Former MP Louise Jackson Passes Away

January 2, 2014

louise_jackson[Updating] The island has lost one of its most respected figures with the passing of former Member of Parliament Louise Jackson.

Known in her later years for her contribution to politics, Mrs Jackson’s service to Bermuda extended back decades with her involvement in both education and the performing arts.

She passed away this afternoon at 83 years old.

Just before her passing, Mrs Jackson was named to the Queen’s 2014 New Years Honours List, awarded an OBE for her public service and service to seniors.

Her official bio said, “For public service and service to seniors. Louise Jackson stepped down as a Member of Parliament in December 2012, however she continued to remain active in public life. In recent years, she has devoted her efforts and energies towards advocating for the fair and equitable treatment of Bermuda’s seniors.

“She has been a tireless health campaigner, commanding respect across the social and political spectrum. Mrs. Jackson has been involved in all areas of public service having served on numerous boards and committees.”

“Most recently she was appointed by the Governor, George Fergusson to serve as a member of the Security and Defence Review Committee, a committee whose aim was to provide a comprehensive assessment the Island’s security needs. She was a teacher for the majority of her adult life and has helped in the development of children in Bermuda for many years.

“As the Founder of the National Dance Theater of Bermuda, she contributed to shaping Bermuda’s cultural landscape. Mrs. Jackson was recognised in 1979, for her service in the arts.”

A ferocious advocate for seniors while she was an MP, Mrs Jackson generally commanded the respect of her fellow MPs from both sides of the aisle.

We will update this article with tributes as they come in.

Tribute from the Progressive Labour Party

Shadow Health Minister Zane DeSilva said he had known Mrs Jackson long before he got into politics, and always had the greatest respect for her, even though they did not always agree.

Acting PLP Leader Derrick Burgess said, “The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party today joins the people of Bermuda in mourning former MP Louise Jackson OBE.

“Mrs. Jackson’s contribution to issues surrounding seniors and her unswerving commitment to her constituents will be honoured and remembered always.

“To the family of Mrs. Jackson we wish to express our condolences and support during your time of bereavement.”

Tribute from Governor George Fergusson

Update 5.57pm: Governor George Fergusson said, “I was deeply shocked to hear that Mrs Jackson was so seriously unwell, followed so quickly by the news of her death. In my relatively short time knowing her, I had come like so many others very much to enjoy her company, to heed her wisdom and to appreciate her enormous dedication to the people of Bermuda.

“While her political commitments were clear, she had close friends – and relations – across every divide, reinforced by her teaching background. I appreciated her continuing commitment to public service in agreeing last year to join the Security and Defence Review. And I am delighted that before she died Mrs Jackson knew of Her Majesty’s additional recognition of her service in the award of an OBE.”

Tribute from  Premier Craig Cannonier

Update 6.09pm: Premier Craig Cannonier said, “It is with profound sense of sadness, shock and loss that we learned of the passing this afternoon of our colleague and friend, Mrs. Louise Jackson, JP, OBE.

“Mrs. Jackson was a teacher of children, a defender of the elderly and an entrepreneur who used her love of dance to build the arts across Bermuda. She was also a political colleague of singular character and integrity who gave voice to the weak, the infirm and the forgotten.

“Mrs. Jackson was passionate about Bermuda, and the life she led made the Island a better place. She was an ally to all who needed fair hearing, and she was fearless in the fight. No one took on the powers-that-be better than Louise Jackson. Her passion for justice, fair treatment and truth made her a shining star in the community across many years.

“As her one-time colleague, I can say that Mrs. Jackson’s example continues to inspire. I will miss her sense of humour, her sense of fun and her fighting spirit. We have lost an amazing women.

“On behalf of my colleagues, I express our deepest condolences to Mrs. Jackson’s family, including daughter Susan who succeeded her mother as Member of Parliament. I know they are proud of her, of the way she lived and what she accomplished.

“May she rest in peace.”

