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Mr. Johnie Jackson was born on December 15th, 1946, in Detroit Michigan and was the eldest of 17 siblings born to the late Eleanora Jackson-Graham. Johnie quietly and peacefully departed this earthly life and entered into the Lord’s eternal presence on January 25, 2024 under the watchful eye of his sons Jamil and Malik Jackson and his uncle Artis Jackson at the age of 77.
As an infant, Johnie along with his young mother, traveled back home to Elizabeth NJ where she raised him with the help of a close-knit village of loved ones including his maternal grandparents Lonnie and Anna Jackson.
Early on, Johnie, affectionately known as “Gin” gave his life to the Lord and was baptized by Rev. T.T. Thomas at Liberty Baptist Church in Elizabeth NJ. Years later, he rejoined the Liberty Baptist Church, Pastored by Reverand Lester Wormley. A life-long resident, Gin was educated in Elizabeth’s Public Schools. He graduated from Jefferson High School for Boys in 1966.
Shortly after graduation, in 1966, Gin was drafted and began his military service in the United States Army, stationed at Fort George G. Meade in Fort Meade, Maryland. He served in the U. S. Army Ordnance Corp, the second largest branch in the U. S. Army, responsible for ensuring that weapons systems, vehicles, and equipment were ready, available, and in perfect working order for combat anytime and anywhere. Gin was a Vietnam War Veteran and received a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal, and a Sharpshooter Badge, Rifle M14. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1969 and transferred to the United States Army Reserves until his service ended in 1972.
At the age of 17, before his Military Service, Gin was introduced to a skinny, young, pretty girl in front of her grandmother’s house on 22 south second street. Later that same day, he saw her again at her cousin’s house at 125 Elizabeth Avenue. It was then that he told his long-time friend Harry Pretlow “Hey, I’m gonna marry that girl”. He set out to make good on that promise and on January 23rd, 1971 he married Deborah Green-Jackson and remained married for 53 years until the end of his life. He absolutely LOVED his wife and spent half his days telling anyone who would listen about Debby…Debby, Debby, Debby… in his eyes, she was “That Girl”. Many nights he would wake younger siblings from a deep sleep just so they could sing to her because his voice was…well…a lil different.
The other half of his days were reserved for his expressions of love for his 6 children. He wasn’t just a father, he was Daddy; and there IS a difference. With his children there was a softness. He was loving, caring, gentle, and nurturing. At the same time, he was no-nonsense, a force to be reckoned with. Simply put, he didn’t play about what he didn’t play about. He was a family man and never hesitated to show it. He was easily on ready-set if the situation required it. He was our HERO in real life.
Gin was a man’s man. He was a jack of all trades, self-taught and great with his hands. He could build anything from a piece of furniture to a house and anything in between. He could fix just about anything with a screwdriver, nails, and some duct tape. It was his way of perfecting the manufacturer’s plan, a true ghetto-rig we affectionately refer to as, “Ginnin’ a thang”.
Yes, there may have been way too many parts and screws leftover, enough to make a sane person nervous, but it was definitely secure. He was just THAT Guy.
He was a master woodworker, carpenter, electrician and more. Lights off? Well, Gin knew how to tap into the streetlight until the power company came to reconnect…Allegedly.
Gin worked in various places over the years, but his final employment was with the United States Postal Service in Roselle NJ where he worked for 25year until he finally retired.
Gin was predeceased by brothers Wayne Graham, LeArtis Graham, Brian Graham, Derek Graham, and sister Brenda Jackson.
He leaves to cherish lasting memories, his loving wife, Deborah Jackson, six children, Shalonda Williams, Jamil Jackson, Malik Jackson (Bayyinah), LaKiesh Jackson-Woodley (Brian), Akeem Jackson (Michelle), and Malcolm Jackson (Jewel); 13 grand-children, Jamil, Ataysia, William, Jihaad (Naiyah), Na’im, Taahir, Yasin, Jaalam, Joi’a, Jynai, Mia, Alani, and Zaid; and 1 great-grand child Jayden.
Gin also leaves brothers Raymond “Earl” Graham, Curtis Graham (Debra), Larry Graham (Lenore), Terrance Graham (Kerry), sisters Catherine White, Carmen Pryor and Marva Graham, and sister-in-law Cheryl “Robin” Bailey (Clifford); 2 Uncles Artis Jackson and James “Sonny” Jackson as well as Life-long friends/brothers Arthur Carrington and Dawud Thomas
He is further survived by nieces who were more like daughters, nephews who were more like sons, and a host of relatives and friends.