John Jay Jackson was laid to rest on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at 10 a.m., at the East Lawn Memorial Park in Elk Grove. More than 100 residents attended the service, including Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli and dozens of active and former firefighters from the Wilton Fire Protection District.
An American flag draped coffin adorned the front of the chapel at East Lawn flanked by two beautiful red, white and blue flower arrangements. Befitting a proud member of the U.S. Navy during World War II, naval personnel removed the flag, folded it in the familiar ceremonial fashion and presented it to Jackson’s twin sister Jeannie Jones.
Wilton Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Cookson gave the eulogy. Jackson served as a Wilton firefighter, fire chief and elected Board member from 1966-2004.
“John Jackson demonstrated the unique character of someone that our community could be proud of. He was always there to offer his guidance, experience and professionalism,” Cookson said. “As a young energetic volunteer 25 years ago, I would race up to the station when there was a call. I was so new to the force that I wasn’t able to drive the engine yet. So, I’d put my gear on, roll up the door and wait to see who was coming to drive the truck to the call. Well, nine times out of 10, that old green Chevy truck would fly into the driveway and would land sideways in front of the station. There he was, larger than life. He’d grab his coat and off we went. On the way back from the calls, he told stories about fighting fires back in the day, or of his many camping trips. It was always entertaining. I’m not sure that the stories were all exactly true, but they were fun to listen to all the same.”
On April 17, Wilton Fire Protection District’s Station 81 was dedicated to Jackson.
“We wanted the dedication to be a surprise so we had his family bring him to our regular monthly board meeting,” Cookson said.
When Jackson arrived, he asked Cookson what was going on.
“He knew something out of the ordinary was going to happen as he noted that there were more than three people in the audience,” Cookson said. “I’ll never forget the smile on his face when the big banner with his name on it was revealed. I am grateful we were able to do the dedication and have him there to enjoy the occasion.”