Just shy of his 102 birthday Alfred “Al” James Jackson passed on January 4th, 2022. Al was born in Burlington, WY, February 16, 1920 to William and Christine (Peterson) Jackson. Al was one of seven children to bless the family and had fond memories of his childhood on the family farm. When Al was 15 the family moved to the South Fork of the Shoshone River outside of Cody. As a result of this move Al quit school with only a 9th grade education but in 1956 he obtained his high school equivalency, however, his life experiences far exceeded any formal education he could have received. In 1939 Al went to work on the Majo Ranch tending horses and a year later signed on with Valley Ranch. From 1940-1944 Al worked as the horse wrangler and accompanied the girl’s pack trips that would last for 30 days at a time trailing from String Lake to Moran Junction and back to the ranch. Al was in good company up the South Fork working with Nancy Draper, Hope Williams, I.H. Larom, and Adell “Pokie” Koffman. He would work for the Forest Service during the off season building and maintaining trails, often alone in the high country for a month or more. Al often stated that these were the best days of his life.
In 1944 Al enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific as Third Class Torpedoman (TM3C) stationed at Morotai Island. His job was to make sure the PT boats were supplied with torpedoes, at the ready, at all times. After honorable discharge from the Navy, January 1946, he returned to the USA and with the G.I. Bill began learning the leather smith trade in Colorado Springs, CO, working alongside his older brother Ed. While in Colorado he met the love of his life, Maxine Hoskins, at a dinner party and six months later on June 14, 1946 they were married at the Garden of the God’s.
Al and Maxine moved to many different states during their 48-year marriage as Al worked for Husky Oil, Cody Feed Store, Deer Creek Ranch, El Paso Oil and Gas, Consolidated Oil and Gas, and Southern Union. He worked as a pumper, rancher, delivery man, flow meter tester, field foreman, and even tried his hand as a tomato farmer. He would often tell stories about the different kinds of work he had done and had always looked forward to learning something new. The couple never had children but always had numerous rescued dogs and cats in their home. After the passing of his wife, Maxine in 1994, Al returned to Thermopolis to be closer to family. A year later Al married Geraldine Moore and was married for 16 years until her passing in 2011.
In 2020, Al turned 100 years old, becoming one of the few centurions to reside at the Wyoming Pioneer Home and was honored with his own plaque. Al was also congratulated with a personalized letter from Governor Mark Gordon and President Donald Trump, which Al was over the moon with the recognition.
He was a long-time resident of the Wyoming Pioneer Home, a total of 12 years, and he considered the other residents as his family. He enjoyed swapping stories with other cowboys and ranch hands, loved to listen to music and knew most of his records word for word, and appreciated the time family spent visiting him. Al was loved and adored by all who knew him. He was the most kind and gentle man anyone had ever met, and he will be greatly missed.
Al was proceeded in death by his parents, William and Christine; brothers Edward, Merlin, George; sisters Ida, Eunice, and Wilma. Al is survived by his nieces and nephews, Ray (Cindy) DeVries, Gerald DeVries, Martin DeVries, Glenda Gopoloski, Merlin (Linda) Chenoweth, Darrel (Bonnie) Chenoweth, Laurean (Randy) White, Steve Chenoweth, and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews, Rhonda Perrie of Thermopolis and the many friends he made at the Wyoming Pioneer Home.
Cremation has taken place and graveside services will be held May 27, 2022 at Monument Hill Cemetery in Thermopolis.
Mortimore Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Messages may be offered at www.mortfh.com.
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