Gary Foster Jackson

Gary Foster Jackson


Our beloved hero, father, and Papa Gary F. Jackson passed away at home peacefully on his farm in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 29, 2023, at the age of 73. He was born in Bakersfield, California, on March 5, 1950, to Ima Dee and James Foster Jackson. He had four siblings: Berna Dee Burt of Sallisaw, Randall James Jackson of Tulsa, Gloria Jane Jackson (deceased), and Jackie Jackson of Oil Dale, CA. He attended High School in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, where his love of sports was played out on the football and basketball fields.  He was known as “Golden Toe” for his ability to kick amazing field goals. He joined the United States Air Force in 1968 and did two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. During his time in Vietnam, he carried a Bible in his pocket along with a small Snoopy character, which he continued to carry throughout his life. He said that Snoopy helped to keep him “connected to the world.” Like many Vietnam Veterans, Gary passed away from cancer due to Agent Orange exposure while fighting for our country in Vietnam.

He began working in construction at the age of 18 with his father and then became a Construction Manager and owned his own construction company for a time.  Then in 1983, he went back to school to achieve his dream of being a teacher and received his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Teaching Credential in Industrial Arts.  He became a teacher for Fresno Unified School District in 1987, where he taught woodworking, automotive, and CAD computer design at Fresno High School.  He also spent countless hours coaching soccer and football and instilling what it meant to have good sportsmanship to many students. He then received his Administrative Service credential and finished out his 25-year career as a High School Vice-Principal and Career Technical Education Manager.  

He married his wife, Linda Jackson, on July 21, 2020, in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. They reconnected after knowing each other in high school.  They have shared the last three years together, attending church at New Hope Church in Akins, traveling, and creating a beautiful home and farm together. Prior to marrying Linda, he was married to Christina Louise Coffman Jackson for 49 years. Gary and Christina couldn’t wait to start a family of their own, and their children meant the world to them.  Their children are Cari Lopez and her spouse, Stephen of Fresno, CA; William (Billy) Jackson and his spouse, Hattie of Arkansas; and Jeremy Jackson and his spouse, Katie of Fresno, CA. 

Though he loved teaching and helping others, Gary’s favorite role was that of Papa. He treasured his time with his grandkids and loved being their Papa, never failing to hug, cuddle, and play with them.  He loved to tell stories to them and make them laugh. 

Everyone who knew Gary knew how proud he was of being a Veteran, how much he loved his family, his dog Peaches and his goats Andy and Frankie, and creating wood and leather creations. He created beautiful pieces of furniture and taught students how to make things such as rocking horses, chess boards and even how to build dog houses. He loved creating leather creations such as purses, wallets, gun holsters, and belts.  

Gary and his friends were practically inseparable throughout their lives, especially him and Tommy Petree, from pouring concrete together to hunting and fishing and raising roosters.  They enjoyed frying the catfish they caught and barbecuing the deer they killed. 

Gary was preceded in death by his former wife, Christina Louise Jackson; his son, Gary Andrew Jackson; his parents, Ima Dee and James Foster Jackson; and his sister, Gloria Jane Jackson. 

He is survived by his wife, Linda Jackson, and his children Cari, William, and Jeremy and their loving spouses; his grandchildren: Felicia and husband Eric, Stevie and wife Jennifer, Nathan, Cody, Kaleb and wife Brooke Anne, Gavin, Hunter, Alexander, and Ty, his great-grandchildren: Aurora Rose, Anderson Russell, Paisley Ray, and Stetson Foster. Linda’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: Derek and Tara, Drayden and Madison Brown, Drextyn and Brittany Brown, along with their daughter Sagelynn. Dauslyn and Drantly Brown, and bonus grandchildren Hadley and Gavyn. His lifelong friends are Tommy Petree and his wife Dee.

Visitation will be held 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM on Friday, November 3, 2023, at Forever Memories Funeral Services. The family will meet guests from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at Forever Memories Funeral Services, with Curtis Mitchell officiating. Final resting place will be Brent Cemetery in Brent, Oklahoma.

Pallbearers are his grandsons. Honorary pallbearer is Tommy Petree.

The family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Forever Memories Funeral Services, INC of Sallisaw, Oklahoma.


6 Responses

  1. Gary Jackson was a a good friend and a good cousin to me and my family. I miss Gary already a lot me and him were very close and kept in touch. I hate it that he got sick and had all the trouble that he had rest in peace.

  2. One of the greatest men I had the pleasure of knowing. Loved when I would see him, and his wife arrive to Brushy Lake for a camping trip. Gary you are going to miss you so much.

  3. Gary, was one of my first cousins,loved him very much. He was such a great person, always there to help when needed. Me and my family will miss him very much. He is now walking with our Lord, and happy!

  4. Gary was such a sweet man. I got to know him through my father-in-law, Ronnie Long. Gary and I hit it off from the start. Both of us being in Education, and I have a huge soft spot for our Veterans and military.
    Gary was so talented. He made the most beautiful belt and wallet for me so I could surprise my husband. They were perfect. I will never forget him and the kindness he shown whenever I saw him out…. He will be missed!
    Prayers for the family 🙏🏼

  5. Coach Jackson gave me my first coaching job, coaching JV football at Fresno High school in 1995. I’m still coaching football at Fresno High and considered him a great mentor. He was an excellent teacher, coach and man. He will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to his family.

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