Tribute from Independent MP Terry Lister

Update 6.15pm: Independent MP Terry Lister said, “I have known Mrs Jackson since I started attending the Berkeley Institute in 1965. She was a stalwart teacher and educator at a time when there were many great teachers and school leaders. Although she did not teach me her influence on the girls in my class was evident.

“As an adult I became closer to Mrs Jackson through a friendship that I developed with her husband, the Senate President, the Honourable Albert Jackson during the 1993 to 1998 period. As a new Parliamentarian, I sought out Senator Jackson’s advice on numerous occasions and was grateful for the time he gave me.

“I greatly admired and appreciated Senator Jackson but it was clear that his dear wife was his support and counsel as he addressed many challenges in his role in the Senate.

“After Senator Jackson retired I was surprised to see Mrs Jackson herself come to the House as a new Parliamentarian. However, her contribution in the House was significant. She was fearless in defending the causes that she took on.

“There were many occasions when Members scorned her comments but this did not deter her from speaking out and seeking solutions for the benefit of those who had sought her help.

“She leaves a political legacy that her daughter and political successor, MP Susan Jackson, will find hard to match simply due to the level of hard work, determination and pure love for country that Mrs Louise Jackson, OBE brought to the job every single day.”

 Tribute from OBA Chairman Thad Hollis

Update 6.23pm: Chairman of the OBA Thad Hollis said, “I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Mrs Louise Jackson, only the day after Her Majesty the Queen made her an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. I can speak for the whole of the One Bermuda Alliance when I say we have lost one of our best-loved members, and Bermuda has lost one of its most valued and cherished citizens.

“Mrs Jackson was a key member of the One Bermuda Alliance team that fought and won the last election.

“Her feisty and tireless work on behalf of seniors – the OBA made the plight of seniors one of the major planks in its election platform – won her friends and admirers all over Bermuda, regardless of political affiliation.

“In Parliament, she was an eloquent champion of seniors and those she felt were at a disadvantage, especially in health matters. She had an elegance and air of authority about her that put her opponents at an immediate disadvantage in trying to argue against her.

“Her effectiveness as an advocate was cited as the reason she was given an OBE.

“She retired from politics after the election, but kept in close touch with her many friends in the OBA. Her daughter, Susan, now represents the OBA in Constituency 20, Pembroke South West.”

Tribute from former UBP Leader Kim Swan

Update Jan 3: Former UBP Leader Kim Swan said, “It is with shock and deep sadness that I offer condolences on the passing Mrs. Louise Jackson MBE.

“I have known the late Mrs. Louise Jackson for 45 years since 1969, first when she was a school teacher at Berkeley Institute where I attended; second where as a golfer she frequented Port Golf Course in the early 1970 with Shirley James and the late Gloria McPhee often golfing with former Golf Pro Walter King; and thirdly as a political colleague within the United Bermuda Party, an association which spanned more than 30 years, as we were members of the Southampton West Branch in the late 1970′s when I first joined.

“In recent years, on several occasions we joked about a special golf match when she, Gloria (McPee) and Shirley (James) were victorious against Golf Pro Walter King – and with it a fabulous lunch at Waterlot Inn – but they were all furious when Walter King was called away for a pressing business meeting and they still had to pay.

“Louise and I were fellow legislators for 9 years from 2003 to 2012, but it was not until we were parliamentarians together since 2007, that I came to best know and fully appreciate Louise Jackson the Parliamentarian, her abilities and tenacity.

“Her work ethic was unquestionable, she would not shy away from a task but was not afraid to ask for assistance from a colleague when needed. She was a team player who went along with the consensus but was never afraid to express her opinion.

“But it is as the Shadow Minister for Health and Seniors that many will remember Louise and her dogged pursuit of issues on behalf of Seniors in Bermuda.

“As an Opposition Member of Parliament she fearlessly took to task Health Ministers the late Nelson Bascome, Patrice Minors and Zane Desilva. In spite of the many heated exchanges which focused around Mrs. Jackson’s questions &/or statements she was affectionately Aunt Louise to most.

