Galesburg man’s legacy music, involvement: Rotary, Stearman Fly-In

GALESBURG — From his jobs at local financial institutions to his participation in numerous civic organizations, Jim Jackson was well-known in Galesburg.

But music was his passion.

“It was the core of his being,” said his son Tom Jackson.

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Jim Jackson died Jan. 24 at the age of 83, leaving a legacy of music and involvement to his family and community.

“He was very committed to Galesburg,” said Jackson’s grandson Jackson White.

“The family he married into was from Galesburg and that’s why he moved here. It was his adopted city and he loved it.”

Born in Ontario, Canada, Jackson developed his love of music at a young age and took it with him when he moved to Chicago to finish his education and met his wife, Terry, also a musician. He played trumpet in several Chicago-area bands.

Married in 1961, Jim and Terry settled in Galesburg where he worked at United Federal Bank, First of America Bank and Miller, Dredge Mortgage Services and Insurance. He also taught as a part-time adjunct instructor for business, marketing, Human Resources and labor management at Carl Sandburg College.

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But Jackson also found time to play with the Starlighters Jazz Band, the Rootabaga Jammers, his own Jazz Swingtet, the Knox-Sandburg Community Concert Band he co-founded with Terry, in pit bands for area musical productions and played a euphonium for Tuba Christmas each year.

Jim Jackson, center with the red Santa cap, plays euphonium for Tuba Christmas.

“I would say I was most proud of the civil war (re-enactment) bands he was in,” said Tom.

“He always loved marching bands and anything that had a lot of brass.

“The big challenge was they had instruments from that period. Basically you were dealing with a 150-year old instrument. They were very difficult. They weren’t tuned to the modern standard.”

Jim Jackson shares a musical moment with his daughter Jenny and son Tom in Detroit, 1966.

Jackson was a member or held office in numerous local organizations to include the Rotary Club and the Stearman Fly-In, where he served as treasurer.

“He was accurate and always on point,” said Bob Harrison, a Stearman board member for 49 years and the retired editor of The Register-Mail.

“He was a talented musician and he helped acquire the first big bands we had when we started a series of Friday night dances at the airport during the Fly-In. One of the most popular was a band called ‘Sentimental Journey.’”

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