Ross Jackson

January 20, 1929 ~ May 13, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old


John (Ross) Jackson of San Jose died peacefully on May 13, 2023, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was 94, and though his body gave way beneath him, his mind stayed sharp to the very end.

He is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 50 years, his children Ann O’Kane (Sean), David Jackson, Carol Bierach (Jeff), Janet Jackson, Tom Jackson (Gale), and Nathan Jackson (Ariane), nine grandchildren, five great grandchildren, sister Mary and brothers Stephen, Robert, and Alan.

Born in San Francisco in 1929 to Isabel Ross and William Fulton Jackson, he was the second of seven children. He was raised in Wenatchee and Leavenworth, Washington, and graduated from Central Washington College of Education in 1950. His teaching career, which started at Sacajawea School in Richland, Washington, was interrupted by a 3-year stint in the army. A proud Korean War Veteran, Ross served as a specialist in communication intelligence with the U.S. Army in Korea.

He arrived in San Jose in 1956 and began teaching (and taught for the rest of his 41-year career) in the Franklin-McKinley School District. Ross will be remembered as a gifted teacher by the countless number of students he inspired. He was once called, “a complete teacher” because of his skill, his love of his students, and his leadership. He gave countless hours to FMEA, his professional organization. A respected teacher advocate, Ross believed that what he contributed on their behalf was ultimately related to the good of his students.

After retiring in 1994, Ross was a volunteer docent at de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University for twelve years, taught English through the San Jose Public Library ESL program, played countless rounds of golf at Sunken Gardens, listened to his favorite music, learned to use his iPad and iPhone to connect to the world, old friends and former students, and to play Words with Friends. He never missed the NPR Sunday puzzle.

Ross will always be remembered for his steadfast devotion to family and friends. He was proud of his six children, and of the fine adults they each became, and was happiest when he was with them and their families. In 2021 Ross wrote a memoir entitled “My Ship Came In.” In it he described some of the roles he played over the course of his life. He wrote: “Father, husband, teacher…what else? Soldier, student, son, brother, cousin, uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa, in-law, colleague, apple-picker, carpenter’s helper, almond counter, pollen gatherer, warehouse worker, bad golfer, recreational skier, avid bridge player, writer, drip castle builder, bad poet, book collector, jazz lover, pie maker, puzzle solver, tire salesman, hitch-hiker, poetry memorizer, and dreamer.”

Ross will be buried in a private family ceremony at Madronia Cemetery in Saratoga. A Celebration of Life is planned for later this summer. The family asks that donations in his name be made to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

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