Susan Grace Jackson, Ph.D., died August 13, 2016 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. She was a Professor in the School of Art & Design at Marshall University where she taught art appreciation and art history. Over a career of 31 years, she touched the lives of thousands of students. As news of her death spread, her Facebook page began filling with testimonials from students and colleagues. These testimonials share a common theme – Dr. Jackson is remembered as a mentor who had a profound impact on both academic and personal lives. Her colleagues talk of her formidable intellect and keen wit. Her students remember her as a demanding professor who challenged them to think critically and live fully. Many remark on her exuberant laughter.
Susan was a staunch feminist. During her career at Marshall University, she chaired the Women’s Studies Committee as well as served as the Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program. She felt it her duty and her honor to help women find their voices and their power. In her personal life, she hosted gatherings at her home to encourage and mentor women. These Sisterings are remembered fondly by all who were able to attend.
Susan began her academic career with a B.A. in English Literature earned on a voice scholarship after graduating from Portsmouth West High School in 1976. She went on to get a Master of Arts in Theatre History and Criticism and her doctorate in Comparative Arts. All of her degrees were earned at Ohio University. She did her dissertation research in East and West Germany. She did post-doctoral work at the University of Dayton’s International Marian Research Institute. In addition to her work with women, Susan served on many committees at the university. She took her position as a member of the Marshall University Faculty seriously and was relied upon to do a great job at any task she was given.
In her personal life, Susan was a faithful friend, an accomplished cook and a voracious reader. Her email tagline was a Shakespeare quote: “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly.” Her friends and her family feel her loss keenly, but are thankful that her death was quick and peaceful.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Dean and Ethel Grace Jackson. She is survived by her sister, Carol Jackson, and her brothers, Edwin (Sandy) Jackson and Timothy (Lynn) Jackson, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Friends and classmates of Dr. Jackson have established a memorial fund to promote the advancement of the fine arts through education in public schools. Donations may be made on-line at www.gofundme.com/susanjackson or by mail to Washington-Nile Local Schools, 15332 US Highway 52, West Portsmouth OH 45663.
Visitation will be held at the Reger Funeral Chapel, 1242 Adams Avenue, Huntington, WV 25704 on Wednesday, August 17th, from 5 to 7 pm. A memorial service will then be held at 7 p.m.