Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pearl Jackson


 Emma Pearl Norton Jackson, age 96, died Saturday, December 7, 2013.

 Her Norton family traced its roots to colonial Jamestown, Virginia. Almost 200 years later, her ancestors settled in Barbour County, north of Louisville.

 The first child of Dr. Robert Olon Norton, Sr. and Caroline Vinson Little Norton, she was born at the Norton home on Main Street, Louisville, Alabama on November 4, 1917, where she was delivered by her own father.

 After graduating as valedictorian from Louisville High School in 1935, she attended Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Alabama, majoring in mathematics. At her 1939 Huntingdon graduation when she received her Bachelor of Science degree, she was awarded the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal for the highest four-year academic average of anyone in her class.

 For two years she taught mathematics, science, and English at Capitol Heights Junior High School in Montgomery. On March 28, 1941, she married Alto Loftin Jackson, Clio, Alabama, son of William Alto Jackson and Lula Jane Loftin Jackson. Back home in Clio, she taught physics, mathematics, and English at the local Barbour County High School for one and one-half years before starting her family. Over the next two decades, she enabled her four children to attain academic excellence.

 In 1966 she accepted the newly-created position of Title 1 - Federal Programs Supervisor for the Barbour County School System, Clayton, Alabama, assisting teachers at each grade level in 24 schools as they taught “new math” to students. At age 57, she earned her Master of Science degree in Education Administration at night from Troy State University, Troy, Alabama. Meanwhile her supervisory responsibilities grew to include testing in Barbour County schools, book purchasing and the Federal program of reading. She continued in her Barbour County School System position until retirement in 1991 at age 74.

 Outside-the-classroom she tutored friends and relatives with algebra and trigonometry, helped grandchildren with science projects, and taught friends how to crochet. She shared her standards of excellence with others, boosting them to achieve education goals: to complete college, to write a masterʼs thesis, to earn a higher degree.

 Her teaching skills extended to her Clio United Methodist Church where she taught youth Sunday School, served as steward, and until age 90, as church treasurer.

 With her grammar knowledge, she proofread and edited all her husbandʼs historical and family books, ranging from So Mourns the Dove in 1965 to 2009, including Clio, Alabama: A History; books for great-grandsons Langston and Hollis; and a book honoring her father, Dr. R. O. Norton, A Good Man.

 A lifelong resident of Barbour County, she was recognized in 2011 by Louisville High School for her loyalty and dedication and her commitment to education in Barbour County. In 2012, Barbour County Commissioners honored her with a Resolution on the occasion of her 95th birthday.

 The Pearl Norton Jackson Endowed Scholarship was established at her Huntingdon College alma mater in 2012, giving preference to applicants who are honor students, Barbour County residents, math majors, and active members of the United Methodist Churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference.

 Mrs. Jackson was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Alto Loftin Jackson, Sr. who died in 2011 after 70 years of marriage, and her three brothers, Rufus W. Little, Jr., Judge George E. Little, Sr., and Dr. Robert Olon Norton, Jr.

 The family is grateful for the health care of Dr. Malcolm Roebuck, Jr., Montgomery, and ALA Care, Troy; for the loving care of caregivers Patricia Sapp, Patricia McLeod, Otha White, and Tina Clark, and neighbor Patsy Pouncey, all of Clio.

 She is survived by two daughters, Caroline Jane Jackson, Arlington, Virginia; Pearl Norton Jackson Strawbridge and her husband, Ronald H. Strawbridge, Sr., Vernon, Alabama; two sons, Dr. Alto Loftin Jackson, Jr. and his wife, Tricia A. Jackson, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; Robert Olon Jackson and his wife, Brittany H. Jackson, Birmingham, Alabama; seven grandchildren, Caroline Jackson
Strawbridge Culp and her husband Charles Culp, Jr., Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Ronald H. Strawbridge, Jr. and his wife, Audrey Oswalt Strawbridge, Fayette, Alabama; Julia Elizabeth Jackson and Thomas Christopher Jackson of Houston and Dallas, Texas; Barrett Beatrice Jackson, Durham, North Carolina, Jillian Loftin Jackson, Washington, D. C. and Emma Garner Jackson, Birmingham, Alabama; two great-grandsons, Langston Howard Strawbridge and Hollis Loftin Strawbridge, Fayette, Alabama; cousins, nieces, and nephews.

 Visitation will be Sunday, December 15 at Keahey Funeral Home, Highway 10 South, Clio, Alabama, between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. The funeral service will be at Clio United Methodist Church, Highway 10 South, Monday, December 16 at 11 a.m.. The service will be conducted by Mrs. Jacksonʼs former pastors Rev. Thad Chesser, Spanish Fort, Alabama and Rev. Donald Phillips, Leroy, Alabama. Following the funeral service, interment will be at Pea River Cemetery, Highway 51 North, beside her husband Alto.

 In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Huntingdon College, for the Pearl Norton Jackson Endowed Scholarship Fund, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36106 or Clio United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 67, Clio, Alabama 36017.

 Active pallbearers will be Samuel W. Jackson, Jr., David A. Jackson, Sr., Jackson L. Pelfrey, George E. Little, Jr., Ronald H. Strawbridge, Jr., and Jerry F. Vinson.
 Honorary pallbearers will be Edward Philbeck, Michael J. French, Yamandu Acosta, James B. Morton, Tommy Abercrombie, Lyvon Gilmore, Fred Cooper, Henry J. Roddam, Robert Jackson, Rev. Fred McCain, and Pastor Randy Adams.


  1. To The Jackson Family: Mrs. Pearl hired me at age 19 to be secretary for the Title I Federal Programs. We worked together for 11 yrs. until she retired. During that time she taught me the ins and outs of Federal Programs, strongly encouraged me to return to college (and I did), tried to teach me to crochet, but most of all, became my friend. I moved from Barbour County 16 yrs ago, however I made at least one yearly trip back to Clio to sit and talk with my friend, Mrs. Pearl. I have now retired but my last position was Federal Programs Coordinator - all because of God, my parents, and Mrs. Pearl. My life has been enriched by knowing her. Frazelma Crittenden-Lynn

  2. I am the daughter of Frazelma Crittenden-Lynn. I spent many afternoons after school in the office with my mother and Mrs. Pearl. She always asked me about my day and what I learned. We both had a passion for mathematics. I moved from Alabama many years ago, but always looked forward to hearing about my mother's visits with Mrs. Pearl. She frequently asked about me and I have fond memories of her from my childhood. She was an amazing woman, and her life an inspiration.
    -JanReqa Pugh Baines

  3. To the Jackson Family and friends,

    I did not have the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Pearl Norton Jackson. But I am sure she had to be an extraordinary lady to have a daughter like Caroline. Caroline is a very special person—a loyal friend to me and my family--and she is loved by many at National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC. I also know that Caroline loved and cherished her mother. May you all be comforted and sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Peace, Grace and many happy memories of your loved one,

    Lucille Smiley, and family of Washington DC.