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Jackson, John B. & Ina

by Jean Jackson and Richard V. Jackson

John Bernard Jackson was born in Norway in 1889, as Jens Bastian Kurset, changing his name to a shortened version of his father’s name, Jacobsen when he came to the United States in the early 1900’s. In 1914, he married Ina Matilda Smedjabacka who had emigrated from Finland to Seattle, when she traveled to Juneau. They remained here where Mr. Jackson fished for halibut with his boat, the Ina J. This boat was the family’s only source of livelihood after his untimely death from pneumonia at age 38. They had three sons all born and raised in Juneau.

Roy I. Jackson, born November 14, 1916, became fascinated with fishing and engineering as a youth. Finishing school in Juneau, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington College of Fisheries in 1939, and a civil engineering degree from the University of British Columbia in 1948. He worked with the Int’l. Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission from 1938 to 1955, when he became executive director of the new Int’l. North Pacific Fisheries Commission and once said, “There’s a little bit of salmon in everyone’s soul.” In 1972, he became Deputy Director- General of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Returning to Seattle in 1979, he lived there until his death on May 18, 2000 at 83. He and his wife of 56 years, Pris, had four children.

John Howard Jackson was born July 13, 1918, and graduated from Juneau High School in 1937. While a student at the University of Washington, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent fourteen years at Firlands Sanatorium. During periods of remission he worked at a liquefied petroleum gas company; after his discharge, he worked in the LPG industry until about 1970. At that time, he went into real estate. He married Jean Schafer and they had three daughters. He died January 1, 1994.

Richard V. Jackson was born February 5, 1922, and growing up here remembers Juneau as a great place to live in spite of all the rain. He graduated from Juneau High School in 1940, with memories of “good teachers, lots of activities, many long-time friends and a feeling of connectedness.” Attending the University of Washington, he received a degree in Mechanical Engineering in February of 1944. During college he worked some summers at canneries in Southeast Alaska and in 1942, went to work for the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads in Whitehorse and later in the Tanana Valley doing engineering work for the construction of the Alaska Highway. In July 1943, he joined the Navy and finished his last year of college under the Navy V-12 program. Upon graduation, he transferred to Midshipman School at Columbia University and was commissioned as an ensign in June 1944. He served in Guam and the Philippines before returning to the States in command of the USS PC-1251 and mustering out in Portland. After finishing a degree in Civil Engineering in June 1947, he accepted a position as Instructor in Civil Engineering at the University of Alaska at College, Alaska. Most of his students were veterans of his own age and very sincere to continue their education and their lives. One or two had even been in his high school graduation class.

Enrolling in graduate school at Cornell University, he received a Master’s in Civil Engineering in 1951. While working on a major tunnel project with the Morrison-Knudsen Company in Venezuela, he met Norma Jean Perez and they were married in 1952. In 1953, they returned to New York, purchased a car and headed to Seattle to make their home. He continued with Morrison-Knudsen in the Northwest and Alaska and then moved to Texas still working in heavy construction. Their four sons were all born in Seattle. In 1987, they moved to Whidbey Island where they now enjoy retirement.

When two of her sons were at the University of Washington, Mrs. Jackson bought a house within walking distance of the University where she lived until her death in 1952.

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