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Robert "Bob" Jackson '51 March 24, 2020 2:16 PM updated: March 25, 2020 8:56 PM

Robert O. "Bob" Jackson of La Vernia, Texas, class of 1951, passed away Sunday, March 22, 2020 at the age of 93.

He was born September 10, 1926, in Breckenridge, Texas. Bob served in the United States Army from December 1944 through November 1946 during which period he saw duty as a medic while in the Philippines and Korea. Following discharge from the military, Bob married his sweetheart and enrolled at Texas A&M, earning a degree in Agricultural Economics. Soon after graduation, he began a career in the steel business working as an estimator for Campbell Steel Company, later Mosher Steel, San Antonio, Texas.

Having mastered his trade, Bob left Mosher in 1968 to open his own steel fabrication business, Jackson Steel Company, also in San Antonio. He owned and operated Jackson Steel for thirty-eight years providing custom fabricated steel for projects internationally as well as throughout the United States. His company was among the first, if not the first, such company in Texas, to hold certification from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) in categories I and II, which allowed Jackson Steel to bid jobs for governmental entities as well as those in the private sector. It would be difficult to tour San Antonio and not run headlong into a structure owing its permanence to Jackson Steel Company. In addition to the many contributions Jackson Steel has made,  Jackson Steel supplied steel for the construction of the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center on campus.

While a comprehensive listing would be far too lengthy, one can find Jackson Steel stamped on the structural steel components of edifices at Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio Museum of Art, Hemisfair Plaza, and the pedestrian bridge spanning the San Antonio River in the historic King William district. In 1984, a project warranting national news unfolded in San Antonio which involved moving a 3.2 million pound, historic hotel one half-mile through downtown streets and across a San Antonio River bridge. The move took six days, 300 laborers, and is recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest hotel ever moved. Jackson Steel provided the steel beams and trusses which supported both the Fairmount Hotel and the Market Street bridge during that move. Bob was passionate in his pursuit of perfection in the work his company performed.

He was equally passionate in his love for Texas A&M and Aggie football, for deer, dove and quail hunting, golfing with his friends, and catching speckled trout from his private pier on Baffin Bay. He enjoyed the challenge of restoring vintage homes and buildings to their former glory. Together, he and his wife restored a stately, turn of the century multi-story house in Floresville, Texas which, shortly thereafter, became a featured location in the movie "Sugarland Express". Bob never turned down an opportunity to slide into a chair around a poker table whereupon he dismissed the "shoe clerks" with rapid ease but with compassionate humor. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Betty Jo (Davis) Jackson and son, William Craig Jackson.

He is survived by daughter Jeanette Jackson Davidson (Jim Ross '67), son Robert O. Jackson, JR., daughter Paulette Jackson Heimer (Larry '75), seven grandchildren including Heather Lea Montgomery '91 (Monty '82), and Dr. John Madison Davidson '96 and 2001 (DVM) (D'Ann '97); and thirteen great grandchildren including Mia Madeleine Montgomery '20 and Claire D'Ann Davidson '24.

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