OBITUARY

Richard Wilfred Jackson

May 26, 1945February 1, 2022
Obituary of Richard Wilfred Jackson
Richard Wilfred Jackson – Musician, Teacher, Thinker. His voice once stirred souls and brought down houses. The rich bass sound that echoed from his throat in song was a blend of both natural gift and years of discipline. Richard Wilfred Jackson, 76, passed from this earthly life to eternal life on February 1, 2022, in El Dorado, Arkansas. Son of Felton Ludwig Jackson and Marguerite Katherlyn Reames Jackson, Richard was born on May 26, 1945, in Coral Gables, Florida. A lifelong resident of El Dorado, Richard achieved Eagle Scout, was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church and First Methodist Church. Often in summers he either worked at the family business, Jackson’s TV & Appliances or at the local radio station. He found a love of music beginning in church choirs, singing in the El Dorado Oratorio Choir, Madrigal Singers and Robert Shaw Chorale of Atlanta, GA. His Music mentors, William Trego and Dr. Walter Michels, encouraged him toward music. He earned a BA degree in Music Education from Baylor University followed by master studies at Furman University, Greenville, SC. Richard accepted a teaching position in 1969 at Wade Hampton High School, Greenville, SC. His choirs were invited to sing at competitions in Washington DC and Virginia. When Dr. John Stapleton hired Richard as Minister of Music at Easley First United Methodist Church, many of. his WHHS students sang in his church choirs. It was during those years, with the guidance and leadership Richard offered his students, that a foundation was built to express their love and devotion to him throughout his life. As former WHHS student and friend Charlie Henderson said, “my devotion to the Lord grew during those formative years, thanks in no small part to Richard”. “He introduced a spirit of competition between the voice parts of the choir, drawing a correlation between the parts and animals. Sopranos were chickens. Altos were cows. Tenors were sheep. Basses were bears. Our rehearsals began two weeks before school started along with the football team and the band. Where the football team might have salt tablets to enhance their hydration, the choir had vitamin C tablets, which Mr. Jackson referred to as tenor pills. Each year one of our first charges was teaching new members our primary anthem, the Aaronic Blessing, The Lord Bless You and Keep You, by Peter Christian Lutkin, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD lift his countenance upon you and give you peace; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. Amen”. To this day I am moved by the thought of delivering it. In the spring of 1973, the Wade Hampton Singers traveled to Norfolk, VA to perform for the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), now the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). We performed Break Forth of Beauteous Heavenly Light, by Johann Sebastian Bach, edited by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. It happened that Mr. Shaw was in attendance. After our performance Mr. Shaw visited our rehearsal room. He told us that he had never heard a non-professional choir perform the anthem so well as we had done. Mr. Jackson was rightly honored. Mr. Jackson lent his support to Greenville County Choral endeavors lead by Dr. Virginia Uldrick, encouraging the participation of his singers. Guest artist such as Robert Shaw and Jester Harrison held weekend workshops for the Greenville County Chorus. Dr. Uldrick directed the annual Singing Christmas Tree. In 1971 the Wade Hampton Singers performed with the Singing Christmas Tree. The Singers encircled the auditorium at the balcony level. There was twenty-five feet between each singer. Mr. Jackson conducted from ground level in the middle of the center aisle. The spotlight on him was the only light in the house. We sang “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen (a cappella). The result was other worldly. Later in the program Mr. Jackson delivered the poem “Christ Climbed Down” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. We were transported near to our Maker”. Another WHHS student Debbie Keenan Anastos reflected – “I can still hear his wonderful booming infectious laugh – He was one in a million”. After a brief semester at Barton Junior High school, El Dorado, AR, Dr. Walt Michels recruited him to Marietta High School, Marietta, GA in 1975. They were excited to reunite as mentors to each other and often had joint choir retreats & choral concerts