Roger Lee Jackson

82, Los Angeles, CA

VISITATION: 9:30 a.m. ~ 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2014 at the Pulliam Funeral Home in Oblong. Bro. Dee Wolfe officiating.  Burial will be in the Oblong Cemetery.

CELEBRATION OF ROGERS’ LIFE:  10:30 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2014 at the Pulliam Funeral Home, Oblong, IL. Military rites at the cemetery, conducted by the Oblong American Legion Post #219.

EXPRESSIONS OF SYMPATHY: May take the form of a contribution to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research with envelopes at the funeral home or may be mailed to: Pulliam Funeral Home, PO Box 121, Oblong, IL  62449.

Roger Lee Jackson, 82, Los Angeles, California, passed away Sunday June 1, 2014 at his residence in Los Angeles, California.

Roger always considered Oblong as home and not North Carolina where he was born and lived.  For the first six years of his life in the 1930’s, he went to Oblong every summer to visit Grandmother Evaline Holmes Lamb and Grandfather Curtis Jackson and enjoy a summer on the farm, woods, and blacksmith shop.  What a wonderful place and time to grow up!  Millard Jackson taught high school woodworking and designed and built his own house himself in Winston Salem.  After moving into their house they only went to Oblong for two or three weeks each summer but Rogers’ heart was always in Oblong.   His love of poetry like “Out to Old Aunt Mary’s” by James Whitcomb Riley reminded him of Oblong.

As the Jackson’s always designed and worked with wood Roger entered the Soap Box Derby when he was 12 and won first place in North Carolina with the car he designed and built.  He went to Dayton, Ohio to compete in the national tournament and made it to the semi finals.  After the Derby he joined his father, Frank Jackson and grandfather Curtis Jackson to drive across the country to Bessie Jackson Yeager’s home in Utah.

Roger graduated from high school with academic and athletic honors.  He was president of the student body and won first place in pole vaulting at the Duke relays.  He went to North Carolina State University, enrolled in the five year architecture program and graduated in 1955.  He was in the Air Force ROTC and was waiting assignment when the Pentagon called him for an interview and he was assigned to work on the architectural team building the Air Force Academy for his two years of required duty.  What an introduction to architecture and building a major building!

While in Colorado he discovered skiing, mountain climbing and hiking ~ activities he continued the rest of his life.  He climbed many of the 14,000 foot peaks in the Rockies including the Grand Teton in Wyoming and his last mountain climb was in the Canadian Rockies where he and Mary Ann were helihiking.

After completion of his military service he moved to Salt Lake City ~ major city with nearby skiing and where his cousin, Pat Yeager Faulkner, lived.  He found a job in an architectural firm where he designed a state prison and worked on the university hospital expansion.  He and a friend founded a small firm and continued with projects in the Salt Lake area until his partner moved to California.  His first major job for a large architectural/engineering California firm was design and build Piedmont Airlines hangars in Winston Salem where he was born and his sister lived.  After Piedmont he then was sent to design and build expansion of North Central and Northwest Airlines facilities in Minneapolis.  While there, on the banks of the Mississippi, he met Mary Ann.  They married in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles where both of them would be working.

In 1975 he introduced Mary Ann to life in Oblong where she was treated to overwhelming love and sense of family and heritage so that Mary Ann thought of Oblong as home.  First time we visited was in the summer and was very hot and the second time we visited was in the winter for a funeral and it was the coldest winter with water pipes freezing.  Mary Ann commented that she didn’t want to visit in the summer or winter!  When in California we always follow the weather in Oblong as well as the bean and corn farm prices.  Every visit to Oblong was very special as we visited family, watched the corn and beans grow and Danny’s family grow up.

In California Roger worked on many major projects for TWA, American Airlines, and United as well as major hospital facilities.  He received a patent for large buildings to minimize damage during an earthquake in base isolated buildings.  Often he built models of projects so the owner could see the finished project.

Like the Jackson’s before he was always building something in his shop.  When the hill behind their house slid in 1980, he designed a system of interlocking reinforced concrete terraces which he and Mary Ann built themselves ~ making concrete and carrying 200 pound pieces up the hill.  He bent the steel and built the forms for all his concrete projects.  He built cabinets, a wine cellar, book cases, walls, and anything else that was needed.  He was always working and planning new projects.

His interests in advanced math and working with his hands combined to making polyhedra of many shapes and forms including a hexa/tetra/icosahedrons ~ six, four sided shapes making a 20 sided sphere.  The living room is filled with all his creations and everyone marvels that he could envision and build so many beautiful creations.  He really was just continuing a Jackson tradition.

He and Mary Ann traveled to Greece, Peru and Antarctica and hiked in Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, Ireland, Patagonia, and Switzerland.  While hiking in Switzerland in 2007 he became aware of the disease that changed his life so that he could no longer work with his hands or rely on his legs.

Roger is survived by his wife, Mary Ann of Los Angeles, CA and one brother-in-law Donald Lindsay.

Preceding him in death were his parents and one sister Helen Jackson Lindsay.

Roger is now home in Oblong with his family, his heritage and his memories.  A life well lived and remembered by many.

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