Jackson, Rockwell E.
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Dr. Rockwell E. Jackson died peacefully Wednesday, December 5, 2012 after a brief illness. He was surrounded by his family. He was born March 11, 1925 in the coal mining town of Kenilworth, Utah to George and Mae Jackson. Having completed primary and secondary education in Price, Utah, Rock won the prestigious Henry Newell scholarship and attended Stanford University, starting in 1942. He entered the Navy V-12 program in 1943.
Rock went on to the University of Michigan College of Medicine from 1944-1948. His internship and residency followed in Ann Arbor, until the Korean conflict broke out and he volunteered for active service. He was first stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Mare Island, CA and then served as medical officer aboard the U.S.S. Mt. McKinley in the Korean theater. He also served at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. Rock returned to Michigan where he finished his residency and was a clinical instructor in surgery. He developed a life-long love for the Wolverines while at Michigan. Rock started his Tucson career with the Thomas Davis Clinic, before forming a lengthy partnership with Dr. Bud Simons. Rock had a long career as a general surgeon in Tucson, including serving as Chief of Staff at St. Joseph's Hospital. After retirement from private practice in the early 1990s, Rock did volunteer surgical work in South Sumatra, the Caribbean and on the Navajo reservation in Ganado. Rock was a Clinical Professor at the University of Arizona Medical School Department of Surgery and Attending Surgeon at the Veteran's Administration Hospital. He was highly regarded by his students, who chose him to win the Outstanding Teacher Award for the Department of Surgery. He was a member of the American College of Surgeons, serving as President of the Arizona Chapter. He was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Pioneering Innovations in Surgery by the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He served as President of the Tucson Surgical Society and was a member of the Frederick A. Coller Surgical Society. Upon retirement, Rock pursued his love of art and became an accomplished oil painter. He entered numerous exhibits and juried art shows. His work was displayed in art galleries throughout Arizona. Rock was a Signature member of the Tucson Plein Air Painters Society. Rock was an avid outdoorsman and first-class fly fisherman. He loved the West and traveled extensively throughout the Southwest with his fly rod and beagles in tow. He was also a life-long student and had a particular love of history. He gave many wonderful talks about the history of surgery. Rock was a member of The Tucson Country Club, The Mountain Oyster Club and The Foothills Forum. Despite his many accomplishments he was a humble man with a kind, gentle nature and a terrific sense of humor. He was a Renaissance man; a true gentleman. Rock is survived by his beloved wife and best friend Pam, and his three children, Sarah, Ann and George and their six children. He was cherished by his family.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the University of Arizona Foundation/ Department of Surgery (address is Department of Surgery, P.O. Box 245066, Tucson, Arizona 85724), or to The Carondelet Foundation (for St. Joseph's Hospital) at 120 N. Tucson Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85716. Services will be held Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Michael and All Angels Church, 602 N. Wilmot Road, Tucson, AZ 85711. A reception will follow at Tucson Country Club, 2950 N. Camino Principal, Tucson, AZ 85715.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 12, 2012