Dr. James E. Jackson An accomplished physician, public health care administrator, and visionary who served as the Chairman of the Maternal and Child Health Department for the Alameda County Medical Center for over 20 years, passed away the evening of December 31, 2012 at his home in Emeryville.
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He was born in Bainbridge, Georgia, the only child of Jennie Smith Bigelow, and was lovingly raised by his aunt and uncle, Winder and Eddie Dean Jackson.
Graduating as valedictorian of his high school class at 16, he entered Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He met and married Charlotte Thomas and had four children-Gloria, Suzan, Stephanie, and James. Although the marriage ended, they remained friends and joined with their children often to celebrate family milestones and holidays throughout the years.
After graduating from Morehouse in 1950, he enlisted in the United States Navy. He became the first African American student to be admitted to George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, graduated in 1959, completed his internship in Boston, and was then accepted into the Obstetrical and Gynecological Residency Program at George Washington.
After completing his residency, James moved to California and joined the partners at the Arlington Medical Group.
After receiving a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980, he was asked to teach a class in maternal and child health at Berkeley's School of Public Health, where he served as an adjunct professor for many years.
Concerned about the dramatic disparity in infant and maternal mortality rates in Oakland in contrast to that of more affluent communities nearby, Dr. Jackson applied for and was appointed Interim Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Highland Hospital and he left private practice to serve the public.
In 1986, James married Fern Levy Scott, and, together with her children Adam and Alison, they created a blended family that brought enjoyment into his life.
He is survived by Fern and their children, Gloria Jackson Yamato, Suzan Jackson, Stephanie Jackson Christmas (Robert), James E. T. Jackson (Meryl), Adam Scott, and Alison Scott Maulana; their grandchildren, Tatsu Yamato (Nikki), Ahmad Yamato, Charlotte Jones, Christian Valteau, Rashaan Maulana, James A. Jackson and Claire Jackson. Great-granddaughter Maia was a delight to him.
A host of devoted cousins, extended family, and friends will also remember James's love and legacy.
A memorial service will be held at the Alameda County Medical Center's Highland Campus, on Saturday, February 2, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. in the Atrium.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Women's Urgent Care Center at Alameda County Medical Center or to the Morehouse College General Scholarship Fund.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 13, 2013