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Remembering the Life of Pvt Ollie Jackson

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Longtime San Bernardino resident Ollie Jackson was remembered during a recent homegoing ceremony celebrating his life. Born January 5, 1925, to Reverend Overton Judge Jackson and Edna Lucille, Ollie was the youngest of six children. His siblings included three sisters, Mary Ellen, Jessie May, Clemmie Lee, and two brothers, James Andrew and Paul Dunbar. Ollie departed this life, Sunday, February 19, 2012, at the Norman Veteran Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Ollie’s Oklahoma heritage began with the arrival of his great-great grandparents, Harriet Love and Dick Richards to the frontier by way of the Chickasaw Trail of Tears in 1836. Overton Judge Jackson, Ollie’s father was named after Judge Overton (Sobe) Love, the Chickasaw owner of his mother Emily and grandmother Melvina. Love County was also named after Judge Love, who was one of the Chickasaw’s leading statesmen.

In a November 13, 2003 article in The Black Voice News, a brief account of Ollie Jackson’s life during WWII was given. To summarize, Ollie Joseph Jackson had just completed the eleventh grade when he was drafted on July 9, 1943. The United States government was calling young men into service because of the war. Because his grades were good, he was allowed to miss his senior year of high school and his school principal granted his graduation in abstentia. He was inducted into the 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers) and shipped to Ft. Sill. His orders were immediately changed and he found himself on a train to Arizona. He, along with the other recruits were ecstatic when they discovered their destination to be Camp Lockett in El Centro, Arizona. Most, like Ollie had never been outside of Oklahoma. The men were trained with horses in preparation for an expected Japanese invasion. It soon became apparent that the invasion would not happen so the organized 92nd Black Regiment was shipped to Newport News, Virginia before going to North Africa. From there the men went to Tunisia and then on to Italy. He holds the distinction of being transported on the Billy Mitchell troop transport ship on three occasions during the war.

Jackson did not personally see combat. His job mainly consisted in building runways and preparing the landing fields for the B-17 and B-29 bombers. As the war was gradually ending he was transferred to the Philippines to do the same for the bombers. Ollie received an honorable discharge February 8, 1946. Ollie’s life was one of adventure and hard work. While a teenager, he engaged in the sports of boxing and football. After the war he matriculated at Langston University in Oklahoma for a few semesters. Afterwards, he worked for some years with his father at the Oklahoma Paper Company.

He met and married Bernice Benjamin in October of 1947. To this union were born 6 children; Phyllis Kay, Donald Keith, Ollie Joseph Jr., Bruce Lamont, Barry Eugene; and Nolan Paul. His wife Bernice passed away in September 29, 1996 just one month short of their 50th wedding anniversary. Phyllis and Donald are also deceased. Ollie worked at Tinker AFB as a sheet metal mechanic. In 1955 he moved his family to San Bernardino, California because he did not want his five sons to be reared in a segregated society. With the transfer he performed the same line of work at Norton AFB in San Bernardino until he retired in 1982. Restless, he worked as a driver for the Roach Bus Line Company until his retirement there in 1990. On June 4, 2011, the city of San Bernardino honored Ollie for his service to the Bus Line and an educational scholarship was created in his name.

During the adolescent and teenage years of his five boys, he encouraged them in attending church, sports and camping. He was a friend to all and an enemy of none. He loved to read the Bible and showed intense interest in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. He was a devoted Seventh-day Adventist where he served as a faithful deacon for many years.

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