Richard (Dick) E. Jackson, 78, passed away on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Dick was born on January 15, 1943 in Springfield, Massachusetts to the late Willard D. Jackson and Laura F. (McCarthy) Jackson. He was also pre-deceased by his beloved stepmother Catherine Grace Coughter Jackson.
Dick and Judy Sanstrom Jackson married on the same date as his passing, in 1979. They were soulmates and best friends for the 48 years they were together. In addition to Judy, he is survived by their two children: Christine von Nickel and her husband Kurt of New York City, and Stephen R. Jackson and his fiancé, Laura MacFee of Massachusetts; a brother, Stephen J. Jackson of Los Angeles, California; and two grandchildren, Alexandra and Kurt (Jack) von Nickel. Dick and Judy also counted as their “children” Mariana Panico and Plinio T. Junqueira, both family friends from Brazil who lived with the Jackson’s and completed their high school years in East Haddam.
After graduating from the High School of Commerce (1961) in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dick enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He ultimately went on to study at Western New England College. Dick met Judy, the love of his life, while they worked at Covenant Mutual Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1983, with two very young children and a tenuous plan, he daringly took on the risk of starting his own business and founded Fire-tech, Inc., a construction company specializing in fire and water damage. Against all odds, and Judy’s terror, the business thrived. Later, his friend, Harold (Bud) Groth, joined as a partner and they successfully grew and ran Fire-tech for more than 20 years before selling the business and retiring. Considered even more successful than the business was Bud meeting his future wife Joanne through Dick and Judy.
Dick and Judy started their family in East Hartland, Connecticut and soon after settled in East Haddam, Connecticut. Their long, nightly dinners together and with various friends, were a beloved and regular occurrence. They often spent long weekends skiing in Vermont, summers sailing and boating in and around New England, and they travelled frequently with the entire family both domestically and internationally.
In retirement, Dick and Judy split their time between Charlestown, Rhode Island and Naples, Florida and continued travelling the world extensively with friends and family. Dick had a love for fast cars, music, playing tennis and sports, especially UCONN where he was a season ticket holder for almost every sport: both men’s and women’s. He was humble and generous and a great conversationalist who had an intellectual curiosity about a wide range of topics, including history and genealogy. He was fun-loving and had a contagious zest for life. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He will always be remembered for his witty and distinctive sense of humor, the joy he took in spending time and laughing with loved ones, and of course his nightly manhattan. Along with the success of both his business and life, his greatest achievement will be the eternal dedication and love he shared with his family and friends. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
The family will not be holding services at this time, however, plans for a celebration of his life will be shared in time. If inclined, donations to Lewy Body, Alzheimer’s or dementia organizations are welcome.
The specialists at Mass General Department of Neurology and the facilities that supported us all in his final months, The Elms of Westerly, Rhode Island, and Beacon Hospice of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, were instrumental in providing loving help and unending solace.
Rest in peace my love…I will love you and miss you forever
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