Revd Michael R Jackson MA
Michael Jackson was born in London, but his parents moved to Sutton Coldfield when he was two years old. He attended King Edward VI School in Birmingham, and went on to do his national service in the army. Part of this was spent in Graz, where he had to check vehicles crossing the Austrian border, looking for Burgess and Maclean.
His arrival at Selwyn in October 1951 marked a high point in his life; always keen on rowing, he made the College eight and also did some coaching. He enjoyed his years at Selwyn, and on completion of his Theology degree moved to Westcott House to begin his ordination training. He was ordained in Newcastle Cathedral at Michaelmas 1956, and served his title at All Saints’ Gosforth, where he met Joan, who was to become his wife. This led to a second curacy at their daughter church, St Mary the Virgin, Fawdon.
Michael and Joan were married in 1962 and moved to South Yorkshire, to St Leonard’s, Dinnington. Two daughters, Rachel and Lucy, were born during the fourteen years they spent there, and in 1976 they moved to St Margaret’s Swinton, where Michael served the parish for twenty-one years. Throughout his ministry he was committed to encouraging young people, through youth groups, as servers, and in particular at summer camps in the Dales, which were a great success and still remembered with affection by the youngsters who attended. He was for many years on the children’s work committee in the diocese. For Michael, the role of a priest was not a job to be done, but a life, a vocation to be lived, part of who he was as a human being. A priest of long standing speaks of being enriched by his friendship, experience and wisdom.
A big part of Michael’s life was his love of history. Holidays were spent exploring Roman remains, abbeys, churches and museums. He had phenomenal intelligence and a wonderful memory for dates. He also enjoyed listening to music, reading, walking, especially in Northumberland, bird watching, gardening and woodwork.
After retirement to Rotherham in 1997 Michael took on the role of Tutor to those preparing to become Readers or Pastoral Workers in Sheffield Diocese, and this lasted until responsibility passed to the Church Army. He was a founder member of a Credit Union set up to serve the local community, and became a director on the board. He ministered in parishes in and around the borough during vacancies, including the Minster where he and Joan worshipped, making an invaluable contribution to its ongoing life. His quiet and reflective preaching was inspiring. When not presiding he sang with the choir, until poor health made that impossible. His earthly life and ministry having come to an end, it is clear that he kept faithfully the vows he had made at his ordination. After a long illness he died on 26 November 2019.
Obituary and photograph, S Watts