The Rev. George L. Jackson: A Life of Service
Rev. George L. Jackson of Tuscaloosa, Alabama passed away at his home on April 22, 2018. Rev. Jackson is preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin and Jennie Mae Jackson; his sisters Ruth Dykes and June White; and his brothers Robert Jackson and Vernon Jackson. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Gloria Emily Jackson; sister Betty Jo Bieber; children Eddie Jackson and Lisa (Justin) Kilmer; grandchildren Blake Jackson, Brandon (Katherine) Jackson, Morgan Lovin, and Madison Lovin; great-grandson Bryant Jackson; and many others who he considered children and grandchildren.
Rev. Jackson, at ninety-one years old, still walked the halls of Heritage Health Care and Rehab, a skilled nursing facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Despite being older than most of the residents in the facility, Rev. Jackson served as the owner and administrator. He started every weekday at 6:30 a.m. He walked the halls, checked on his residents, and “helped the girls in the office get started.” Rev. Jackson greeted every resident, visitor, and employee with a friendly “hello.” He prayed with residents, and he counseled their families and loved ones dealing with grief.
Rev. Jackson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 22, 1927. He joined the United States Navy in 1944 and served through the end of World War II and the Korean Conflict. Rev. Jackson returned home following the conclusion of the Korean Conflict to live with his loving wife, Gloria. In 1965, Rev. Jackson believed he had a higher calling that led him to the ministry. In 1967, he became an ordained Methodist minister in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. He brought a light to the daily spiritual lives of the people in his congregation.
Rev. Jackson’s mother became ill a few years later, and Rev. Jackson became more involved in her care after she was admitted to a skilled nursing facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He visited the nursing home where she resided and provided support and spiritual words of encouragement to his mother and the other residents at the facility. It was during this time that Rev. Jackson had a revelation: “I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to make sure that someone else’s mother, father, or loved one was cared for just as I would care for my own.”
Following this revelation, Rev. Jackson became the assistant administrator/chaplain at the nursing facility where his mother resided. He did not want to leave the ministry, and he saw the opportunity to work in the nursing home as a new way to serve his community. The nursing facility became his church and the residents and staff members his congregation. They all worked together to do God’s work, and he carried this philosophy with him every day of his life.
In 1971, Rev. Jackson became the administrator at Heritage Health Care & Rehab, and he continued serving as a full time minister. For over fifty years, Rev. Jackson was a force in the nursing home industry in Alabama. The Alabama Nursing Home Association named him Nursing Home Administrator of the Year in 1992 and 1993. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Nursing Home Association from 1980 to 1984. Rev. Jackson was the oldest active nursing home administrator in the state of Alabama, and in 2017, on his 90th birthday, the Alabama Senate honored him by passing a resolution to recognize his exemplary career and service to others.
Rev. Jackson devoted his life to his wife, Gloria, his family, and to the service of others. He was an inspiration to his employees and the members of his family. He always had a kind word for everyone he met. He spent every moment of his life giving to others, trying to improve the lives of those around him, and serving as an example of living a life through Christ. His legacy will live on through the third generation of his family who will continue to run Heritage Health Care with the principles and ideas that he exhibited in every aspect his life. Rev. Jackson recently reflected on his work: “Everything we do, we try to do it in a relationship with God,” Rev Jackson said. “We try to have His blessings on everything that we try to do here. I’ve had a good life, I’ve had a busy life,” he said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re proud of what the nursing home has done for us. . . It’s called us to do things that we never thought we could ever do.” This commitment to the elderly and community echoed Rev. Jackson’s lifelong motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Dr. Mark Lacey and Rev. John Drawhorn will officiate a celebration of Rev. Jackson’s life at Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South on Wednesday, April 25th at 2:00 p.m. His family will receive friends on Tuesday, April 24th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Active pallbearers will be Blake Jackson, Brandon Jackson, Pete King, Ronnie Sanders, Justin Kilmer, and Robert Long. Honorary pallbearers are the Alabama Nursing Home Association, St. Mark United Methodist Church, employees and residents of Heritage Health Care & Rehab, and employees of Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the The Gideons International, P.O. Box 97251, Washington, D.C., 20090. Rev. Jackson believed in the Gideons’ mission to spread the word of God in part through the distribution of Bibles worldwide free of charge.
My deepest sympathy to the family for your loss. May the "...Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort..." be with you during this time of sadness.
(2 Corinthians 1:3,4) ~ (Psalm 83:18)
Anne Hill, AL
The staff of Magnolia Chapel Funeral Homes express our sincere condolences to your family for the loss of such a wonderful man.
Magnolia Chapel Funeral HomesTuscaloosa, AL