Priscilla Jackson NORTH CHITTENDEN - Priscilla May Thomson Jackson was born March 8, 1922, in Canton, China. Her parents Dr. J.O. Thomson and Ethel Ramsey Thomson were missionaries to China. Her grandfather, J.C. Thomson, came to China in the early-1880s and managed the Canton Hospital starting in 1884, which was the first scientific/western hospital in China. His son, J.O. Thomson, joined the Canton Hospital in 1910 as a surgeon. Priscilla, who grew up in China, attended the Shanghai American High School and was proud of winning a Chinese history prize. She crossed the Pacific Ocean five times before attending Oberlin College with a major in political science. Priscilla then transferred to the University of Chicago, after marrying the love of her life, Walter Jackson, a graduate of Brown University 1939, who was a graduate student at the University of Chicago Theological Seminary. Priscilla and Walter were part of a group which founded CORE, Congress of Racial Equality, and they moved to Detroit in 1943 to start a branch of CORE. In Detroit, Walter secured a job in Herman Gardens where he started the first U.S. church in a housing project. Priscilla played the organ for church services and helped start a co-op store with UAW staffers’ wives. Jennifer Agnes and Lillian Avis were born at this time in 1944 and '45. The family next moved to Pittsford, Vermont, where Walter became the minister of the Congregational Church; son Nathan Oscar was born in Proctor, Vermont, in 1948. During this period, Walter and Priscilla purchased a remarkable farm property in North Chittenden, Vermont, which has remained as a family home to the present time. Priscilla and family returned to Detroit in 1949, where Walter became a stockbroker and an assistant minister. Priscilla joined the Detroit Women Writers, as well as monitoring three lively children. A move to Birmingham, Michigan, suburb of Detroit, followed in 1954. Priscilla became active with the Birmingham Community House, the League of Women Voters and the Woman Writers’ Work Shop. At this point, Priscilla was offered a job in the newly developing Oakland University in Oakland County, Michigan, in the Continuing Education Department, as a conference director. There, she won several state and national awards in conference design. Her professional achievements at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, in Adult Education were conference coordinator, then director of conferences, and designer director of the Continuum Center for Women and assistant dean of Continuing Education for Developmental Programs. Supported by Oakland University’s president, provost and Continuing Education dean, Priscilla won three Kellogg Foundation Grants for the “Continuum Center for Women.” These were women homemakers about age 42, who were mostly stay-at-home moms with so-called at the time “empty nests.” The Continuum Center offered discussion groups, interest testing and interviews with a psychologist, specialists in education and volunteer work, and employment opportunities for 2,000 women. The Continuum Center, one of the first in 1965, was the most comprehensive center for continuing education for women. She was co-author of "The Continuum Center for Women," a book published by the Kellogg Foundation in 1970. In this period, Priscilla was appointed to the Oakland County Welfare Commission, received a M.A. from Michigan State University in Adult Education and was a review editor for Adult Education Journal. A move to the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business Administration, to design a Women in Management Program, came next. Thirty grant proposals were written by Priscilla during 1963-1973. She consulted with 14 universities and community colleges on their woman’s centers, started a Women Professionals Program at Wayne State’s Rackham Center and became a popular speaker for the “Eight Stages in a Woman’s Life.” During her life, Priscilla attended writer’s workshops, wrote articles for newspapers and magazines, gave speeches and talks and wrote a number of books. For example, she attended the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in 1960 and the Esquire Writers’ Conference New York in 1962 with Saul Bellow, which were admission by manuscript workshops. Speeches and talks were given on numerous occasions on the changing role of women, Chinese history, the historical novel, job search intensive and adult education, to women’s organizations, such as AAUW, seven denominations of church women, Women’s City Clubs, Junior Leagues, professional