“Through it all, it is impossible to speak about Louise Jackson without mentioning Jackson School of Dance and her contribution to the Arts and the appreciation of the Bermuda Gombeys.

“But in my humble opinion, the combined contribution of Louise and her beloved late husband the Hon. Albert Jackson as educators and legislators that will go down in history as a fine example to emulate but a hard act to follow. They were an adorable couple who gave a lot of themselves to Bermuda.

“Notwithstanding, Louise Jackson made an invaluable contribution to Bermuda in her own right and she will be sadly missed by her family, friends, colleagues and the general public.

“Cindy and I extend our deepest sympathies to her daughters Deborah and Susan, grandchildren, relatives and friends.”

“May she rest in peace.”

Tribute from former Premier Dr Ewart Brown

Update Jan 3: Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown said, “Wanda and I were shocked to hear of Louise’s passing.

“Long before we engaged in the battles of partisan politics, Louise and her late husband Albert were frequent guests of my parents, the late D.A. and Helene Brown of Flatts.

“Always an energetic, civic-minded lady, Louise will be remembered for her persistent advocacy on behalf of our seniors.”

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Comments (39)

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  1. Age Concern & Seniors Advisory Mourn Jackson | | January 6, 2014
  1. Bullseye says:

    RIP Mrs. Jackson. Thank you for your commitment to your community.

    • Betty Trump says:

      May God be with the family during this most difficult time. I extend my heartfelt condolences to Susan Jackson and family. Mrs. Jackson fought hard for the rights of Seniors. I remember her best for teaching dance. God Bless the family.

  2. terry says:

    And she was just awarded the OBE.
    Another great woman lost.
    Bless her family and may she rest in peace after all she has done for her fellow man.

    • Sapphire says:

      Yes, and sadly she won’t even get the chance to attend the Investiture to accept it in person. If I’m not mistaken, a family member will be able to accept it on her behalf.

  3. Donna Barnes says:

    Condolences.Bermuda has lost a great lady!

  4. James Rego says:

    My condolences to the Jackson family so sad to learn of the great lady’s passing.

  5. Z says:

    R.I.P Mrs. Jackson, you meant the world to those in the dance community. You had a HUGE heart, you will be greatly missed.

  6. Unbelievebale says:

    My sincere condolences to Debbie and Susan.

  7. Bernews says:

    We would like to add our voice to those expressing sympathy, and also mention that we are moderating this strictly and ask that all comments left be in tribute to Mrs Jackson.

    • observer says:

      thank you

    • Bozey says:

      Thank you Bernews….. Mrs. Jackson was a great woman and will be missed not just by family but many islandwide!! :(

    • Thank You Bernews, Mrs Jackson is a icon in my view and one to be highly admired, The work that she has done speaks for itself. A true heroines and one to be admired, her husband and her both leave a legacy behind that all can benefit from.

      To the family your grief and loss is ours as she was a trail blazer in many areas, even though most was accomplish through the fight for seniors. together again is she with her beloved husband and united forever.

  8. Bermuda Boy says:

    My sincere condolences. A really great lady, thank you for all you did for Bermuda.

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    RIP to a beautiful lady, wonderful mother, and effective politician. My condolences to her entire family, especially her daughters.

  10. Catherine DL says:

    A beautiful person. Wishing her family comfort in this time of loss.

  11. u ank sers says:

    RIP Mrs. Jackson

  12. Speechless says:

    Bermuda has lost an amazing woman! Thank you for your countless contributions to society. RIP Mrs. Jackson

  13. A constituent and colleague says:

    I worked with Louise – and her late husband, Albert – for many years. She was a great lady and did much for Bermuda. I know some didn’t always agree with her but if we all agreed with one another…it’d be a really boring world.

    Goodbye Louise….give my best to Albert !…and my heartfelt condolences to Susan and Debbie..

  14. Robert Daniels says:

    Wow. Condolences to the Family

  15. Voter says:

    God bless!

