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Celebrating the Life of William Jackson, Jr.
When first diagnosed with cancer, he was asked by his physician whether he wanted to fight it or not and his response was his favorite quote: âLet us march forth in that high Roman fashion and make Death proud to take us.â
And that he did.
Reverend William âHoneyâ Jackson, Jr. was the first born of seven sons to William and Alice Jackson, Sr. in Brenham, Texas on July 11, 1931. In September 1961, he married the love of his life and best friend, Doris Lyndell âMamukuâ Jennings. They moved to Anson, Texas where they reside today, having shared almost 53 years of life, love and laughter and raised five amazing children.
On Sept. 10, 1972, William Jackson preached his first sermon at Bethsaida Baptist Church, Anson, TX under the direction of Reverend J.L. Lee. This began a 42 year march in the ministry as a âdrum major for God.â His first pastorate was at Bethsaida Baptist Church where he served faithfully until called to Little Zion Baptist Church in Rotan. In 1979, he accepted the call to servant-leadership at the Greater Zion Baptist Church in Sweetwater, Texas where he served untiringly for 35 years. During his visionary tenure he orchestrated the expansion of Greater Zion by adding an educational wing and a fellowship hall. He provided prison ministry for 18 years for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Colorado City and lead the church in actively participating in college campus ministry at the Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, Texas. He was a long-standing member of the Greater Abilene Ministerial Alliance where he served as the parliamentarian.
For Reverend Jackson, ministry extended far beyond the pulpit. He was a civic activist who understood the importance of giving back to the community and giving voice to the unheard. He ran and was elected to the Anson School Board where he served as the first African-American president. He was a founding member of the Anson Meals on Wheels program that recently celebrated 35 years of existence. On July 31, 2014 the organization honored his service in a formal banquet. He served on the board of People for Progress Inc. (PPI), the Abilene Black Chamber of Commerce, the Anson Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club and the Lionâs clubs and numerous other civic organizations. He served his community as a member of the volunteer fire department and police department and advocated for neighborhood improvements to include the building of community housing, paved roads and other needed services for vulnerable neighborhoods.
He was a hands-on pastor as well as father. He invested in the youth of the community by serving as a Boy Scout leader and coaching several Little League baseball teams throughout the years. He faithfully attended the activities of his children both biological and spiritual. He motivated and inspired them to pursue their education and follow their dreams. As a graduate of the Frederick Douglas High School, not only did he âtalk the talk, he walked the walk.â At the age of 59, he returned to school and completed his Bachelors in Theology, and at the age of 61 earned his Masters in Theology.
Vocationally, Reverend Jackson was an entrepreneur who opened the doors of Jacksonâs Body shop in 1972 in Anson, Texas. The business was later moved to Sweetwater, Texas until his retirement in 2012.
Reverend Jackson was also a decorated veteran of the Korean War in active combat from 1951 to 1954. He also was a member of the National Guard.
But his most powerful ministry was in his home. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, brother and friend. While the name âHoneyâ originated with his wife, it didnât take long for the grandchildren to adopt this name for a person who was kind, compassionate, sweet and whose very presence and powerful words were healing. He was the priest, provider and protector of his home. He was always known for amazingly long stories that sometimes took years to understand (but powerful when heeded to), quick wit and or providing the right words at the right time.
He always told his children that the best thing he could do for them was to love their mother. He was committed to demonstrating what that love and commitment looked like in practice â in health and in sickness, for better and for worse. He was a giant among men.
He leaves to celebrate and honor his life, his amazing wife Doris Jackson of Sweetwater; daughters, Wilma Igwe of San Antonio, Donna Stephans and Nina Heggins, both of Austin and Denisha Presley of Kyle; son, Darrel Jackson of Little Elm; his step mother, Sallie Mae Jackson; brothers, Leon Jackson of Chicago, Ill., Roy Lee Jackson of San Diego, Calif. and Clarence Jackson of Odessa; 11.5 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, sons and daughters in the ministry and friends.
Reverend Jacksonâs passing at Scott and White Hospital in Round Rock, Texas on Friday, August 1, 2014 left a profound void in the lives of those who knew and loved him.
He was preceded in death by his father, Reverend William Jackson, Sr.; his mother, Alice Jackson; brothers, Reverend James A. Jackson, Roosevelt Jackson and Russell Jackson.
We celebrate his life with the same vigor that he lived it â knowing that Death was proud to take him.
A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 at First Baptist Church in Sweetwater with Reverend Iziar Lankford officiating. Interment will follow at Sweetwater Cemetery all under the care and direction of McCoy Funeral Home.
A wake will be held Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 at 6 p.m. at McCoy Chapel of Memories.