JACKSON, Louise (Massey)
Louise Jackson died March 25, 2011, at the age of 96. Louise Isabel Massey was born Nov. 5, 1914, in the town of Massey, Pittsburg County, Canadien Province, in the state of Oklahoma. Her father was Edmund N. Massey, half Choctaw Indian, and her mother was Halley Pace, Cherokee. Louise was one of seven children in the family including Juanita, Bob, Oliver, Fred, and Mark and Hoyt. The Masseys lived on a farm where they grew cotton and vegetables, and raised milk cows, pigs, and chickens. They were self-reliant and either grew or raised most of what they needed. As a child, she always wanted to "hang out" with her older brothers, who considered her somewhat of a nuisance, and they often dared her to do things like jump off the hay loft or ride a calf after they twisted its tail. Her brothers inevitably got in trouble and after they had been scolded by their mother, she would say "I never did that when I was a little boy, did I Mom." The Massey family then moved to Crowder, Okla., where, as a young girl, she walked with her brothers two miles one-way to school. As she tagged along behind her older brothers, they gave her the childhood nickname "Tood-lum." As a young girl, she sang in the church choir and showed an early interest in music. Her uncle Fred Pace, a fiddler, lived with the family and taught her to chord for him on the piano so she could accompany him as he played his fiddle. She taught herself to play the church hymns by ear. Soon Louise was playing piano for two churches on Sunday mornings and for the silent movies on weekends. She earned her high school diploma from the High School Department of Bacone Junior College in 1934, a degree from BaconeJunior Collegein 1937, and then went to OklahomaCollegefor Women, where she received a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1939. In college she studied piano and voice and worked to support her education. She was the Music Director at Bacone until she joined the Navy in World War II, serving as a WAVE. As a Wave she sang and toured with the Navy choir. She had developed a beautiful soprano voice and sang opera as well as hymns in Latin. She was the soloist for the First Christian Church in Oklahoma Cityand sang for Roy Rogers' wedding. She also sang for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt while at OklahomaCollegefor Women. After the war, she got a job with the BIA headquarters office in Chicago, Ill.She came to Warm Springs to sing at her younger brother Mark Massey's wedding in 1947, and then got a job teaching in the Warm Springs BIA elementary school, earning the princely sum of $3.50 per day. In later years, many of her students often reminded her how much they learned in her music class. Former student Sam Colwash would sing the "Do Re Mi's" to her whenever he met her in public places, much to "Miss Massey's" delight. Soon thereafter, she met Vernon Jackson, a Wasco Indian, who was a bowling and baseball buddy of her brother Mark. They fell in love and married in 1949. She and Vern had four children in rapid succession between 1950 and 1954. In 1954, she and their young family moved to Eugeneso her husband could attend the Universityof Oregon. During the next four years, she raised the children and helped her husband complete his degree. After his graduation, the family moved to Madrasin 1958, and Mrs. Jackson resumed teaching at the BIA school at Warm Springs. Realizing that the BIA couldn't provide reservation youth with a high-quality education, she was instrumental in persuading her husband and other tribal leaders to have the state of Oregonassume that responsibility. Thus, in 1961, Mrs. Jackson became one of the first BIA teachers hired by JeffersonCounty School District 509-J and continued to teach third grade and music at Warm Springs Elementary. During the summer of 1962, she attended summer school at the Universityof Oregonto earn a state teaching certificate. Mr. Jackson died suddenly in December of 1969, leaving her to raise the children by herself on a grade school teacher's salary. She continued to teach grade school and music at Warm Springs, then in Madrasand finally at MetoliusSchooluntil she retired in 1977. Mrs. Jackson was a member of the First Christian Church congregations in Eugeneand Madras, and sang in their choirs. She could sight-read any type of musical score and transpose songs to a different key without the aid of a pencil. She sang in many Christmas and Easter pageants, her voice always clear and true. Before his untimely death, Mr. Jackson had recorded her church solos. To supplement her modest teacher's salary, she became an Amway distributor at Warm Springs. During her retirement years, she enjoyed the company of the Warm Springs Community Center Fitness Groups, especially the seniors. She traveled to the OregonCoastand elsewhere with a Warm Springs exercise troupe of mostly seniors. Mrs. Jackson was a staunch supporter of her husband's career and extended that same support to her children's endeavors. She set high standards and expected her children and students alike to strive to meet them. She often was hostess to dignitaries who Mr. Jackson courted to support and fund the many projects he worked on at Warm Springs. She would often receive a late afternoon call from him advising her that the governor or a congressional representative would be joining the family for dinner and staying the night before Kah-Nee-Ta was built. Mrs. Jackson was famous for her great coffee and homemade biscuits, which she always seemed to be able to make at the drop of a hat. She was a strong advocate of community service and gave freely of herself and her talents in Warm Springs. Her example was soon adopted by Mr. Jackson, and together they were able to convince many of his business colleagues and government representatives to donate their time and use their positions to help gain favors for the people of Warm Springs. The Jacksonsdistributed gifts of food, clothing and other assistance throughout the Warm Springs Community in the 1950s and 1960s before the tribes' economic development boom. Mrs. Jackson was a role model and mentor for many youngsters at Warm Springs. She encouraged all to dream big dreams, never say "I can't," finish their education and go on to college. Former Oregon Gov. Mark Hatfield appointed her to the first Governor's Commission for Women, which gave her another platform to advocate for Indian women and children's rights. One of Mrs. Jackson's few flaws was her "lead foot" on the gas pedal. She was often ticketed by the local sheriff for speeding, sometimes on her way to church. She never threw anything away on purpose and without realizing it herself, was probably one of the very first "recyclers." Survivors include her children Charles, Deborah, Anita and Mark; her grandchildren, Kahseuss, Michael, Turina, Vernon, Aiyana, Kalliah and Halona; her great-grandchildren Nieman, Jadyn and Warren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins scattered from Vermontand Virginiato Texasand California. She was preceded in death by her husband Vern Jackson, her parents, and all of her siblings. Funeral services were held April 1, at the Warm Springs Presbyterian Church. Her family has requested that memorial donations be made to support the Presbyterian Mission at Warm Springs.