Gloria R. Jackson, 64, activist in Park Heights neighborhood

November 17, 1997|By Karen Masterson | Karen Masterson,SUN STAFF

Gloria R. Jackson, a Park Heights activist known by neighborhood children as "Great-momma," died Nov. 10 of heart failure at Sinai Hospital. She was 64.

Born Gloria R. Hackett in Baltimore, she was the third of 18 children. In 1950, her parents died -- her father of a heart attack and her mother while giving birth for the 18th time. Thirteen of the couple's children reached adulthood.

When her parents died, Mrs. Jackson had just graduated from St. Frances Academy. She was able to live on her own, but her 10 younger siblings were placed in St. Elizabeth Orphanage, a Franciscan order in Baltimore.

For several years, she was a sales clerk and a caregiver in private homes, using her earnings to provide a home for her sisters and brothers.

"She became a mother to all of us," said a brother, the Rev. William R. Hackett of Owings Mills.

"She was the kind of person to take a drunk off the street and feed him. She'd make a big pot of food and just feed people," said Norma Carroll, Mrs. Jackson's niece and companion. Mrs. Jackson's husband, Marshall Jackson, died 10 years ago.

Mrs. Jackson studied nursing at area community colleges and worked most of her adult life helping homebound adults.

She organized Park Heights community groups and political organizations to bring services to her neighborhood. She was a member of Park Heights Development Corp. and the Classen Avenue neighborhood association and worked through those groups to get city revitalization grants.

One grant helped secure funds for recreational and educational programs at the Park Heights Community Center. She also got grants to build parks and run weekly family fun days. As president of the association, she obtained land in the neighborhood for gardening. The harvested vegetables were given to families and the elderly in the neighborhood.

She belonged to the 4th District Democratic Club and Woman Power, a citywide group founded nearly 40 years ago to introduce black women to politics.

In her spare time, Mrs. Jackson collected earrings, costume jewelry and perfected her hairstyle.

"She loved to weave her hair with extension plats that hung down around her shoulders. And right at the top she arranged these colorful balls the size of gum balls. I didn't really like it like that. But she loved it. And that's how she'll be buried," Mr. Hackett said.

Services are at 1 p.m. today at St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, 3300 Clifton Ave.

In addition to her brother and niece, she is survived by another brother, Donald Hackett of Baltimore; six sisters, Anita M. Sterrette, Theresa Jordon, Dolores C. Bowles and Carmelita B. Hackett, all of Baltimore, and Imelda Felton of Washington and June Richey of Seattle; three sons, Mark Jackson, Marvin Jackson and Mario Jackson, all of Baltimore; a stepson, Marshall Jackson Jr., and stepdaughter, Michelle Jackson, both of Washington; and two grandsons.

Pub Date: 11/17/97

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