Nelson Jackson age 89, died Monday, February 1, 2010 at Waccamaw Community Hospital.
Jackson was born and raised in Tryon, a son of the late Laura Chapman and Nelson Jackson, Sr. He graduated from The Darlington School before attending Clemson College. He graduated from Clemson in 1942 with a degree in Textile Engineering, Weaving and Design, and also OTS (Officer Training School).
He married the love of his life, Mary Emily Platt, on June 2, 1942, just days before joining the United States Army. Their devotions to one another has been the foundation to nearly 68 years of marriage. Jackson served his country during World War II and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant.
After military service, he returned to Tryon to work for the family business, Jackson & Jackson, Inc. He began his career as a salesman, traveling across the country selling Cloth of Gold Fabrics. He engineered one of the first fifty motor homes in America out of an old Trailway bus so that Mrs. Jackson and their five daughters could accompany him more comfortably on the road.
Jackson eventually became President of Jackson & Jackson, Inc. In 1970 Mr. and Mrs. Jackson moved to Myrtle Beach to develop the world-renowned Ocean Lakes Family Campground, which opened on July 2, 1971, with 30 campsites and one bathhouse. Since that time, he and his family have built The Jackson Companies into a diversified business enterprise comprised of Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Properties, Sunway Charters and Tours, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center, and the master-planned development SayeBrook.
Jackson was a founder and volunteer for many years on the Polk County Rescue Squad. He was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts, receiving his Eagle Scout in 1934 and Silver Beaver award in the 1960s. He served on numerous industry, community and civic boards throughout his career. He was a tireless promoter of Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand.
Jackson received numerous honors for his service to the community and the state of South Carolina. He and Mrs. Jackson shared many accolades together as their partnership has impacted the lives of thousands. They were named the 2001 Citizen(s) of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; they each received the Order of the Palmetto from Governor Sanford in 2004; the South Carolina House of Representatives named them the District 107 Distinguished Citizens of the Year and designated June 2, 2006 as “Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson Day” in South Carolina; and were both awarded the 2007 Ashby Ward Pioneer(s) of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. While Jacksons love for God and family were first and foremost, his love for his community, country and fellow man touched all who knew him. He will be missed.
Survivors include his wife Mary Emily Platt Jackson of Myrtle Beach; five daughters, Mary Emily Jackson Vallarino and husband Manuel of Conway, Laura Jackson Hoy and husband Winston of Myrtle Beach, Kathryn “Kaki” Jackson Williamson and husband Johnny of Denmark, S.C., Rachel Jackson Gandy and husband John of Murrells Inlet and Jeanne Jackson Mize and husband Joe of Columbus; 14 grandchildren, Kathryn Hoy Kauffman, Will Hoy, Thomas Hoy, Salley Williamson, John Williamson, Elizabeth Gandy Hall and husband Jonathan, Wilson Gandy, Joseph Mize and wife Lindsay, Charlie Mize and Wes Mize, Manuel Ricardo Vallarino, Jr, Lilia Elisia V. Navarro, Roberto Enrique Vallarino and Juan Carlos Vallarino; five great-grandchildren, Allison Hoy, Peyton Kauffman, Abigail Kauffman, Campbell Hall and James Hall; a sister, Rachel Bunte of Atlanta, Ga. and a brother, Jim Jackson and wife Sheila of Tryon.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 4, 2010 at Ocean Lakes Recreational Building with Dr. Kirk Lawton and Dr. Robert C. Wilkes, Jr. officiating.
Family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at the Ocean Lakes Recreational Building.
An online guestbook is available at www.goldfinchfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to, The Jackson Center for Ethics and Values, Coastal Educational Foundation c/o Coastal Carolina University, PO Box 261954 Conway, SC 29528.
Goldfinch Funeral Home, Beach Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.