McDaniel B. Jackson, of Charlotte, N.C., passed away on October 11, 2014, after a period of declining health, having devoted his good, long life to God, family and country. He was 96. Mac, as he was known, was an Eagle Scout, war hero, successful businessman, loving husband and father, loyal Rotarian, devoted Presbyterian, and the sort of fellow who literally gave the last ounce of blood he could whenever the Red Cross asked. And when he wasn’t doing his best to serve his neighbor, he was doting on his 11 grandchildren. A good life indeed. Mr. Jackson was born on November 22, 1917, in Jug Tavern (now named Winder), Ga., son of Barton B. and Clyde M. Jackson. The family moved to Charlotte when Mr. Jackson was three, and he spent a lifetime calling the city home. He graduated from Central High School at age 16, too young to go to college so he attended The Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He graduated from The Citadel in 1940 and then earned a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University. But as it did for so many men, World War II and the call to serve his country changed the course of Mr. Jackson’s life. He volunteered for service six months before Pearl Harbor and served with the British Expeditionary Force and later the U.S. Army Air Corps, fighting the German forces in North Africa. He was a B-25 pilot and was shot down twice. He recovered enough to fly again, but the second incident left him with a back injury that bothered him for the rest of his life. Mr. Jackson wound up flying 65 bombing missions over North Africa before being sent home due to the high number of missions. He was chosen to participate in the tour to promote U.S. War Bonds. Mac became a semi celebrity during the war and had the opportunity to attend the Command and General Staff School where he got to know all of the top generals. After Germany surrendered, he was given a set of orders signed by all four and five star US Generals that allowed him to fly all over the world on military planes, no questions asked. He took advantage of this opportunity and spent the next year traveling around the world. Stories from his trip were shared with family and friends for the rest of his life. By the time Germany surrendered in 1945, he held the rank of Major in the U.S. Air Force and had earned the Silver Star with Oak Cluster, six Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Purple Hearts. He was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His bravery in war earned him a private audience with the Pope. He also earned an appointment to West Point, a lifelong dream of his, though he couldn’t attend because he was three months too old. After the war, he continued his education at Columbia University in New York and completed his studies for his Doctorate except for his dissertation. Returning to Charlotte, he went to work in the textile industry with John Motley Morehead, serving as Vice President of Leaksville Woolen Mills. He later started Charlotte Merchants Delivery, a successful business that ran delivery trucks to pick up packages at Belk, Ivey’s, Montaldo’s and other businesses. It was so successful, in fact, it kept UPS out of the Charlotte market for years. In the midst of building his business career, the best thing that ever happened to Mr. Jackson came in 1954, when he married Miriam Steele Jackson. They were introduced by friends at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, and celebrated 60 wonderful years of marriage before his passing. Beyond business, Mr. Jackson left his mark on the community in many other ways. An Eagle Scout as a youth, he was a leader in the Boy Scouts in Mecklenburg County, and three of his sons earned their Eagle Scout honors through Troop 55 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. He was a member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church for more than 70 years, serving as a Sunday School teacher, Deacon and Elder. Working with Betty Ruth Wilkerson, the church’s Director of Christian Education for Children, and her husband, Tommy, his love for children inspired him to help establish a playground and Learning Center/Puppet Theater. He also became a board member and big supporter of Camp Whip-Poor-Will, a Christian summer camp beloved in Charlotte since 1982. A loyal Rotarian, he had 50 years of perfect attendance and was honored by the civic club as a Paul Harris Fellow. He worked closely with John Morehead when the prestigious Morehead Scholarship was established at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Morehead Planetarium built in Chapel Hill. For a time, he was the No. 1 Red Cross blood donor in Charlotte – one more way he did his best to help those in need. Mr. Jackson filled his 96 years with so much joy, all of them blessings from God. An outgoing fellow who never met a stranger, he and Mrs. Jackson loved to travel and made retirement trips to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and Alaska. Their favorite trips were taking the family down the Colorado River, and on vacations in the family Airstream. Mr Jackson and his family spent many weekends at their second home on Lake Rabun in Georgia, nicknamed “Neverdone”. Mac, with the help of George Winship and many friends, built the original home and was always making improvements – the home was truly never done. He loved fix-it projects, and had turned the garage of the home where he grew up into his first shop. There, on their first dates, Miriam would watch him work. They could only have imagined the wonderful life that was to come. Mr. Jackson is survived by his beloved wife, Miriam Steele Jackson; their five children – Beth Jackson Frybarger of Charlotte, McDaniel B. (Jack) Jackson Jr. of La Grange, N.C., William B. Jackson of Mendocino, Calif., John S. Jackson and his wife, Lia, of Concord, and Z. Franklin Jackson and his wife, Mary, of Atlanta; and 11 Jackson grandchildren: Mac, Thomas and Sam Jackson are the sons of Jack Jackson; Steele, Elijah, Noah, Andrew and Henry are the sons of John and Lia Jackson; and Virginia, Zach and Bobby belong to Frank and Mary Jackson. Mr. Jackson was preceded in death by his parents; an older sister, Barton Jackson Cathey; and a younger brother, Z. Frank Jackson, a pilot who died on February 10, 1944, fighting in the European theater during World War II. A memorial service to celebrate the resurrection and the life of McDaniel B. Jackson will be at 2 p.m. Monday, October 20, in the sanctuary of Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place. The family will greet friends afterward in Oxford Hall. A gift in Mr. Jackson’s honor can be made to the Mac Jackson Fund at Camp Whip-Poor-Will, P.O. Box 220113, Charlotte, N.C. 28222. Arrangements are in the care of Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service; please share condolences online at www.hankinswhittington.com.
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