We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at McCommons Funeral Home
Dr. Ben Douglas Jackson of Greensboro, Georgia, died Thursday, July 28, 2022, at age 75. He was born in Cullman, AL on October 12, 1946, to the late Ben Alick Jackson and Woodie Frances Clemons Jackson. On June 7, 1986, he married the former Sheila Ann Morton. They lived in Watkinsville, GA for 27 years before moving to Greene County two years ago. He was the past president of the Oconee Historical Society. His many interests included woodworking, golfing, bluegrass music, fishing, and cooking. He was a lifelong fan of the Houston Astros, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tour de France. Ben was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend to many.
After graduating from Beaumont High School in Beaumont, TX, he obtained his BBA from Lamar University and his MS in Forestry and PhD in Forest Economics from Texas A&M University. He was an Associate Professor of Forestry for ten years at Louisiana State University before joining the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1990. He retired in 2019, becoming Professor Emeritus after 28 years.
He worked at the University of Georgia as a Timber Harvesting and Forestry Extension Specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. He had an immediate rapport with his colleagues within Extension and developed a successful statewide program of logger and forestry education over a 30-year career; first out of UGA’s Tifton Campus in South Georgia, and then in Athens where he served as Extension Forest Resources Program Leader for several years. He was an early national leader and proponent of logger education to advance professionalism (LEAP), which later led to recognized programs for timber harvesters through such programs as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. This early work led to a foundation that today provides for many economic, social and environmental benefits from our nation’s forests.
He was active in several professional organizations including the Society of American Foresters, WEVA, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP), where he was elected President and provided leadership during a time of great growth for the organization. He later went on to serve this organization in a variety of capacities including historian, archivist, and photographer. He also oversaw one of the nation’s leading continuing professional forestry education efforts in the country and had an appointment with the University of Georgia’s Continuing Education Center to develop new short courses for natural resource professionals. He was always interested in adding new and innovative programs to the annual short course schedule and went out of his way to be as inclusive as possible by inviting Warnell professors and others to teach the courses.
He showed a great interest in all he took on professionally and expanded his professional portfolio into areas such as renewable energy through woody biomass utilization, timber taxation and early distance learning alternatives. He managed several students and staff on these large national projects and he took a personal interest in each one of them and their families. This led to a huge positive impact on these young professionals’ lives and to many lifelong friendships. For years, former students and staff would stop in to visit with him and catch him up on what they were doing. He was a great and unassuming mentor and immediate and sincere friend and colleague to students, staff and new faculty alike.
He enjoyed a good joke or two, socializing with his friends and colleagues, and a game of golf now and then. He was known for his grilling expertise at the annual meeting of the Southern Regional Extension Foresters where he could easily cook 30 steaks to order without a complaint in the house.
Survivors include his wife of thirty-six years, Sheila of Greensboro, GA; sons: Brian York (Kim) of Nash, TX, and Matthew Jackson of Athens, GA; daughter, Erin Jackson (Stephen Caron) of Portland, OR; grandchildren: Alexandra Visintainer of Statesboro, GA, Brian Alan York, Jr. of Pocola, OK and Max York of Nash, TX; sister: Linda Bernard of Greensboro, GA.
A Celebration of Life for Ben will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at McCommons, 109 W. Broad Street Greensboro, GA with Rev. Marc Lhowe officiating. The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to The Reverend John Andrew Chapter, NSDAR, PO Box 1832 Watkinsville, GA 30677 or Support Our Seniors, Oconee County Extension Office, PO Box 107 Watkinsville, GA 30677. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St. Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register.