Crusader staff report
Family, friends and colleagues will remember Dr. Rosemary Robinson Jackson, a prominent and beloved figure whose funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at Christ Universal Temple, 11901 S. Ashland Avenue, on Friday, February 16.
Jackson was the wife of Television Executive Don Jackson. She died of cancer Wednesday, February 7 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She was 71.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement in response to Jackson’s death.
“Dr. Rosemary Robinson Jackson was a lifelong Chicagoan whose work and service strengthened the city she loved. Whether it was as a teacher or a businesswoman, Rosemary’s belief in education empowered generations of students and opened the doors of opportunity for countless children in our communities. Amy and my thoughts are with her husband, Don, their two children, Rhonda and Baba, and all those who are celebrating Rosemary’s life and mourning her loss.”
Born December 22, 1946 on Chicago’s West Side, Jackson attended Marshall High School. Jackson’s first love and lifelong passion was education. She received her Ph. D from Loyola University and M.A. degrees from both the National College of Education and DePaul University. She touched countless lives, beginning her career as an English teacher at her alma mater, John Marshall High School. She went on to teach at Hyde Park High School, Kennedy King College, and DePaul University.
Jackson served as vice president, Educational Media and Distance Learning at the City Colleges of Chicago, Kennedy-King from 2007 to 2010. Her dissertation, “The Social Construction of Linguistic Reality: A Case Study Exploring the Relationships among Poverty, Race, and Remediation in an Urban Community College,” was formulated from her life’s work helping young students in Chicago explore their educational possibilities.
Jackson was the vice-chairman and chief administrative officer at Chicago-based Central City Productions, the business she helped develop with her lifelong partner and husband, who’s the company founder, chairman and CEO. Central City Productions is best known for producing the Stellar Awards. She leveraged her passion for education through her involvement as Research Director and Associate Producer of Black College Quiz and Hispanic College Quiz – two nationally-syndicated television programs developed by Central City Productions.
Last December, Rosemary and her husband unveiled plans for a $32 million National Museum of Gospel Music on the site of Bronzeville’s historic Pilgrim Baptist Church, considered the national birthplace of gospel music. The church was destroyed by a fire in 2006. Since then, the walls of the limestone façade have been held up by massive braces.
Beyond her love for education, Dr. Jackson remained active in her local community and was committed to public service through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for which she chaired several committees during her 50-year tenure as an active member. This love for the sorority is shared by her daughter Rhonda, who is an active member today. In celebration of her life and in honor of her beloved Delta Sigma Theta, all are asked to wear red at her homegoing service.
Her professional memberships included the National Council of Teachers of English, National Association for Developmental Education, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (SAALH), and Phi Beta Kappa.
An avid sports fan, Dr. Jackson loved tennis, basketball, baseball, and football. She was also a devotee of the arts and all types of dancing including Bopping, Stepping and Line Dancing.
In addition to her husband of 52 years, Jackson is survived by her mother, Rosalie Gray, siblings (Carrie Murphy, Erma Gray Davis (Dan), Calvin Gray (Ruth), her daughter Rhonda Jackson Sams (Ray), her son Baba Dainja, grandchildren Donovan, Dain, and Riley Rose, nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.
Dr. Jackson’s smile will be truly missed by her family and friends who fondly remember her beautiful and loving spirit.
In lieu of flowers, the Jackson family is requesting that donations be sent to:
The Dr. Rosemary R. Jackson Scholarship Fund
c/o The Chicago Alumni Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
P.O. Box 8235
Chicago, IL 60680