Upon the passing of Richard “DJ” Jackson we reflect on his long and productive life. Born in Kansas City, Missouri June 17, 1930, he knew the trials of the Great Depression but also the joys and freedom hunting, trapping and fishing as a young boy. His Missouri upbringing strongly influenced the rest of his life.
He lied about his age and joined the Navy at age 17 with a few of his buddies. He became a Warrant Officer and flew helicopters in the Korea War where he brought the wounded to the USS General J.C. Breckenridge Hospital ship. He remained lifelong friends with Max Wilson and John Bruechle, who have passed before him.
In San Francisco he married Audreaux Von Neumann and they raised their son, Rick and their daughter, Tracey. Rick passed away during the Vietnam era.
Later he married Johneen Taylor and they lived in Seattle, Washington.
In 1995 he married Ruth Grigsby and they celebrated their 24th anniversary on his 89th birthday June 17th. He became step father to Jill Roberts and Jody Balian and proud grandfather to William Roberts; Quinn Roberts; Eliana Balian and Abi Balian.
Richard obtained his Ph.D. from Cal Berkeley after attending Pepperdine. He worked over the years in construction and engineering. Highlights of his career included Chrysler Corporation; Hughes Corporation (for Howard Hughes); the City of Beverly Hills; Bermite, a division of Whitaker; UT Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; San Jose State University and he helped to close Fort Ord near Monterey, CA before retiring in 1995. He then turned his attention to his woodcraft and made and repaired beautiful furniture.
Richard, or “DJ” as he preferred to be called, was a Mason most of his life and became very active in Hesperian Lodge in Santa Maria. He was Master of Hesperian Lodge #264 in 2003.
From his early upbringing in Missouri he became profoundly knowledgeable about the War Between the States (“It was not a Civil War – there was nothing civil about it”). He spoke at Civil War Roundtables in Texas, Washington and California. He could weave something about that time period into any conversation. He spoke at a High School in Southern California and had not just the students taking notes, but the teachers, too!
He was preceded in death by his loving mother, Leva Dunkle Jackson and his father, James Jackson and his son, Rick Jackson. He leaves his wife, Ruth, her daughters, Jill (Art) and Jody (Jean Paul) and their children, William, Quinn, Eliana and Abi. behind a cousin, Ray Brock of National City, CA as well as good friends, Pat Arman and Lloyd Smith and Emery Knotts.