Elbert Grant Jackson, age 98, passed away at his home on Wednesday July 22, 2020.
He was born in the town of Manassa, Colorado on February 15, 1922 to William and Mary Jackson. He was the 10th of 12 children born on his family’s ranch in the San Luis Valley surrounded by the majestic Colorado mountains that he loved. He was very close to his parents and siblings and dearly loved them all. They were all the best of friends throughout their lives. As life can sometimes take unexpected and sad turns his mother passed away when he was only 8 years old. He always said his father did such a wonderful job under such terrible circumstances. His father was able to finish raising his family with the help of the older siblings. His father eventually remarried Lucille Schofield in 1935 and another sister came along.
In high school Elbert enjoyed playing basketball when he wasn’t working on the family ranch. After high school graduation he helped his dad on the ranch for about a year until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. On January 1, 1942 Elbert joined the Army Airforce. He was trained as an aircraft armorer and had aspirations of flying but the war ended before he was able to finish his training. He was given an honorable discharge on November 20, 1945.
After the military he got his master’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He studied fuels technology for another year at Penn State and then took a job at Rocketdyne in September 1954 in Canoga Park, California. There he worked on developing the rocket fuel for the Atlas Intercontinental Rocket. After that he worked on the combustion devices and rocket fuels that took the first men to the moon.
In 1956 he married his sweetheart, Marilyn Anderson, in Reno Nevada. They raised three children together in the San Fernando Valley in Northridge, California. They had many wonderful memories raising their family.
In 1968 Elbert and Marilyn bought a Pioneer Chicken restaurant in Northridge and worked at running the family business together until their retirement in 1988. They taught their three children how to work and many values were learned as the family worked alongside one another. Many nieces and nephews also could say they had their first jobs working for “Uncle Bert.”
In 1990 they retired from Pioneer Chicken. They left their home in Northridge and moved to their final home in Boise, Idaho. He still had many projects to keep him busy around the house. He would often be seen in the summer time helping his family by mowing with the riding lawn mower into his mid 90’s. They enjoyed their early morning walks together and continued to travel to visit family around the country.
Elbert was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and spent many hours in service in the church. He served as a home teacher, clerk, Sunday School Superintendent, member of the Choir as well as a worker in the Boise, Idaho temple for several years.
His wife of over 60 years, Marilyn, preceded him in death by just 7 months. Elbert was the last of his siblings to pass through the veil and join a happy reunion. He is survived by his three children, Bill Kent and wife Tamara of Northridge, California, Debbie Firkins and her husband Farrell of Boise, Idaho, and Joel Jackson of North Hollywood, California. Also, he will be missed by 11 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren and numerous loved nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank First Choice Hospice in Boise, Idaho, for their tireless work that enabled Elbert to live happily in his home until the end of his life. They are truly angels on earth.
Funeral arrangements were made by Relyea Funeral Chapel in Boise, Idaho and Crawford Mortuary in Northridge, California.