Walter Jackson passed away suddenly at his Keizer home on Friday, Sept. 3 at age 87.
He was born in Hastings, Neb. on June 22, 1934 to Glenn and Gladys Jackson.
As a boy, Walt and his younger brother Roger spent many hours together trapping muskrats and hunting jackrabbits for their fur pelts which they would sell to a local furrier. They also enjoyed spending time on their Uncle Don and Aunt Helen’s farm. From his early school years until his death, Walt had impeccable penmanship.
Walt graduated from Hastings High School, home of the Tigers in 1953. He was very popular with the cheerleaders as he was one of the few guys with his own car. He was proud to have participated in track with fellow Hastings classmate Tom Osborne, who later became legendary football coach at the University of Nebraska. Walt made numerous trips back to Hastings to attend high school reunions and visit family.
After high school, Walt’s parents, brother and sister-in-law moved to Oregon for better fishing and hunting. However, Walt stayed behind for a year and worked in Lincoln, Neb. In 1955, he made the move to Salem. He decided to volunteer for the draft and was accepted into the Army in 1956. After basic training, he was stationed at a guided missile base in Playa del Rey, Calif. where he also worked part-time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. In his later years, he enjoyed telling people that he acted as a loan shark by making loans to fellow service members, which helped with starting the family’s auto body business.
In 1958 upon discharge from the army, Glenn, Walt and Roger established Jackson’s Body Shop on Silverton Road in Salem. Glenn ran the front office while Walt worked as the body man and Roger as the painter. After his father’s retirement, Walt moved into the office to take on estimating and running the office. He was a well-respected longtime member of the Autobody Craftsman Association (ACA), Independent Garage Owners (IGO) and Automobile Services Association (ASA). He was very proud to have been one of the first three shops in the country and the first in Oregon to earn I-CAR Gold Class distinction. He earned and maintained good working relations with other shop owners and insurance industry members alike.
In 1960, Walt married Joyce Wiser and started their family. The couple welcomed their first son Randy, followed by Brian and then Larry. They bought their first home on 8th Ave. in Keizer. The family enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing of all kinds. Joyce passed away in 1981 after an extended battle with cancer.
Walt enjoyed attending his son’s sporting and scouting events, especially McNary High School football games which he continued to attend long after his children graduated. He passed down his love of boating and angling to his sons and spent many years fishing for salmon out of Newport.
Sons Randy and Larry worked alongside Walt at the body shop in their teens and twenties. The now fourth generation, 63 year-old family body shop business continues to this day with Larry and Walt’s nephew Jerry taking over ownership after Walt and Roger’s retirement.
In 1983, Walt married Doris Dezotell Lindsay and adopted her two sons Matthew and Andrew. Walt and Doris met at church after being introduced by the pastor’s wife. The new Jackson’s were soon indoctrinated by Walt into ocean salmon expeditions, RV trips, various sports, scouting and many Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays spent trout fishing at Diamond Lake with extended family.
He was a weekly attendee and longtime deacon of First Christian Church in Salem until his passing. Walt loved his Ambassador Sunday School class and made many lifelong friends through that association.
Growing up during the Great Depression, Walt was an accomplished bargain hunter and an avid coupon clipper. Walt loved traveling with his favorite destinations being Hawaii, the Oregon coast, and Palm Springs as well as two cross country road trips in the RV that included the 1996 Olympics. Walt and Doris enjoyed extensive international travel and cruises. Walt was a life member of the Keizer Elks where he and Doris would often go to dance on Saturday nights.
Walt and Doris moved to McNary Estates in 1993 and took in the golfing and social scene. Walt liked attending and watching sports of all sorts: Mariners, Beavers, Ducks, Blazers and PGA golf. In later years, he looked forward to his weekly coffee outings with his friends and tending to his yard.
Walt was preceded in death by his first wife Joyce, father Glenn and mother Gladys.
Walt is survived by his wife Doris; brother Roger (Joanna); son’s Randy (Vickie) of Keizer, Brian (Raeann) of Hillsboro, Larry (Tina) of Keizer, Matthew (Pamela) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Andrew of Keizer; grandchildren Tyler (Miranda), Nicholas, Travis (Lacey), Cody (Emily), Elliott (Megan), and Olivia; great-grandchildren Colton and Kashton.
Walt will be remembered by his family as a generous and caring man who had a good sense of humor. He instilled a hard-working mentality that his son’s and grandchildren adopted.
A celebration of life will be held Monday, September 13, 2021 at 1 p.m. at First Christian Church, 685 Marion St. NE in Salem. A live stream of the service will be available at facebook.com/SalemFCC.