Reid Jackson, 91, of Jackson, WY, died July 29, 2018 quietly in his sleep with his family by his side. Reid was born in Logan, Utah on December 2, 1926 to Harold Ray Jackson and Leona May Otte. He was the second of 5 children. Reid’s father was a sheet metalist and his mother was a home maker. Reid had a great childhood. He grew up during the Great Depression and though the family was very poor they found happiness in family unity.
When it came to Reid’s family his mom was the disciplinarian. He said she had a loving heart and a short fuse. He and his father were good friends. They spent a lot of time in the Utah deserts camping and hunting rabbits and snakes. He said his dad was a dead eye with a sling shot and steely. Together they would hunt ducks along the Logan River and made ski trips in the winter to Mud Flats Ranger Station where they would spend warm nights on cold days. Some of his favorite places to go were Bear Lake and Tony Grove. When he wasn’t spending time in the outdoors with his dad, he was chumming around with his cousin Ray on many mischievous adventures. He also enjoyed hiking with his sisters.
On July 4, 1932 during a family camping trip, tragedy stuck the family when Reid lost his younger sister Vyra Jean in the Logan River due to drowning.
Reid’s first employment was picking berries for 10 cents a case. On a good day he would make a dollar. He often spent his money on Saturday westerns such as Roy Rogers. As he grew older he attended Logan High School until the 10th grade. Times were tough and WWII had started. The family was forced to move to Ogden following work. He never liked it there and he missed his friends. On November 27, 1944 just shy of his 18th birthday, he joined the Navy. He trained as a tail gunner in a Torpedo Bomber as part of a planned invasion of Japan. He received top gunner award in Miami, FL in 1945.
When the war ended, Reid had a choice to continue in the Navy and join the regular Naval Fleet. For him it was an easy choice. He always wanted to be a forester. He decided to muster out of the Navy to enroll in the Agricultural College at Utah State University in Logan. He graduated four years later in 1950 with a degree in Forestry. He started work with the Forest Service by learning surveying, project work and manning lookouts on the weekends. He continued his training at the Tony Grove Guard Station learning of Pine beetles and tree marking.
In 1949 he signed up to be a smoke jumper in McCall, Idaho for the summer fire season. He trained in the early summer of 1949 and after only 7 practice jumps, he jumped his first fire on the Payette National Forest. Reid made a total of 10 jumps that summer. He continued his work as a smoke jumper from 1949-1952. In 1951, he was promoted to assistant Ranger on the Weiser Ranger District.
In 1953, he was assign to take over the foreman job of the McCall based smoke jumpers unit and that same year he met Loraine. They courted until April 18, 1954 when they were joined in marriage in Council, Idaho.
Reid had many adventures during the time they lived in Idaho from floating the Main Fork on an eleven day, eat off the land, adventure to riding a bronc at the Riggins Rodeo.
In 1956, Reid became Ranger on the Heise Ranger District near Idaho Falls. Shortly after, their first child Myra Loraine was born in 1958. Reid’s next job was on the Challis National Forest District. In 1960, they moved to Boise when he took the job as Fire Staff Officer on the Boise National Forest. Here, Reid and Loraine would buy their first home and have 4 more children, Craig, Colleen, Sandra and Dave.
In 1970, they moved the family to Nevada City, California where Reid became Deputy Supervisor of the Tahoe National Forest. In the summer of 1975, they would move the family for the last time when he was transferred to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Reid would finish the remainder of his career as the Forest Supervisor of the largest forest in the lower 48 states. In 1983 he had the honor of receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was presented to him in Washington D.C. He was offered a job in Ogden, Utah and Washington D.C. for career advancement but he and Loraine loved Jackson too much to leave. In 1985, he retired with 42 years of combined service to the U.S. Forestry Service.
After retirement, Reid and Loraine would spend quiet days in Jackson Hole, enjoying wild life on long drives in the park and trips to Jenny and Jackson Lake. However, this time was cut short in August of 1990 by the sudden passing of Loraine due to complications of an asthma attack. Reid would never re-marry. He spent most of the last years of life enjoying his 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. He passed many hours drawing with charcoal pencil or carving wood into ducks or bears. He had a love of poetry and often reciting Robert Service poems from memory. He participated every May in a night of Cowboy Poetry at the Bar J Chuck Wagon reciting “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. He enjoyed his regular visits to Bubbas BBQ, The Bunnery or the Virginian. He was a member of the LDS Church, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and Rotary. He was an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and received The Silver Beaver Award in scouting. He always supported and encouraged his grandsons to participate in scouting.
Reid is survived by his children: Myra Loraine Varley (Mark) of Jackson, WY, Craig Daniel Jackson (Michelle) of Saudi Arabia, Colleen Jackson Walker (Kenyon) of Jackson, WY, Sandra Grace Gordon (Larry) of Perry, UT, David Reid Jackson (Jill) of Middleton, ID, One sister Ruth Duke (Bill) of Roy, UT, one sister in- law Bernice Morell of Riggins, ID, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his loving wife Evesta Loraine, his parents Harold Ray Jackson and Leona May Otte, three sisters LaRene Smith, Lois Palmer and Vyra Jean Jackson and his great- grandson Lane Barber.
Reid loved living in Jackson. He was able to stay in his own home until he was 90 years old. He was grateful for the years of help he had from his daughter Colleen to be able to do this. In July of 2017, Reid moved into the Jackson Hole Living Center where he received great care the final year of his life. Reid was a great man, an honest man, a giving man and a legend. He loved his family, his country, his job and his town. We will miss his sense of humor, his storytelling, his giving ways, his love of family and being a friend to all. May we learn from his example in life.
Donations can be sent to: Good Samaritan Fund, Chuck Sheley, 10 Judy Lane, Chico, CA 95926
This charity is for smoke jumpers and their families who have been injured in the line of duty. Online donations can be made by going to donations at smokejumpers.com
Services for H. Reid Jackson will be held Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 11:00am at The LDS Church in Jackson, Wyoming.
A Viewing will be held Friday, August 3, 2018 from 6:30-8:00pm then on Saturday from 10:00am-10:45 am at the LDS Church. Burial will be at Elliott Cemetery, Wilson, WY
The LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints)
429 E Broadway
Jackson, WY 83001