A celebration of the life of Tom G. Jackson will be 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 at First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at McLaughlin Cemetery in Cleora, Okla. Rice Funeral Service has been entrusted with Tom’s care.
Friends may visit at the funeral home Thursday evening, Nov. 28 from 5-7, with the Jackson family there to receive visitors. Visitation will also be Friday at the church from 12:30 p.m. until service time. Tom left this temporary earthly home for his eternal heavenly home on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. He was 76.
Born in Vinita on Nov. 11, 1937 to Walter “Happy” and Lena G. (Brewster) Jackson, Tom was reared and educated in the Cleora and Fairland area, graduating from Fairland High School. Tom continued his education at both NEO and OSU, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering from OSU in 1960.
On March 22, 1958 Tom and Carol Nikkel married in a Fairland ceremony. Their union was blessed with two children, son, Bret and daughter, Nikki. As the years have passed Tom’s pride and joys have been his treasured grandchildren.
Tom proudly served his country as a pilot in the United States Air Force. Throughout the years he has continued to reunite with whom he served — the Pilot 62A Training Class. Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Tom enjoyed a 32 year career as a pilot with United Airlines.
Because of Tom’s career the family made several communities home through the years. Claremore became their permanent home in 1977. The Jacksons embraced and were embraced by their new home town, but no friendship ran deeper than their family of First Baptist Church. Tom was very active in the church, serving as a deacon for a number of years. He was also instrumental in the construction project of the new children’s wing. However, those who knew him best knew there were multitudes of quiet, behind the scene efforts that Tom Jackson contributed.
When Tom left the church he didn’t leave his faith behind, instead he lived his life following the instruction he found in God’s Word as it pertains to being a husband, father and friend. He was referred to by his family as “their strength.” He was diligent in the study of the Word; therefore, making his advice and instruction to friends and family a resource that they will continuously treasure.
One of his closest friends referred to him as the most talented and intelligent person he knew — humbly, Tom would be the first to say those were all gifts that God had given him.
For Tom, family was his first priority, whether supporting Carol in all of her activities or as Nikki said, providing for and protecting them. Tom was a quiet man and, according to his wife, he was the most even tempered person she ever met. The family had great times playing cards and waiting for their father’s favorite expression when they lost, “Well that’s not so bad.”
He always had just one chocolate covered cherry even though the box would be empty. Tom and Carol enjoyed traveling. A few of their favorite destinations included a trip to Alaska and a South African Safari. He enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation and could often be found outside fixing or building something, unless the St. Louis Cardinals or the OSU Cowboys were playing.
It was Tom’s habit to always have a bandana when he was working on a project. Many times he used it to cover an injury until the job was finished. Very capable of all areas of construction, Tom made the Jackson children the envy of all their friends when he built a color TV and recessed it into a wall in the family home.
An avid hunter and fisherman, every year on his birthday Tom could be found pheasant hunting in Kansas with his friend Bill Whitley. While on a trip to Canada he witnessed one of God’s majestic scenes as he watched a bald eagle come down and take off with the fish that had just been caught. So beautiful was this sight that this dedicated fisherman didn’t mind that the eagle took not only the fish, but the still attached line and pole as well.
This loving husband, father and grandfather will be missed by all who knew him. Tom is survived by his wife of 55 years, Carol; his children Bret Jackson and wife Crista, Nikki Boyd and husand Jerry; grandchildren Aaron Jackson and wife Joy, Adam Jackson and wife Kelly, Mary Lois Decker and husband Joshua, Philip Andrew Jackson and wife Lindsay, Stephen, Josiah, Grace, and Luke Jackson, Jackson Boyd and J.T. Boyd; great-grandchildren Elijah, Teddy, Emma, Ava, Lena, and Rory Jackson, Thomas, Caleb, Abigail and Elsie Decker; brother Ben Jackson and wife Charlotte and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Tom was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers or other condolences, please consider a gift in Tom’s honor by donating in the name of Tom Jackson to the First Baptist Church Disaster Relief Team Fund or First Baptist Church Building Fund.