Matthew Jackson

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 4:01 pm

Matthew McLaughlin Jackson, 72, passed away just after midnight, Jan. 25, 2024, from a cerebral hemorrhage after a fall.

Matt brought light and joy to countless people, and everyone who knew Matt would attest to his generous and inclusive spirit, his quirky wit, and above all his empathy and compassion for others.

Matt was a teacher in the Mabel-Canton School District for 35 years where he was a champion for students’ well-being and success. He believed in public service and was passionate about the interests of those in need. He never gave up on anyone.

He was born in Denver, Colo., in 1951, the second of four sons of William and Patricia Jackson. He was a brilliant athlete: a leader on his East High School tennis team, which won Colorado state championship in 1969, and starter as East High’s football quarterback and baseball catcher.

Although admitted to Harvard, Matt instead hitchhiked across Europe with the woman who would become his wife, Dana Nevill Fisher. Neighbors since they were 16, they fell in love picking grapes in southeast France and were married on May 31, 1974; they were 23.

Matt discovered Decorah visiting a friend. He and Dana settled in a small intentional community north of town, built their own house and raised a family: son, Samuel, and daughter, Sophie. Matt loved being a father and it suited his patient and wise nature.

After his retirement, he traveled frequently in the U.S. and Ireland. He became a devoted participant in trivia night, and he was always ready to head out to a major league baseball game. In retirement Matt also found joy and tranquility in the natural world around his home, in the movement of the wind in the trees and in the endlessly changing weather. Matt was a uniting force; he reached out to maintain connections with people and he strengthened the bond of love between those lucky enough to live in his orbit. His last days in the hospital were spent in the company of his closest friends and immediate family.

Matt is survived by his wife, Dana; son, Samuel; daughter, Sophia; daughter-in-law, Claire Loudis; son-in-law, Thomas lllk; grandson, William; and granddaughter, Frances. He will be greatly missed.

A gathering will be held at TBocks in Decorah on Friday, April 12, at 2 p.m.

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John Casterton
Guest
2 months ago

Mr. Jackson was my 6th grade teacher in Canton. He was good and kind and a very effective instructor. He was always a champion of doing the right thing and acting the right way. He was unrelenting and unapologetic in his enforcement of treating others with dignity and respect.
My most vivid and unforgettable memory of young Matt Jackson who seemed to be about 6’7″ to this former 6th grader of his, was the day in the early fall of that school year when he “showed me the light, the truth, and the way.”
I had been out in the playground on recess and had intentionally tripped a female classmate of mine named Darla. She skinned her knee and bumped her chin on the hard ground. When Mr. Jackson learned of my idiotic act, he took it upon himself to make an indelible impression on me.
Before I knew what was happening, my feet were a foot of the floor, his right index finger was nearly piercing my sternum, and his spit showered my face as he thundered, ” You don’t hurt girls! You DON’T hurt girls!! YOU DON’T HURT GIRLS!!!!”
I’m proud to say that, since then and every hour of life that I may have left to enjoy, I have not and will never violate the powerful and meaningful lesson I learned that day!
Peace to his family and friends. He was truly a great man.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Casterton
Amy B
Guest
2 months ago

Mr. Jackson was my 6th grade teacher & my favorite by far! I met up with him later in life, to which he said to call him Matt- I couldn’t do it. He was always Mr. Jackson to me. He impacted so many lives & will never be forgotten.

Carl Homstad
Guest
2 months ago

Matt Jackson was a natural athlete. Almost no matter what the game he was so good that when you played with him he made you feel like you had a chance. He was brilliant in every sense of the word. He was a joy to be around. He was a genuine, generous, compassionate person. But, he was also a great intellect. He could discuss almost any subject you could think of in depth, and many others that may not have occurred to you. But like sports, he never lorded it over you. He was a great teacher and I think he thought of each interaction as a teachable moment and I learned so much from him.
He reminds me of the saying by Lao Tsu, ” With a good leader you think ,we did this ourselves:”
He will be missed,

Bill (Sarge) Sargent
Guest
2 months ago

Sarge (Bellingham) sends sincere sympathy at your loss…he considered Matt a great human being and gentle soul

Martha winter
Guest
2 months ago

I am so grateful to have “ lived in his orbit”…. He really was a most remarkably interesting friend and so wonderfully interested in everyone and everything he encountered.
He left way too soon…….but will remain alive in all of us who knew and loved him.

Jeanne Aurelius
Guest
2 months ago

We like many people, loved Matt.. his smile lit up the room and he made everyone feel special. Although we live a good distance away, it was always a treat to come to Decorah and pay the Jacksons a visit. He taught us a lot about kindness, love, and devotion.
I always thought he and my husband were soulmates.. both witty, knowing, with twinkles in their eyes. We loved him and his soft soft sweaters. We will miss him but never forget him. Sending our deepest condolences to you Dana and your beautiful family.

Jamie Burmester Wagner
Guest
2 months ago

My deepest sympathy to your family. Mr. Jackson was my 5th grade teacher in Canton. I will never forget decorating our entire classroom to look like a rainforest. Mr. Jackson somehow obtained large cardboard tubes that reached the ceiling to make tree trunks and we made leaves to attach. We also got into origami in that unit making frogs out paper. He always rewarded students with M&Ms which always kept us engaged. He was a wonderful teacher and will be greatly missed!

Bruce Larson
Guest
2 months ago

The 9,000th broadcast of Jeopardy happened today. The winner was a young man named Matt Jackson. I could only see this as a tribute to a man who loved trivia, games, and friends; as well as life itself.

Daryl Bosma
Guest
2 months ago

Matt Jackson was a friend of mine; He taught me about sports and Life. Matt didn’t have a favorite team or player; he liked the underdogs or if they had a story behind them. Matt once told me about a baseball manager he liked because he had Zen qualities and was In The Now.
Matt always had a kind word for me. If I hadn’t talked to him in a while, he would say, “It’s good to hear your voice.”
Long live the memory of Matt Jackson.

Michele Oakes
Guest
1 month ago

When I picture Matt, he is wearing a White Sox baseball cap and a sly grin. That every day appearance does not accurately represent the intellect, diversity, and most of all kindness, of the man we all remember as one of the best people we have ever had the pleasure to meet. He continues to be a uniting force for our family. Whether it was joining my family at the Colorado cabins he helped to build and insulate, bringing together distant cousins to celebrate the McLaughlin family history in Chicago, or bringing many to Ireland to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of family, Matt was always there with a sly grin. Generous, thoughtful, helpful, honest, humble are just the first five words I can use to describe him. I miss him terribly. I am glad to be able to share memories with so many people whose lives he touched. He was one of the best people in my life.

marilyn southard
Guest
1 month ago

When I close my eyes, I can see Matt’s smiling, warm brown eyes. His smile reminds me of living life to the maximum. Mary Oliver has written, “I do not want to end up simply having visited this world”. Matt Jackson didn’t just visit. No matter who was in the World Series, his hope was ALWAYS for a 7-game event. His generous spirit, humble nature, and love of practical jokes as he embraced this life were gifts to us all.