James (Jim) Pierre Jackson, age 94, passed away on December 28, 2019, in Washington, MO. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 18th, at 11 A.M. at the Presbyterian Church, Washington, Missouri.
Jim married Charlene Duncan on August 8, 1957 in Washington, MO, and is survived by his wife, son Keith and wife Narcisa of Naples, FL, son Glenn and wife Evelyn of Wichita, KS, and their two grandsons Nicolas Jackson and Aaron Jackson of Kansas City. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Helen Lipton of Viejo, CA, and Nina Nicholson of Grand Junction, CO.
Jim was born in Paris, France, on December 10, 1925, of American father Kenneth Morgan Jackson and French mother Germaine Madeleine Jackson (nee Henry-Lepaute). His parents met while his father was in the US Army in France during WWI. Ten days after Jim’s birth his mother died suddenly, leaving him in the care of his French grandparents in Paris, France. He loved spending time at his grandparent’s country home on the Oise River where he could swim and play outside in the woods behind their house. When he was 8 years old, Jim’s father brought him back to live in St. Louis with his two older sisters.
Jim had a passion for nature and the outdoors and for sharing these with other people. Jim spent many summers at the YMCA summer camp on the Meramec River fostering his lifelong interest in the outdoors. As a teenager in St. Louis he started bird watching and joined the Webster Groves Nature Study Society. He was very knowledgeable about Missouri birds and could identify them by sight, sound, and observing their flight patterns. On birding trips he could call birds in by imitating their songs. He kept a leaf collection of Missouri trees, butterflies, and took many photographs of natural history. After graduating from Maplewood High School in 1944 he served in the US Navy during World War 2. He attended the University of Missouri graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology and wildlife management, and a master’s in education in 1957. Later he served on the U. of MO. Advisory Council to the School of Forestry Fisheries and Wildlife. For ten years he worked as an educational consultant for the Missouri Department of Conservation. In this role he visited rural schools in the Ozarks to teach kids about conservation and in the summer went to county fairs with a truck pulling an exhibit trailer to promote good conservation practices.
Jim settled in Washington and began a long career as a biology teacher. While at Washington Public High school he and several other teachers collaborated to lead a school sponsored extracurricular club called Students Afield Today (SAT) in which they took students on trips to study natural history and geography. They led students on trips to Wyoming, the Grand Canyon, and Big Bend National Park in addition to numerous canoeing, camping, hiking, and cave exploration outings in Missouri. His family was fortunate to have him take them on trips around the country to parks and forests and share his enthusiasm for the natural world. He especially loved traveling to the western United States.
Jim wrote five books and numerous magazine articles in publications such as Missouri Conservationist, American Forests, American West, National Parks, National Wildlife, and Backpacker. At the end of his life he was working on another book about a forester who gets old and has to move into a senior citizen care facility.
After retiring from Washington High School, he stayed very active and was involved in many charitable and educational endeavors. He was active with the Optimist Club and Future Farmers of America (FFA) selling Christmas trees raising funds for the FFA. He was involved with the Washington Historical Society for over 20 years and played Daniel Boone as a historical re-enactor and assisted in maintaining Daniel Boone’s grave site near Marthasville. He volunteered at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit serving as a natural history guide, participating in Pioneer Days, and assisting with various projects. Jim and his wife Charlene took numerous trips through the Elderhostel Program, now called Road Scholar, serving as a seasonal instructor from 1992-2015. Also, Jim competed in Senior Olympic swimming events throughout the St Louis area YMCA’s with many medals to show for his efforts. In 2016 he was honored with the Community Contributor Award by the School District of Washington WINGS Educational Foundation.
Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Washington Historical Society or the Presbyterian Church of Washington.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.