between Sprayberry & Marietta HS. As a young choral singer and educator, it was Jackson’s mind and vocal talent that created a name for himself both in academics and beyond. At the age of 32, he was at the top of his game but that was before Thanksgiving 1977. While teaching at Marietta High School he was struck down by a cerebral aneurysm. Throughout the holidays, His students held a constant prayer vigil at Kennestone Hospital until he gained consciousness in January 1978. Since 1992, Jackson was a resident at Hudson Memorial home and within the small “bungalow”, he managed to stay connected to the world learning to navigate and voyage the world through the internet. He filled his time with a love of classical Music, wrote witty editorials in the Hudson newsletter “It’s a Tight Fight with a Short Stick”, encouraged Hudson to embrace the “Eden Movement” by incorporating plants and pets into the hallways and rooms of residents. Richard’s confinement to Hudson allowed him to patiently wait for visitors, family, friends, clergy but it was the nurses, the aides, the staff who cared for Richard these past 30 years that the family expresses their appreciation and gratitude. Monica shared “Richard could be tough on us but He enjoyed spirited conversations, to have fun, joke and laugh. For us, we had a special Fair-weather friendship”. Throughout the years his “bungalow” walls were filled with memorabilia, of photos, of awards, poetry, and beautiful classical music flowing from CD’s and the radio. “He’s been through the eye of the needle, and he knows it”. During the 1988 Wade Hampton HS reunion, South Carolina Governor Carroll A Campbell Jr recognized Jackson for his outstanding gifts of a public-school teacher who consistently inspired students to excellence through discipline and hard work. “Your students were fortunate to have your instruction which has lasted into adulthood and no doubt into their children, and they will remember you with great respect, admiration and love”. At the 1994 Eldorado Oratorio Choir reunion for Director Bill Trego, Richard was honored to conduct the Oratorio reunion choir’s performance of Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”, a tradition he had done with all his choir concerts. Richard’s 40-year journey in a wheelchair has inspired many, as well as being admired and loved by all. Richard W. Jackson is preceded in death by his parents; he is survived by his sister, Fran Jackson Farias (Philip) of Big Canoe, GA; Brother, Allen Forrest Jackson of Little Rock, AR; Nephew Timothy J Fore (fiancée Bayly Conway) of Gainesville, GA; Nieces: Michele Fore Donovan (& Nick) of Milton, GA, Cassie Jackson of Asheville, NC; Kelly Farias Helms (& Glen) of Alabama; Great Nephews: Thomas Jackson Donovan, Lyle Arthur Donovan, Whittaker Charles Donovan of Milton, GA; Trey & Josh Helms, Alabama; maternal Aunts Patsy Reames Chandler of El Dorado, Carol Reames Morrison (& Garland) of North Little Rock; Cousins: Mike & Susan Trull of Dallas & Wayne & Nancy Trull, Hot Springs; Travis, Sandra Beth, Vicki, Forrest Reames of New Mexico; Barbara, Sandy, Roberta Turner of California, Rodney & Susan Barnette of El Dorado, Steven & Johna Barnette of Dubach, Scott & Katie Barnette of Hot Springs, Dwayne & Karla Chandler, California and Lou Ann Chandler Bradham of El Dorado along with many other cousins and great nieces/nephews. Richard W. Jackson is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents William Stonewall & Gertrude Elizabeth Ludwig Jackson, Fred ONeil & Bertie Ursula Forrest Reames; Aunts & Uncles: Herbert & Christine Elizabeth Jackson Trull, Bob & Louise Jackson Turner, Beeman & Florence Jackson, Shirley Reames & Brough Tilley, Joanne Reames and JT Barnette, Herman Chandler, nephews Fred Reames, Todd Nethercutt. A Celebration of Life will be at 1 pm, May 28, 2022 at the First United Methodist Church, 201 South Hill St., in El Dorado, AR. The family warmly welcomes you to join them for a reception at the Mulekick@MAD following the service. Remains interred at the Jackson Family Memorial, Woodland Cemetery, El Dorado, AR. Cremation Services are entrusted to Young's Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family ask to honor him with your support by giving to your local music program at your church or school. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away”. Revelations 21:4 Condolences may be expressed at www.youngsfuneralhome.com

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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Celebration of Life