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Brother Gerald Jackson

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Franciscan Brother Gerald (Jerry) Jackson, a native of Detroit whose expertise with cars served him well in his life as a Franciscan friar, died March 25 in Cincinnati. He was 75 and had battled multiple health issues.

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Brother Gerald Jackson (Courtesy photo)

Quiet and soft-spoken, Brother Jerry loved a good meal and a good joke.

He left Northwestern High School in Detroit after one year to attend Southfield (Michigan) Trade School and train in auto mechanics. His mother introduced him to Capuchin friar Solanus Casey (now a candidate for sainthood), sparking his interest the Franciscans.

In 1952, discharged with poor eyesight six weeks after being drafted into the Navy, Brother Jerry went to work for a Chevrolet dealer. After graduating to manager, he moved to a plant as a product engineer.

A book about St. Francis rekindled his interest in the friars. In 1958 he entered the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, headquartered in Cincinnati, and made final vows in 1965.

For most of his life in friar communities, Brother Jerry was the resident auto mechanic, first at St. Leonard College in Centerville for 21 years, then at Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Mich., for 14 years.

In 1992 he was assigned to St. Clement Friary in Cincinnati to help care for senior friars and had recently moved to the retirement community at St. Margaret Hall.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 31 at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. Interment followed on April 2, at St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard.

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