Dr. Ira Jackson, noted surgeon, art collector, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, died peacefully on January 27, 2013 at the age of 92. |
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920, Dr. Ira Jackson attended Duke University and graduated from New York University School of Medicine in 1943. He served in the naval medical corps, as a lieutenant in Okinawa and Italy during World War II. Dr. Jackson earned his Master of Science in Neurology from the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in 1946, where he completed his residency in Neurosurgery and the Duggan Fellowship in Neuropathology. He became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was certified by the American Board of Neurosurgeons in 1953. During his tenure on The University of Texas-Galveston Medical School faculty, 1950-1961, he edited and authored a pioneering textbook in the field: Pediatric Neurosurgery (1959). He was a member or fellow of more than two dozen National and International Medical Societies. He practiced neurosurgery in Victoria, Texas before retiring in 1984 and was then responsible for the development of a large medical center including two hospitals and several medical office buildings. He was honored by the Mexican Neurosurgery Society in 1986 as the "Honored Guest" and speaker in Monterrey, Mexico.
It was during the 1960s that Dr. Jackson and his wife Virginia began to act on their passion for fine art. Co-founders of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Jacksons donated their first print in 1981, and contributed a major gift of some seventy pieces from their collection in 2001. Over the years the Jacksons have given more than fifty additional pieces of art to the Museum. The Jacksons bestowed over eight hundred prints, drawings, watercolors, and illustrated books to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2000. This magnificent gift was celebrated with an exhibition and catalogue, "Prints Abound: Paris in the 1890s." They also endowed a lecture series in their name at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 1998. In 2007, Ira and Virginia Jackson were honoured by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston for their many contributions to the arts.
In addition, he sat as chairman of the board, board member, director, and trustee of several institutions and business enterprises including the Victoria Regional Medical Center, Live Oaks Hospital, and Victoria Savings Company of Victoria, TX; National Health Services Inc. in Los Angeles, CA; St. Vincent's Hospital and The Chamber Music Society of Santa Fe, NM; and the Blaffer Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston of Houston, TX as well as the Spencer Museum at the University of Kansas in Lawrence KS.
Being a mentor to younger people in medicine, business, and the arts over the years was very rewarding and pleasurable to him.
His wife of sixty-four years, Virginia, preceded him in death in 2007. He is survived by his daughter Ann Jackson and granddaughter, Virginia Womack of Houston, his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Dodie Jackson, of Houston, his son Ira "Skip" Jackson, Jr. of Kansas City and his granddaughter Katherine Jackson of Seattle and grandsons Philip Jackson of Atlanta and Henry Jackson of Kansas City, his daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, Robin Jackson and Philippe Muheim and Gustave and Jacques Kenedi, of Paris, France, and his adoring dog, Suzie.
The family would like to thank Maria Martinez for her kindness, devotion, and love for the past 27 years and to Rose Wade for the skilled care and thoughtfulness provided this last year.
In lieu of customary remembrances, contributions honoring Ira's memory may be directed to the Ira and Virginia Jackson Endowment at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to benefit all those interested in art. A memorial service will be held at the Bradshaw-Carter Home at 1734 West Alabama Street in Houston, TX on February 16, 2013 at four o'clock in the afternoon. He will be buried at the Havana Cemetery, Steele County, MN with his beloved wife, Virginia.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 3, 2013