Tribute to Daniel W. Jackson

K. Reed Thompson

I would like to celebrate with you the life of a good friend to each of us and the IEEE, Dan Jackson.† Dan died last August 10th of prostate cancer.

As you can see from the picture, Dan always wore a smile on his face.† He was a happy man.† I remember when he came to see me last year at my SC home, he had just completed a difficult chemotherapy treatment, and he looked pale and weak, but he came in the door smiling, ready to join in the festivities that were going on. He was under treatment for ten years, and all this time he kept working for the future of the Institute.† He kept smiling even in his darkest days.†

Dan never complained about his disease and did not speak about it in conversations unless asked.† However he did on more than one occasion urge male members of the Region 3 Executive Committee and others to get the screening tests, PSA and DRE, regularly after age 40 so that if anyone developed this disease, it could be diagnosed early when the prognosis is better and a cure may be possible.† We should all carry on this vigil on Danís behalf against this disease and remember him each time you urge a buddy to get his tests each year.

This is a tribute to a life well lived, fully lived.† He was energetic in his pursuits. He kept his appointments and was always well prepared.† He was steadfast.† Dan received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1950 and then served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1951 to 1953.† He achieved the level of Captain in the Army Reserves in 1960.† Following the active duty service he began a 41 year career with General Electric Company, primarily in Roanoke, Virginia where he retired from GE in 1991.

Dan has a long and distinguished record of service to IEEE and Region 3.† He had a huge talent for service and leadership that was recognized when he was elected Director of Region 3. His achievements were many but I would like to highlight a few that center around his term as Region 3 Delegate/Director for 1990 and 1991.† Prior to that he served in all the elected positions in the Virginia Mountain Section and some additional committees.† During his term as Director he also worked diligently at the Institute Board of Directors level and contributed to the Educational Activities Board where he had a strong interest in continuing education.† Altogether while on the Board and during the following 12 years he accumulated over 100 man-years of service at the Institute level on various boards and committees.† Thatís an average of over 8 Board and committee positions simultaneously every year!

At Region 3 he also served in many leadership and committee roles including the Strategic Planning and Educational Activities committees and was the Region 3 Sectionsí Congress Coordinator.† He was definitely not shy when he had a point to make.† He spoke up for his ideas and negotiated with good humor while respecting new ideas.

After his term as director he also continued to serve the Virginia Mountain Section in many positions including another term as Section Chair.

For this tireless service he received Outstanding Service Awards from Region 3, the Virginia Council, the Virginia Mountain Section and the IEEE Educational Activities Board.

In order to further honor this record of service by Dan, and perhaps others with similar records, this year Region 3 created a new award to be known as the Daniel W. Jackson Award, for exemplary and dedicated service to IEEE and the engineering profession.† Dan was the first recipient of this award on July 26, 2003 at his home in Roanoke.† Following receipt of this award I am told that one of his children asked what he had done to earn it.† His reply was "I never did anything that I did not feel it was my duty to do."

Although being busy with all this IEEE activity, he also found time to serve on the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers Board of Directors and as President of their Roanoke Chapter.† He received the VSPE Outstanding Service Award in 1976.

Also he accumulated over 25 years service as an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America.† He received the Blue Ridge Council BSA Silver Beaver Award in 1979.

He was a leader in his church where he served as deacon and later as an elder.† Dan was known for his integrity, dedication, generosity and ready sense of humor.

Dan and Doris had three children, daughter Barbara, sons David and Gordon who together provided them with four grandchildren. The children following Danís example are all well educated professionals making a strong contribution to their professions.†† Dan was proud of his father in whose footsteps he followed and he celebrated his life to us.† His dad was a fellow of the Institute and a distinguished educator who also died of prostate cancer.† Danís grandfather was also a distinguished educator who in the early 1900ís worked with Thomas Edison and Steinmetz and others to develop an appropriate curriculum for electrical engineers.† His grandfather was also at one time the Department Head of Electrical Engineering at MIT.

Even with all this, Dan was not all "work and no play".† I remember Dan just loved to tell funny stories.† I sometimes missed the point but Dan, at least, always got a hearty laugh from his stories.† He must have loved to travel, he did so much of it.† He reluctantly embraced the computer chat sessions that replaced some of the meetings because he was a people person.† He enjoyed being with his friends and colleagues.

Although when the occasion required it he would wear a tie, he preferred to wear a bolo. He liked nothing better than to go square dancing with his wife Doris. He and Doris were very active in Square Dancing in Roanoke and frequently participated in exhibitions and competitions.† He could "allemande left and do-si-do" with the best of them

He often spoke of the good times with his family.† He shared with his brothers and sisters a cabin on the coast of Maine where he very much enjoyed visiting and relaxing with them.

In conclusion I would like to say to Dan, "You will be deeply missed and long remembered."


IEEE Region 3 eNewsletter Volume 19 No. 1, January 2004, © 2004 IEEE
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