Samuel E. Jackson Jr., psychologist

Research psychologist had worked at Edgewood Arsenal and APG and received numerous awards for his work with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

  • Samuel Jackson Jr.
Samuel Jackson Jr. (Picasa, Baltimore Sun )
September 12, 2014|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | The Baltimore Sun

Samuel E. Jackson Jr., a retired research psychologist who was a longtime active member of Kappa Alpha Psi, an historically black fraternity, died Sept. 1 at Howard County General Hospital of heart failure. He was 80.

"He was a beacon of light in the community and an elder for young men," said Herb Jenkins, general manager of public sector operations for Xerox Corp. and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, who said he benefited from Mr. Jackson's generosity of spirit and sense of caring.

"If you needed help, he was there to give it to you. He was a big, big brother and he did it so eloquently," he said. "He was the voice of ultimate respect. Everyone respected him, his opinions, and when he put his arms around you, you felt his love and support."

The son of the Rev. Samuel E. Jackson Sr., a United Methodist minister, and Ruby Jackson, a schoolteacher, Samuel Edward Jackson Jr. was born and raised in Louisville, Ky.

While attending Central High School in Louisville, Mr. Jackson developed a lifelong love of jazz. Count Basie was his favorite artist.

He also enjoyed singing and formed a quartet, La Chanteurs, with several friends and performed romantic ballads at various venues in Louisville.

After graduating from high school in 1952, he began his studies at the University of Louisville, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1956 in sociology.

While at the University of Louisville, Mr. Jackson began his lifelong association with Kappa Alpha Psi when he joined its Alpha Omicron Chapter in 1953. He later was the chapter's vice president and representative to the Inter-Fraternity Council.

Mr. Jackson began graduate studies at the University of Louisville in 1956 to pursue a master's degree in psychology. In 1958, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Edgewood Arsenal.

Subsequent to being discharged from the Army, he earned his master's in psychology in 1965 and returned to Edgewood Arsenal as a civilian research psychologist, where he worked in the field of human factors engineering.

Mr. Jackson later took a similar position at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he conducted classified medical studies and experiments to evaluate the impact of low-dose chemical warfare agents on soldiers, as well as testing protective clothing for soldiers.

In 1973, he earned a second master's degree in criminology from Coppin State University.

A longtime resident of the Lynn Acres neighborhood of Baltimore County, Mr. Jackson retired from APG in 1986.

"Education was very important to my parents. College was mandatory. That was a given," said a daughter, Stacey E.Y. Jackson, a lawyer who lives in Clarksville.

"He always encouraged us to finish our homework and projects. He supported us, and when we were wrong, there were no excuses for failure," said Ms. Jackson. "Race wasn't an excuse. Disabilities were not an excuse. You had to do your best, and he was always present and available to us in every way."

Samuel E. Jackson III, a son, lives in Westminster.

"The No. 1 thing in our house was education. My parents didn't buy fancy cars. They sacrificed for us so we could go to better schools," he said.

"It was education and living right. He always gave me options, and even though I became a plumber, he never looked down on me," said Mr. Jackson. "He'd say, 'Skipper,' that's what he called me, 'I'm proud of you.' He was a good man and he'd give you anything, but you had to ask him. He was the most supportive man I've ever known in my life."

A 32nd-degree Mason, Mr. Jackson was a member of the Scottish Rite, William F. Taylor Blue Lodge No. 57, and the Hiram Consistory No. 2.

Throughout his life, Mr. Jackson was devoted to Kappa Alpha Psi, where he served on numerous boards and committees. His work with the fraternity garnered him numerous awards and honors.

He developed the Senior Retired Activities for the Baltimore Alumni Chapter that was later adopted by the fraternity on the national level.

"His intelligence coupled with his diplomatic manner caused many in the fraternity and elsewhere to seek him out for counsel and advice," said Ms. Jackson. "He gave it freely and without judgment."

"Without Brother Jackson, I wouldn't be a Kappa. He was such a good man and he took me under his wing. He was always a good example," said Kyle E. McNair, controller of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and a Pigtown resident.

"We developed a bond, and he was such a humble man who didn't mind sharing information and talking with you. When I lost my dad, Brother Jackson stepped right up and gave me sound advice, encouragement, his knowledge and, most of all, his time," said Mr. McNair.

Mr. Jenkins, who became president of Kappa Alpha Psi, said, "I was a young man when I lost my dad, and he said, 'I'm now your dad,' and I went to him whenever I needed guidance. He was a strong influence on me."

"When I became president of Kappa, he cleared the way with the older guys in the chapter. He cleared all the minefields," said Mr. Jenkins. "Any young person who joined, he took under his wing. If they needed help, he was there to give it to them."

Mr. Jackson enjoyed taking frequent trips to Kansas City, Mo., to visit family. He also enjoyed listening to National Public Radio, completing New York Times crossword puzzles in ink, and reading mysteries.

His wife of 42 years, the former Delores Young, who was intake supervisor for the Baltimore City juvenile justice system, died in 2003.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Maryvale Preparatory School, 11300 Falls Road, Brooklandville.

In addition to his son and daughter, Mr. Jackson is survived by another daughter, Sandra R.B. McCrea of Columbia; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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