James Edward JACKSON Sr.

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JACKSON, James Edward Sr. was born Feb. 25, 1931 in Tampa, to the late Dallie and Beatrice Jackson. During his youth in Tampa, he was active with church, played in band during junior and high school years and was an all around solid academic student. James grew up in west Tampa where his parents owned 4 houses. He along with his siblings helped with running the rental property and especially helping their father manage the auto detailing business in downtown Tampa. In the early 1940's, James' first job was as a paperboy for the Florida Sentinel. James graduated from Middleton High School in 1950 successfully completing the college preparatory curriculum and entered South Carolina State College. James' joined the ROTC upon entering college and in 1952, he became a member of the Xi Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi. James graduated from South Carolina State in 1954, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. James was also commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served for two years during the Korean conflict from 1954 to 1956. Upon his return to S.C. State in 1956, he resumed his studies obtaining a Juris Doctor, ranking 7th in the graduating class of 1958. During this time in history, all black colleges that offered law degrees were known as institutions that produced social engineers for change. In 1954, James met the love of his life, Willie Altonette Cooper of St. Stephens, SC. They were married Aug. 7, 1957. James and his family returned to Florida in 1958 and began working for the State of Florida as the 2nd probation officer for the Black communities of Pinellas County. During his tenure as a probation officer, James was appointed, during the desegregation days of the early 1970's, as a Judge over the cases related to Black citizens involved in segregating Pinellas County Schools. The vast majority of students and parents arrested from a result of defending themselves were released from the judicial system without cause. Many of whom are still living in St. Petersburg and would recall the days of turmoil. In 1962, James was one of seven influential men that chartered the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. This chapter was the second chapter established in the Tampa Bay area specifically for the members to fraternize in St. Petersburg and provide the mandated programs of the Fraternity to the community. In the 1970's, James entrepreneurial skills expanded with the opening of Jack's Bar-B-Que (where Connie's exists today). His bar-B-Que was regarded as one of the 'best in St. Pete.' In the late 1970's, James was part of the community team, known as Module 16, that lead the vision, planning and ultimate development of the Enoch Davis Center, a hallmark neighborhood community center specifically developed for the Black community. During his 36 year professional career, James was instrumental in the developing, leading and directing of several agencies such as Pinellas Opportunity council, The Health and Rehabilitation Service and Juvenile Corrections. His career ultimately culminated in an appointment in 1984 as Chief of the minimal Correctional Facility that was located in St. Petersburg. James was married to his wife Willie for 56 years celebrating their last anniversary on Aug. 5, 2013. James passed away Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at home with his family by his side. James was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Dallas and Harold; and sister, Francis. James leaves to cherish in his memory: his wife, Willie; five children, Debra, Janese, Beatrice, James Jr. (Phyllis) and Dallas (Kaydianne); eight grandchildren, James III, Joshua, Natara, Jada, Julian,Dalia, Dacia and Dallas; two sisters, Barbara (Leon) Jackson Chavous, Betty Jackson Dendy; nephews, Wilson Lester Jr., Harold Jr. and Myron Jackson, Edwin and Brent Chavous; nieces, Kimberly Williams (Alex), Lillian Callihan (Roy), Shawn Dendy, and Robin Boderick; and a host of extended family members, community friends, associates and the men of Omega Psi Phi. Visitation for Mr. James Jackson Sr. will be held Friday, 6-7 pm, at the church. Funeral services Saturday, Sept. 28th, 11 am, at Greater Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, 1045 16th Street South. Lawson Funeral Home (727)623-9025

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Lawson Funeral Home and Cremation Services
4535 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 623-9025
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Sept. 26, 2013