It is with extreme sadness that we report the passing of our father James Devor Jackson (82), which occurred on the morning of July 15th, 2021. Formerly of 25 Laurel St. in Berlin, James’ most recent residence was at the Coos County Nursing home in Berlin. His transition from this world was a peaceful one and he has joined his parents and many relatives in Heaven. James Jackson was born in Waynesboro PA on the 15th of November 1938, the first of four sons born to Kenneth and Margaret Jackson. His younger brother’s names are Mike, Denny and Kenny- with the last two born as twins. As a child, and until his death, James enjoyed all things sports and the outdoors. His favorite sports teams were the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. Moving to NH didn’t change his team preference, but he merely added two more to the mix- Patriots and Red Sox. Both he and mom enjoyed watching games together. His joy in wanting to help others started early when he became a camp counselor in PA, at a camp called Camp Log N Twig. He also had hopes of becoming a Math teacher, but life took him in a different direction- but he was always an expert in Math. James was very athletic and excelled in such sports as Basketball and Baseball and even tried out as a pitcher for the Phillies, though, once again, life took him in a different direction-but still he shared his skills with his sons. Later on in his life (starting in his 40’s), James could be seen training on many roads in and around his home in NY, PA and eventually Berlin NH as a distance runner. We, his sons, and of course his wife, provided encouragement and always helped him train for the races- helping him stretch and sitting on his feet so he could do sit ups- even biking alongside him during one race, to provide continued moral support and hydration. James ran many road races including 10k’s, 3 marathons and also a road race up a little hill called Mt. Washington. James was an Air Force veteran, whose assignments sent him many places, including the island of Guam. Many a night was spent with James telling stories of his time in Guam, but it wasn’t until he was relocated to Plattsburgh Air Force base in Plattsburgh NY, where the best chapter in his life started. After being set up on a blind date with our mother, Shirley Fountain, 2 weeks later, on New Year’s Eve 1960, he proposed to her and the two got married on Sept 23, 1961. This year, they would have celebrated 60 years of Marriage. But, for over 59 years, James and Shirley shared love and many adventures and interests together. From watching games on TV, to cookouts and dances, to bowling and just relaxing with family, there wasn’t much they didn’t do. James was successful at different jobs in his life, but was most accomplished and enjoyed his tenure at paper mills. He started his paper mill career at the Georgia Pacific mill in Plattsburgh NY; designing many structures still in place to this day (notably, the guard shack) and continued his expertise in the Berlin/Gorham mills- James River (later Crown Vantage then Nexfor Paper). As a project engineer, he won the admiration and esteem from his employer and coworkers because of a few simple words: integrity and hard work. And, always believed in doing the job right the first time and was often quoted as saying “bury your best work”. How true of a saying. If the foundation isn’t solid, then anything built on it will eventually crumble. He retired in 2003, but kept busy with reading, painting, building model airplanes and increasing his knowledge of the Civil War. Though, as a father, grandfather and great grandfather, we feel this is where he felt most accomplished. He was most certainly loved and respected and is deeply missed. We fondly remember every Christmas Eve where he read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. He was the patriarch of the family and that was his role to read that book, and we couldn’t have been happier. Dad also loved a good cookout- and boy oh boy, what a spread of food to be seen- food for all of us, and an occasional hotdog that he’d give the little dogs in his life- he loved those dogs. He was a kind man and loved providing for his family, and yes, he was a great provider- working many long hours and “shut downs”. Yes to get the project done, but also because he wanted his children to have the things that he didn’t have. A man who was a great cook-which he passed down to his sons- the Jackson home often had the aroma of dishes such as Chili or Vegetable Stew, and at Thanksgiving, you would always find him mashing the potatoes by hand and of course carving the turkey. Dad also loved his decaf coffee and for breakfast, white toast, burnt. That was just the best taste to him- coffee and burnt toast. He sadly leaves behind his loving wife of almost 60 years, Shirley Jackson- Coos County Nursing Home-Berlin NH, and his 5 sons, James Jr- Cadyville NY, Anthony-Berlin NH, Keith- Mesa AZ, Cory- Berlin NH and Daryl-St. Augustine FL. He also leaves behind 15 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and many other relatives near and far- and some due to enter the world this year! Dad was all these things and more and he will be remembered as such until we die. Dad, we all love you. Thank you for being the best dad. Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude to the folks at Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin and the North Country Home Health and Hospice agency, as well as the Cremation Society in Littleton. Their compassion and care for our father during this time means more than words.
A funeral Mass and Committal service, with an Honor Guard, will take place at St. Augustine Church/Cemetery in Peru NY at 11am on August 7th. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dementia association of NH/MA- Alzheimer’s Association 309 Waverley Oaks Road Waltham, MA 02452.