Donald Paul Jackson, 82, died peacefully Friday, December 9, 2022, in Kalamazoo, MI, after a lengthy decline from dementia.
Don was born in Kalamazoo on June 3, 1940, to Paul Douglas and Mary Grace (Porter) Jackson. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1958 after making the Kalamazoo Gazette All-City Football Team as a senior on a team that went 0-9. Don attended Western Michigan University for two years and then went to work full-time at Durametallic Corporation. On January 27, 1961, he married his high school sweetheart, Carol Josephine Spaulding, and they were inseparable for 54 years of marriage until her death in 2015. They made their home in Cooper Township and raised two boys.
At Durametallic, Don worked his way up from the machine shop to become an executive, first as Vice President-Manufacturing (1980) and then as Vice President-Corporate Quality (1989). Don traveled the world helping the company go global and opening new manufacturing facilities in Europe, Brazil, and India. He was a Certified Manufacturing Engineer and long-time member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Don was a tireless supporter of many non-profits. He helped found Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo, the first hospice organization to serve the Kalamazoo area. He was a board member and past president of the Safety Council for Western Michigan, and a tireless fundraiser for the WMU Gary Athletic Fund, Kalamazoo College, the Kalamazoo Foundation and Greater Kalamazoo United Way. After retirement, he led efforts to rehabilitate Milham Park. He was a longtime member of First Congregational Church, a Mason and a Shriner.
Don retired in 1995 after Flowserve acquired Durametallic. For many years Don and Carol split their lives between the beautiful home they built on a creek in Comstock and a winter home near the Gulf Coast in Florida. They cherished lifelong friendships with many school chums and members of the Durametallic family. They traveled widely and made friends wherever they went. Don will be remembered as one of the nicest people you’d ever meet and generous to a fault.
In his younger days, Don enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father and his son, Brian, and was decent at golf and tennis. He was an avid gun and coin collector, a published photographer, and an accomplished chef. He was never happier than when spending time with his immediate and extended families; his weekend cookouts were legendary. He was very proud of his two boys and their families, following his grandchildren’s progress closely.
Don is survived by his sister, Patricia Vandenberg of Kalamazoo; sons, Bradley (Susan Schadewald) of Stoughton, Wisconsin, and Brian (Susan nee Wygant) of Kalamazoo; grandchildren, Neal (Taryn Farber) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sadie of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Ross (fiancé Elizabeth Stier) of Kalamazoo, and Kellie (partner Bradley Whitney) of Kalamazoo; many nieces and nephews; and special Bickford friend, Betty Campbell.
The family is planning a memorial service in the summer of 2023. At Don’s request, his ashes will be scattered to join Carol’s.
The family thanks Provisions Living in Oshtemo, especially Janna Ritter, for taking such great care of Don in his later years, and Centrica Care Navigators for their attentive hospice care at the end of his life.
Those wishing to make a memorial to Don’s life may make a contribution in his name to Kalamazoo Friends of Recreation and/or Centrica Care Navigators.