By the Grace of God, Lowell Eugene “Gene” Jackson of Bloomington is resting in the arms of his Savior. He went to be with the Lord on Saturday evening (Feb. 3, 2018) at OSF HealthCare Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, Peoria.
Gene’s service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church, Bloomington, with Pastor Leonard Astrowski and Pastor Charles Bahn officiating. Burial will be at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Kenney. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Beck Memorial Home, Bloomington.
Gene was the oldest son of Merrill and Ruth Jackson. He was born Aug. 16, 1939, in Mattoon.
He married Bertha Willner and had four children, Janet (Ron) Mau, Davenport, Iowa; Gene (Barbara) Jackson, Cincinnati, Ohio; Jerry (Candy) Jackson, San Diego, Calif.; and Rusty Jackson, Bloomington. He later married Betty Hankins and cared for her children, David (Kathy) Hankins, Edwardsville, and Mike (Michelle) Hankins, Stanford. Lastly, he married Barbara Johnson who had one child, Eric (Heather) Bea, El Paso. Ron Mau started working for Gene when he was in eighth grade and married the boss’s daughter. Gene was a mentor and second father to Ron, who has been a produce manager for HyVee for over 30 years.
Gene was the founder of Produce-A-Plenty in 1968. After a fire destroyed that business, he opened Jackson’s Farm Fresh Produce and later Jackson’s Car Barn. He operated the produce business for 38 years. Many family memories were created and life lessons learned as we worked together flocking Christmas trees, making fruit baskets, designing planters and selling bushels of peaches, apples, watermelon and strawberries. His positive attitude, love for the people and his willingness to work long hours made these businesses a success. Jackson’s Farm Fresh Produce was a Midwest destination for beautiful and unique plants and great fresh produce when local grocery stores did not carry the variety that they do now.
Prior to going into business for himself, he worked for JM Jones as a produce supervisor. He competed in many drag races when he was first married and later raced stock cars. He enjoyed testing his limits whether water skiing or jumping out of a plane. He had a passion for Corvettes, motorcycles and was always willing to race anything or anyone.
He is survived by his brothers, the Rev. Lee (Georgia) Jackson and Wayne (Theresa) Jackson; four children; three stepchildren; and three former wives. He also is survived by 18 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, OSF Hospice House or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Condolences may be made to www.calvertmemorial.com.