Joseph Douglas

1914 – 2009

Joseph Douglas Jackson, father, brother, grandfather, friends, and luthier, left us on July 8, 2009. Jose was the seventh of nine children of Sidney and Ceta Jackson of Benson, Saskatchewan. He was predeceased by his son, Doug, his wife, Isabelle, and seven of his siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Barbara McCowan Jackson (Daryl Carson) of Gold River, B.C., his older sister, Ceta Irvine of Oak Bay, B.C., his much loved grandchildren, Sandra Kewley of Vancouver, B.C., Robert Kewley, Robson, B.C., Tanis Jackson (Chauncey), Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Andria Preiss, Vancouver, B.C., his nieces and nephews, his “second daughter”, Corinne Innes, as well as his large extended family of musical friends.

Joe’s life was typical of that of many Canadians of the twentieth century. He received his grade eleven at school, even though he had to take time off to work on farms during planting and harvesting. During the Great Depression, he lived in the dust bowl of the prairies, rode the rails, worked on road gangs, down in mines and on farms. He met Isabelle in Vancouver in 1941, and married her later that year. They thought they were moving to the Yukon for six months, but because of Joe’s mechanical skills, his job was “frozen” throughout World War Two, and so they stayed until 1947. To their great joy, Douglas was born in 1943, and Barbara was born in 1945. In 1947, Joe equipped a U.S. army truck and drove his family over the Al-Can Highway (now the Alaska Highway) to the coast. They settled in a little post-war built house in the Comox Valley. Joe lived there for sixty years. Joe and Isabelle grew a beautiful garden of vegetables and flowers. After the mandatory piano lessons, Joe and Isabelle took their kids skiing at Forbidden Plateau, swimming at Kye Bay and Brown’s River, skating on ponds, fishing in a small boat, and square dancing. Joe played saxophone and clarinet in a little dance band on weekends to pay for the music lessons. When he retired from his work as a mechanic, he focused on his “magnificent obsession”. building and repairing violins. Through this work, he met many people who brought their music and their friendship to the little house. When his son, Doug, disappeared at sea in 1982, and Isabelle died in 1997, Joe’s work and his friendships helped him to bear the sorrow.

Joe’s goals were admirable. He wanted to be a teacher, to learn something new each day, and to live to be ninety-six because Stradivarius did. He became a teacher who taught students about air brakes and violins and his unusual world view, and he lived to be ninety-four. Well done, Joe.

We offer grateful thanks to the dedicated staff of Glacier View Lodge. You gave quality care and music to Dad during the last two years, and much comfort to his family. Thank you to Dad’s caring neighbours on Urquhart Ave., who made it possible for him to live in his little house into his old age, and to his friends who visited Joe through his illness.

A musical memorial will be held at a date to be announced. We will arrange a time when his grandchildren are able to travel to the Comox Valley. Donations to B.C. Alzheimer’s Society for research on Vascular Dementia would be much appreciated.

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