Harriet Elizabeth Wilhelm Jackson completed her exceptional life of almost 98 years on this earth on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Harriet was born on June 25, 1913 in Bluffton, Ind. to Fred and Anna Wilhelm. She was a loving sibling to her brother Paul and sister Jean, both of whom preceded her in death. And she was saddened that she was unable to enjoy the companionship of her brother Ralphie, who died as an infant. When Harriet was 8 her mother passed away. He father later married Lottie Pierce who played an important role in her upbringing. Her father moved the family to Three Rivers when the children were young to accept a position with the Fairbanks Morse Company. Still her ties to Bluffton, Ind. remained strong. Harriet and Jean spent several summers following the death of their mother at the Bluffton home of their Uncle Pete and Aunt Mary. The pleasant memories of those times remained strong throughout Harriet’s life. Harriet would spend her days at the Bluffton train station where her uncle was the stationmaster and her aunt ran the concession store. As an adolescent she was thrilled when she was occasionally called to use her shorthand to fill a position at the station.
Harriet graduated from Three Rivers High School with the Class of ’31 and because of her outstanding secretarial and clerical skills was soon employed at the law office of R.J. Wade. She worked there for several years before marrying Harold Jackson and raising her two sons, Fred and Rick. Her appreciation for the faith that Mr. Wade had in hiring her remained with her for her entire life. After resuming the life of a single woman later in life, Harriet was pleased that she was offered a position by Thora Hoshel to work at the Hoshel farm implement company. This position gave her the opportunity to travel to many parts of this country, experiences that she thoroughly enjoyed.
Later Harriet accepted a position with the Three Rivers Public School system. She was employed for many years as the purchasing agent within the superintendent’s office. This provided her with the opportunity to work with her long-time friend Eunice Harding and to work with new friends like Suzy Warner. For several decades Harriet lived across the street from, or next to Marjorie Buck and the two women shared a special connection, especially in their later years as women living alone. Harriet always appreciated how the two watched out for one other in special ways.
Harriet was a lifetime member of the Eastern Star and took pride in being a member of one of the oldest chapters in the nation. She was a member of the Pythian Sisters for many years, was a member of the Sauganash Country Club, and was an officer and active participant in the PTA at the Andrews School where both her sons attended. She was a life long member of the First United Methodist Church in Three Rivers and spent many happy years teaching Sunday school. For years she participated in Three Rivers Woman’s Club activities including making her popular walnut pie for sale at the Woman’s Club booth adjacent to the Ox Roast at Water Carnival festivities.
Her parents, Fred and Anna, step-mother Lottie, brother, Paul, sister, Jean, infant brother, Ralph and great-granddaughter Brooklyn all preceded her in death. She is survived by her sons, Rick (Cathy) Jackson of Three Rivers and Fred Jackson of Kalamazoo; her grandchildren, Dawn (Jim) Lema and Brian Jackson of Kalamazoo, Chris (Michelle) Jackson of Newington, Conn. and Lindsay (Tim) McGrath of Mebane, N.C.; nephews, Pete Data of Three Rivers and Paul Data of Schoolcraft.
As she approached the end of her life Harriet indicated she wanted it known that she “may or may not make it to heaven, but I know I have had a glimpse of it through the family and friends I have enjoyed throughout my life.”
Services will be held at the Eickhoff, Farrand, Halverson Chapel, 305 Rock River Ave., Three Rivers. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. Funeral services will begin at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Her ashes will be interred at a later date at Fairview Cemetery in Bluffton, Ind. Those who wish to commemorate Harriet’s extraordinary life may direct donations to the First United Methodist Church of Three Rivers. An online register is available and condolences may be left for the family at www.efhchapel.com.