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Walter Edwin Jackson

August 13, 1935 — November 27, 2023

Durango

Walter Edwin Jackson

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Walter Edwin Jackson, a true gentleman of great integrity, patience, humbleness and knowledge along with being a devoted husband and a loving father and grandfather passed away on November 27, 2023 in Littleton, Colorado with family by his side.

He will be remembered for his outstanding professional leadership and meritorious service in education for the students, employees, and parents of both Durango and Summit County school districts. He served as a teacher, coach, assistant superintendent and superintendent for 32 years. He has been respected by many in the field of Education state wide. He was a visionary leader spearheading programs for both students and teachers, as well as community leaders. This was met many times with success and great accomplishment. He was so honored in being awarded the Rural Superintendent of the Year in 1989. He also received the Distinguished District Educator award in 1990. In 1991, he was awarded the Golden Spur Award and was named Summit County Citizen of the Year.

This fellow had another great area of success in his talents for skiing, participation and coaching, which led him to become a legendary skier. Starting at 10 years old, he enjoyed this talent for many years.

Walter was born in Denver, Colorado on August 13, 1935 to Ellen and Albin Jackson. He grew up in Leadville, Colorado and graduated in 1953. He attended Western State University (WSU) in Gunnison from 1953-1957. During this time he was a member of the very successful ski team who was coached by Sven Wiik. This team became legendary nationwide. Walt was so proud of the accomplishments and his team members. He was most successful as a 4-way skier, receiving the Best Skier award for three years in a row. He also was assistant coach from 1960-1961.

Walter joined the Army in 1957 and became a member of the Special Forces with participation in the U.S. Biathlon and FIS team. The team competed and won championships in Austria and Italy in 1958 and 1959. This also led to his becoming a member of the training squad for the 1960 Olympics held in Squaw Valley, California and skied as a forerunner for several cross country events.

Walter and Julia (Yocum) Jackson were married on June 29, 1959 and to this union two sons were born, Scott and Chris.

Working as a research assistant in Exercise Physiology and Biophysics with heart disease brought Walt to Chicago for 2 years (1963-1965). He was also the coauthor of publications during this time with Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo.

The opportunity to return to Colorado presented itself and the family happily moved to Durango, where he became a science teacher at Miller Middle School. He also served as the High School Ski Coach for two years and won the state championship both years. He once stated that the time he spent coaching, both skiing and track were among the best years of his life. Many of those former team members still recall their time and participation as an influence and direction for their future endeavors. Even today, many have stayed in personal contact. To Walt, it was all about the kids, both with educational and life time skills. His own two sons were so proud of their father’s influence.

Walt was inducted into the following Hall of Fames as a result of his excellent skiing ability:

Western State University: three times, twice for team participation and once for personal participation; Leadville Lake County Sports Hall of Fame and Durango Winter Sports Hall of Fame. He was always so proud and grateful for these recognitions.

Walter’s academic accomplishments:

In 1957 received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and English and in 1961 his Master of Arts in School Administration both from Western State University; 1963 Diploma from DeVry Technical Institute, Chicago; 1967 received Master of Arts in Teaching Department of Geology Earth Science from Indiana University and in 1976 received his Doctorate in Education in School Administration from University of Northern Colorado.

Walt had many personal interests and hobbies. He enjoyed making wood furniture and was an accomplished pianist. He participated in races, was a marathon runner, a hunter, a fisherman and was always happy to be on his skis and in the snow and on the golf course in the summer.

Walt maintained a very positive attitude and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was very proud to be a veteran, an American citizen and a member of the Elks Lodge. He was a recipient of a kidney transplant for 14 years. He was a believer in his Savior, Jesus.

Walter was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and two brothers. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Julia; sons Scott (Janna) and Chris; his grandchildren: Brent, Gretchen, Gabe, Katelin and Matthew; one brother-in-law; two sister-in-laws; several nieces and nephews and many dear friends.

Walt was in Denver recovering from surgery and doing well until renal failure claimed his life. He is now at Peace. Cremation has occurred and a private burial will take place at a later date when the sun is warm and the birds are singing.
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