigers games when he could, and had an impressive coin collection.
John Jackson was a kindhearted and generous man who had a heart that was as endless as the sky is blue. He was very supportive of those around him and freely offered love without condition. John worked hard in everything he did and didn’t shy away from tackling any project. He will be dearly missed while his memory is forever cherished by his friends and loved ones.
John Jackson died on May 11, 2014. John’s family includes his children, John (Diana) Jackson, Ken Jackson (Linda M.), Kathy (Lee) Logan, Cindy (Bret) Smith, and Madeline Wilhite; 15 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. John was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, June. Family will receive friends Thursday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at our Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (between Merriman and Middlebelt) where a Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Interment will take place in Parkview Memorial Park. To sign the guest book or share a memory, please click the appropriate tab to the right.