  16. Voter (original) says:

    Condolences to the family. Mrs Jackson was a great lady, and will be sadly missed

  17. Cboradman says:

    R.I.P Mrs Jackson and my condolence to the family of their lost. She serviced with dignity and grace till her end God Bless. We’ll all miss you Mrs Jackson.

  18. Nicky Gurret says:

    By all accounts a wonderful lady. She was a true example of community service. My condolences to her family.

  19. Shay Dawn Burgess says:

    My sincerest condolences to Mrs. Jackson’s family.
    What a beautiful woman who cared so deeply for our island. I will truly miss her and her contributions to Bermuda.

  20. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    Ah, no! Debbie and Susan, my deepest condolences. Bermuda has lost a tireless advocate for health and seniors. She will be missed in so many arenas. She touched so many, many lives.

  21. Snoopy says:

    Very sad news! Condolences to Debbie and Susan. Your mother is a lovely woman whom many of us looked up to.

  22. just saying says:

    This is such sad news…what a shining example of a strong woman who had a huge love for her country and seniors in particular. My condolences to the family..this must be absolutely heartbreaking. R.I.P

  23. Triangle Drifter says:

    Bermuda’s Iron Lady. Never met her but always admired her. A great woman of her generation. A shame that she did not enjoy a longer retirement. She sure earned it.

  24. Passive Aggressif says:

    R.I.P Ms. Jackson. Thank you for your commitment to Bermuda and its people. You will o down in the history books as a great and honorable person. You shall be missed.

  25. RME says:

    Who the heck keeps clicking DISLIKE on all of these beautiful tributes?? What are you, 12 years old?????????? Grow up!!!!!!!!

  26. Karma says:

    I knew Mrs. Jackson for over 40 years, and always found her to be warm, friendly, strong and a great mother. In later years, I admired her as a dance teacher to my daughter and for her stance on the plight of the elderly.
    I fail to understand why ANYONE would ‘dislike’ words of condolence to her daughters and the extended family. It’s utterly disrespectful and disgusting.
    RIP, Mrs. Jackson. You’ve earned it.

  27. The Dark Knight Returns says:

    Oh no. My condolences to Mrs. Jackson’s friends and family. May she rest in peace. She is a lovely lady.

  28. Bermuda123 says:

    I only got to know Louise in the last couple of years and wish I had known her both longer and better. She was a wonderful woman and a great inspiration. My condolences to the family.

  29. X man says:

    I truly admired Mrs Jacksons fight for the Elderly -
    many of the comforts put in place for the Elderly is because of her fight for
    the people that bought us here. infect she opened up the doors of both the PLP and the UBP
    to respond to the needs of the Elderly in Bermuda.
    One of Her true dreams was to have full Medical coverage, for People over 70 years old but unfortunately
    this will never be realized with Bermuda’s current and future financial situation.
    Mrs Jackson was truly a remarkable Women -RIP’

  30. Sheena Daniels says:

    On behalf of the family of the late Alice Curtis (who was Mr. & Mrs. Jackson’s housekeeper for many many years) we send our heartfelt condolences to Debbie, Susan and the family. Mrs. Jackson was a sophisticated lady who had much admiration. I recall many summers assisting my grandmother and admired the respect she always showed as an employer.

    May her legacy live on for those she worked hard for.

    R.I.P Mrs. Jackson

  31. Andrew says:

    National Hero 2014

  32. Saddened says:

    The Bible says that one’s death is more important than one’s birth. In other words, when you come into this world you haven’t done anything of importance yet. However, when you die you should have done something with the life you were given and hopefully have made the world a better place.

    Mrs. Jackson has definitely done much with the life she was given. Yes, her family, friends, colleagues and Bermuda as a whole are saddened-that’s natural. However, she came here to this world and accomplished what she had to do and has now moved on to a better place. She has accomplished more in this one lifetime than it would take others to accomplish in a few lifetimes. She has helped make this country better than when she arrived in it as a baby-her death is therefore truly more important than her birth.

  33. George Dean 18010 Chalet Dr says:

    May you be comforted by your mothers contributions to Bermuda..