Notable WindsoritesOld Newspaper StoriesOld Photographs

Cecil E. Jackson – 1873-1956

A look today at the namesake of Jackson Park via his obituary, January 23, 1956. A civic giant, and one of the people responsible for the Windsor we enjoy today. A person who dedicated his life to making Windsor a better place.

Park Bears Name Of Civic Figure

Held Chief Magistrate’s Post When City Reached Crossroads

Former Mayor Cecil E. Jackson, for whom Jackson Park is named, died Sunday in Hotel Dieu Hospital. He had been ill since August 1955. He was hospitalized Dec. 26.

Mr. Jackson devoted nearly half a century to public service. He first joined the Windsor City Council in 1904. He served 12 years as alderman, then he was mayor of the city for a four-year period ending in 1930. He then became a member of the board of education. A few years ago he resigned from his last public post as commissioner of the S.W. and A. Railway.

Mr. Jackson made his home for many years with his daughter, Mrs. Samuel Martin, at the Jackson family residence, 764 Dougall Ave. His body is at Morris Windsor Chapel, from where funeral services will he held Wednesday at 2 p.m. Rev. William Lawson, minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, where Mr. Jackson was a regular worshipper, will conduct the service. Burial will  be in Windsor Grove Cemetery.

Masonic Lodge services will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. under the auspices of Dominion, Lodge, No. 598, A.F. and A.M. Mr. Jackson held the 50-year jewel as a Mason and was a life member of Great Western Lodge, No. 47. At one time he was grand steward of the Grand Lodge of Canada. He was also a life member of Windsor Chapter No. 4 of the Order of Eastern Star and a 50 year member of the Ancient Order of Foresters. Rainbow girls and 0. E. S. Chapter members will take part in the Tuesday evening services—the girls at 7 and the 0. E. S. members at 7:15. Few men have given’ more of their time and energies in the  service of their communities. At the age of 83, former Mayor Jackson could look back upon of the most eventful periods of the city’s history. Experienced as an alderman in the early days of Windsor’s growth, his real challenge came when he was elected mayor in the late 1920’s—a period when Windsor was at the crossroads. It had reached the point where a decision had to be made whether it would continue to be a modest border community with a flourishing automobile plant and a few other industries, or whether it would become a major industrial community. Mayor Jackson did not hesitate. He set out boldly to make Windsor one of the nation’s leading cities. Many times he was the target of critics who thought he had overreached. Divisions arose. Through all this the former mayor retained his vision of a greater Windsor. Patiently, quietly, as was his habit, former Mayor Jackson pressed forward the developments which he saw as inevitable. His support of the purchase of the former Windsor Jockey Club as a public park, for example, stirred a storm of controversy seldom equaled in the city’s history. The mayor stuck to his guns.

On other occasions be employed a polite, kindly patience and tolerance, listening with respect to all proposals, considering them, then pursuing the course he believed best for the city’s future. None will question today the tremendous asset which the city has in Jackson Park. But in the days when its purchase was first proposed, it appeared like extravagance. Some scoffed at it.

 Mr. Jackson was a working man. He was obliged to leave school early and make his own way, as well as aiding substantially in the support of his mother, a widow at the time of the family’s arrival here. Only 14 when he arrived from his native town of Port Burwell, the youthful Mr. Jackson got a job selling newspapers on the railway. From that, he went into the promising trade of barbering. His shop and that of his brother, Norman, was a familiar business establishment for years, first on Sandwich St. then on Pitt near Goyeau. Mr. Jackson arrived here in  1887. He attended Windsor schools. One of his oft-repeated  experiences was telling how he is attended classes in the old Central School in downtown Windsor, the building now known as City Hall, and how he sat in class not far from the chair he was to occupy as mayor later on.

In 1903 he married Miss Jessie Bertram. They were blessed with five children, four daughters and one son. Mrs. Jackson died in 1947. Three daughters still are living here. One daughter, Mrs. Dr. Albert Myers (Marjorie), Potterville, Mich., died in 1934. The family’s only son, George, was a fighting member of the  R.C.A.F. overseas in World War II. He lost his life in the service of his country in 1943. Mrs. Samuel Martin (May): Mrs. Jack Cleminson (Grace) and Mrs. John Switzer (Isabelle), all are Windsor and district residents. There are 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Mrs. A. S. Kirby, Englewood, Calif., is a sister of Mr. Jackson. Mr. Jackson followed his business career in Windsor for 19 years. In 1904 he ran for council and was elected, serving 1904 and, 1905. He ran again in 1917 and at was successful, serving from that time until 1926 as alderman, then — as mayor for four years until 1930, when he became a member of the Windsor Board of Education, where he served several years, winning re-election each year with little difficulty.

Mr. Jackson also dealt in real estate and in connection with his barber shop, he operated a tobacco business. He gave all this up when he entered the mayor’s chair in 1927. His statement at that time was that he believed the mayor’s job in swiftly-growing Windsor was a full-time task. He was at his desk every day and his door was always open to any citizen. Mayor Jackson was the first man to serve four successive terms as Mayor. In 1938 when the Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Rail-way was taken over by new management and a local board was set up to administer it. Mr. Jackson became one of three commissioners, along with W. H. Furlong, Q.C. and F. X. Chauvin. He served that board for more than a decade. He remained a familiar figure on the city’s downtown streets for several years. A man of medium height, slender and never appearing to be very robust. he possessed a wealth of kindness and understanding and coupled it with high devotion to his family and his city. He also was known for his unquestioned integrity in public affairs and a strong. though little-suspected pertinacity that got things done. He had few interests outside his family and chic affairs. A little known chapter of his life is that he served 9 years with the old 21st Essex Fusiliers. He was with that noted Windsor regiment when it visited Toronto and Quebec on the occasion of the visit to Canada of Duke of York (later King George V) in 1908. His other interests included his business, the Masonic Lodge, where he was Scottish Rite member and a pioneer member of the Windsor Kiwanis Club. He will be best remembered because of his political career and for the period through which be served as mayor. He followed in office the late Frank J. Mitchell and he was succeeded by Mayor (now Senator) David A. Croll.

Those were crucial years for Windsor. Mayor Jackson saw the highs and lows of the time. He came to the mayor’s chair when the booming prosperity of the late 1920’s was at its height. He e left the job when the first stunning blows of the depression years were about to land.

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