“It has been a remarkable journey and I have been blessed many times over.”
Dr. Arthur Charles Jackson, Capt. M.C., USN R (ret.) died March 25, 2021, in Jackson, MS, with his wife of 53 years and his son by his side, after a long battle with scleroderma. The festivity Charles desired—“lots of music, wine, and even dance”—will be scheduled in some fashion in November.
A urological surgeon and Navy captain from Houston, TX, Charles and his wife Fitzhugh Lee (Jones) settled in Jackson, MS, in 1976 in the house where they had wed in 1967, as it was previously the home of Lee’s parents. Charles was the grandson of European and Mexican immigrants who settled in Houston at the turn of the 20th century. His British grandparents imbued him with Victorian sensibility in table settings, discipline, and personal grooming. His Carl forebears bestowed lifelong values of self-reliance, tenacity, and again, fine grooming.
He was born 8 November 1941 to Arthur Charles and Juanita Marie (Carl) Jackson in Houston, TX. Attending his delivery was Dr. John Zell Gaston, a cousin to Charles’s eventual wife. A cradle Episcopalian, Charles grew up in the rural suburbs of North Houston, attending Houston Public Schools. From childhood he wanted to become a doctor; his working-class parents ushered him toward that lofty goal. The Sputnik launch in 1957 shocked the U.S. into prioritizing science education like the U.S. Navy- and Texas A&M-sponsored program Charles attended in White Sands, NM. Popular and outgoing, Charles was elected cheerleader five times before graduating class valedictorian from Sam Houston High in 1960.
With scholarships from Schlumberger and the Houston Endowment, Charles matriculated at Rice University. At Rice he earned both a B.S. in biology (1964) and the affections of Fitzhugh Lee Jones, a biology major and cellist from Mississippi. The first in his family to graduate college, Charles promptly departed for a summer in Austria working as a bookkeeper (and beer drinker) at Brauerei Zipf. On 17 June 1967, Charles married Lee at her childhood home in Jackson, MS. Their honeymoon in Europe was eight weeks of shoestring travel in a rented VW Bug, including a foray behind the Iron Curtain. Their first married years in Dallas, TX, yielded daughter #1, Mary Etta; an M.D. from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School; and an ensuing 22-year career in the U.S. Navy.
Completing Urology training as a Navy Surgeon moved them among Boston, MA; Newport, RI; Oakland, CA—where daughter Elizabeth Carl was born; and Orlando, FL. They settled in Lee’s hometown of Jackson, where Charles joined Dr. Julian Wiener and Dr. Roy Kelly at the Urology Clinic; and son John Henry was born. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Charles was Board Certified in Urology and licensed in five states. He was clinical faculty at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and served briefly as Interim Chief of Urology at the Bethesda National Medical Center. Charles was beloved by patients for his skill and kindness. He retired his practice in 1991.
Charles raised his three children to love Halloween and high art, treat people with equal consideration, respect tradition, defy convention, dress with flair, regard wealth as secondary to character, and never pass up a spectacle. He provided his niece, Jenifer, with invaluable support, and zealously maintained ties with friends from junior high and extended family. A passionate supporter of the arts, Charles served variously as president and board member of: the Jackson Music Association, the Mississippi Opera, the Jackson Ballet, the Caledonian Society, and the English Speaking Union, Jackson chapter. The ESU Shakespeare Competition he facilitated sent local students to New York and London.
A devout communicant, usher, teacher, and fundraiser for 45 years at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, Charles followed a family tradition of Freemasonry as a member of Pearl Lodge #23 F.&A.M. He served as Deputy in Mississippi to the International Supreme Council (2001–2020) and a Worshipful Master (2002). Selected to 33rd degree in 2013, he belonged to both York and Scottish Rites. Charles relished the constructive civic role and the bonds of Freemasonry.
Charles is survived by his wife, Fitzhugh Lee Jackson, his daughter Mary Etta “Marie” Trosclair (Los Angeles, CA); daughter Elizabeth Jackson (Austin, TX); son John Henry Jackson (Maurine “Meemie”) and granddaughter Ava Catherine (New Orleans, LA). Also, of Houston, Charles’s brother Donald Wayne Jackson (Cathy), niece and goddaughter Jenifer Jackson-Schlaich, and grandniece Celeste. Charles’s legacy also carries on with beloved Carl, Husband, and Leslie cousins and British relatives, the Pollards and Jacksons.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are to the Arthur Charles Jackson Memorial Trust at Community Foundation for Mississippi (https://formississippi.org/donate/ -or- 119 South President St., 1st floor, Jackson, MS 39201); Pearl Lodge #23 F.&A.M. (PO Box 22984, Jackson, MS 39255); or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral (http://standrews.ms/giving/ -or- PO Box 1366, Jackson, MS 39215).