Edith Ann Jackson

Ann Jackson

Edith Ann Jackson died at her home in East Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday,  May 21, 2019. She was 79.

Edith Ann Pearson was born on May 9, 1940, in Arcadia, the daughter of Jesse Pearson and Flora Lashley.

In 1957 she graduated as salutatorian of her class from Ironton High School. She married Belford Darrell Jackson at Columbia, MO, on Dec. 19, 1959. The couple are parents of Dr. Elizabeth Jackson Luce (Paul), Susan Lashley Jackson, and Jeremy Stiles Jackson (Kelly Smith), and grandparents of Jackson and Clara Luce and of Willa and Iris Jackson.

A 1961 graduate of the University of Missouri, with a bachelors degree in Social Work, Ann was a licensed clinical social worker. Over the years she worked for the University of Missouri Hospital, the Connecticut Department of Child Welfare, the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline, the AIDS Prevention Program of the Missouri Department of Health, and the social services departments of Memorial Community Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City, Missouri.

During their marriage of 59 years, Ann and Darrell lived in Connecticut, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, and for 39 years on a small farm near Russellville in Cole County, Missouri. They have lived in East Grand Rapids since 2013.

Ann was an enthusiastic mother and wife, and she raised her children with an attentive and creative energy. In the warm months, she enjoyed growing a variety of flowers, and a large vegetable garden flourished in her care. No one picked fruits or vegetables better than Ann. There was no point in following her down the bean row, and her bucket of berries was always fuller than anyone else’s. With her garden ingredients, Ann prepared homespun family meals and also canned and frozen green beans, corn, and other produce. In the winter, her from-scratch baking often filled the house with delightful scents. She also enjoyed playing piano and singing with family.

Ann had a great interest in family history. For years she collected stories that gave a rich texture to books she wrote about her family, including a memoir of her early years titled “Memories of a Southeast Missouri Girl” and, with her son, “The House on Little Rock Creek.”

When her grandchildren came along, Ann spent much time with them. She could always find activities that engaged young children. Her favorite books were classic children’s books, which she read to her children and grandchildren. In a bookstore, she always headed to the children’s section. Ann also loved doing jigsaw puzzles, which she excelled at. During the final months of her life she spent many hours putting puzzles together.

Ann was an outgoing person who loved being around people. In the family she was the planner of activities. Family gatherings organized by her often departed from the conventional. She was straightforward and generous, glad to laugh at herself and with others, and had strong opinions freely expressed. She was liberal in politics, undogmatic in religion, and pragmatic in everything else. Ann was the heart and soul of her family, who will miss her deeply.

She is survived by her husband of the home, her children and grandchildren, and by two brothers, James Pearson of Cabool, MO, and Robert Pearson of Jamul, California. Her sister, Jean (Pearson) Newman, preceded her in death.

Ann’s remains were cremated. As she wished, some of her ashes will be spread in Iron County where she was born. The rest will be interred in the Jackson family plot in Laurel Oak Cemetery, Windsor.

A memorial celebration will be held at 11 a.m., June 7, at Ofield Funeral Home, 4500 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Kentwood, MI, with family visitation at 10 a.m. No flowers please. Donations may be made to Planned Parenthood or to Hospice of Michigan in Ann’s memory.