James William “Bill” Jackson

Published 1:04 pm Monday, September 21, 2020

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James William “Bill” Jackson, 81, died peacefully at his home in Troy, Alabama on September 20, 2020 following an extended illness.

Born on January 18, 1939, Mr. Jackson was raised in Becker, Mississippi until the age of 13, when he moved to Birmingham with his family.  He graduated from West End High School in 1957 and enlisted with the United States Navy.  Mr. Jackson served with the Naval Construction Batallions, better known as the Seabees, where he worked as an electrician. Mr. Jackson was honorably discharged in 1959 and entered the civilian workforce prepared for a long career as an electrician, which turned out to be a career of a few hours. His first job as an electrician was at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where Mr. Jackson learned that advances in technology had led to red, yellow, and green wiring replacing the neutral colored wiring used in the military during the 1950s. As Mr. Jackson was red/green color blind, he decided during the first morning of his job that a new career path was in order.

Mr. Jackson returned to the Birmingham area, where he met the former Jean Echols. The two were married in 1960. The couple briefly lived in Savannah and then returned to Birmingham, where both of their children would be born. After working in various fields, Mr. Jackson found his calling in the automotive industry in 1969 when he began working as a salesman for Roy Buckner Chevrolet. In 1975, Mr. Jackson and family relocated to Ashland, Alabama to begin what would become Mr. Jackson’s 45-year career as a General Motors dealer. In 1989, Mr. Jackson purchased a General Motors franchise in Troy, Alabama, where he would live with his wife until his death.
Although Mr. Jackson was an accomplished businessman, operating General Motors franchises through five recessions and receiving industry awards too numerous to mention, he will best be remembered as a faithful husband of 60 years, a loving father of two and grandfather of four, and an active member of the communities where he lived. He donated his time to organizations such as the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Quarterback Club, and Board of Education.

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Mr. Jackson is survived by his wife, Jean Echols Jackson of Troy, AL, two sons, James William Jackson, Jr. (Jana) of Troy and Keith Jackson (Tricia) of Homewood, four grandchildren, Trace, Alex, William, and Evan, and three siblings, Brenda Harris (George) of Birmingham, AL, Ron Jackson (Wanda) of LaGrange, GA, and Jeff Jackson of Ozark, AL.  He was preceded in death by a brother, Tom Jackson, and his parents, Clarence and Louise Jackson.

The family will greet friends at Dillard Funeral Home’s chapel in Troy, AL from 1:00 pm until 3:00 p.m on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.  A funeral honoring Mr. Jackson’s life will follow immediately thereafter, with the Reverend Dusty Taylor presiding. Honorary pallbearers are all current and past employees of Bill Jackson Chevrolet. A graveside service will be held at 1 pm on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham with the Reverend Todd Harrington officiating and Dillard Funeral Home of Troy directing. Pallbearers for the graveside service will be Phillip Gay, Bill Heaton, Steve Fowlkes, Doug Fowlkes, Steve Hasting, and Eddie Hastings.

The Jackson family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff of Hospice Compassus. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mr. Jackson’s name to the Alabama chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

To sign the online guest register please visit us online at dillardfh.com.