organizations, such as those of community college presidents, school principals, educators, dietitians, secretaries and Rotary Clubs. “The Eight Stages of a Woman’s Life” was given to state and national conventions, spouse’s programs. Priscilla was a very popular and entertaining speaker! She was listed in Who’s Who in American Women in the Midwest, 2000 Women of Achievement and the International Scholar’s Directory. A number of her articles have been published in magazines and newspapers, such as Coronet Magazine in the '50s and '60s. “The Job of Job Hunting” was published in New Options for Women, McGraw Hill 1976. Miami Today published 13 articles 1984-86; articles were written for The Rutland Business Journal, Prime Time, Slab City Messenger, The China Connection and Vermont Voices 1. Reprints of “Why Snowbirds Fly” (original in Rutland Business Journal) were published in the Colorado Senior Spectrum, Denver Seniors and Slab City Messenger, North Chittenden, Vermont, and presented to the Miami PEO and Miami Professional Women. A short story, “The Intruder,” was accepted by Words of Wisdom, Greensboro, North Carolina, a literary journal, for publication in the December 2002 issue. Priscilla wrote five novels: an historical novel, "A Gryphon Year, China 1911-12," an "American Surgeon in Old Canton," which was published in 2012 by Author House of Bloomington, Indiana, ISBN: 978-4678-7313-0(sc), ISBN: 978-1-4678-7312-3(hc), ISBN: 978-1-4678-7311-6(e) and can be purchased on Amazon. Other novels include "Someone Skyward" in 1990, "Where Tree Tops Touch," Vermont 1994, and "Whilom of Eld" (11th century England) 1996. Summers in Vermont involved improvements on the barn being turned into a house and developing gardens, now 17. A garden walk group was initiated in Chittenden, which Priscilla ran from 1988-1998, and a slide show and picture book showing the yearly journey of flower beds, accompanied by light verse, was developed called A Floral Garden: a Northern Garden from May Mud to Icicles. This garden talk was presented to the Coral Gables Garden Club, Southern Vermont Branch of National League of American Pen Women and Milwaukee Garden Friends. In Vermont, a long lasting book club also was initiated to read important books! Priscilla and Walter spent half their year in Vermont. There, they joyfully opened their Bavarian Chalet to the extended family, a tradition that has lasted to this day. A boat on Lake Champlain at Chipman’s Point, which had come from the Great Lakes, traveled to Montreal and Quebec to visit with Canadian cousins, eventually traveled to Florida. Winters were spent in Florida, first in Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove and then in an apartment in Coral Gables on the Riviera Golf Course. In Florida, Priscilla joined the Miami League of Women Voters, started a Professional Women’s Group, and was a member of the Coral Gables Garden Club, for which she wrote very entertaining plays. Plays were written, cast and directed: Nature Inspires the Seven Lively Arts, 1997, and in 1999 a Re-enactment of the 1924 First Planning Meeting. Actresses wore historical costumes and used 1924 music. Verses were created in 2001 for the 75th Anniversary of the Coral Gables Garden Club, and for the 104th Anniversary of the National League of American Pen Women at the State Meeting in Basin Harbor, Vermont. Priscilla moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2003 for her winter residence, to be close to her son, grandchildren and then daughter and son-in-law. In Chapel Hill, Priscilla was a member of a wonderful PEO group and a member of the very active Chapel Hill Garden Club. Priscilla was 96 when she died in the Rutland Regional Medical Center on Sept. 6, 2018, and she was buried Saturday, Sept. 8, in the Evergreen Cemetery in Pittsford, beside her beloved husband, Walter. Fortunately, she had spent a lovely summer with her children, grandchildren, great-granddaughter, relatives and Vermont friends. Her graveside service included poems written by Priscilla and songs sung by Thomson relatives. Also present were her children Jennifer, Lillian and Nathan and her grandchildren Jeffrey and Katie with husband Gavin Thamm and great-granddaughter Audrey. A memorial service for Priscilla is planned for 2019 at the Pittsford Congregational Church and at the family home in North Chittenden. Memorial gifts should be sent to the Pittsford Congregational Church, Pittsford, Vermont. Priscilla was predeceased by husband, Walter Neale Jackson, M.Div.; brother Alan Thomson, M.Div., STD; and sister Marjorie Thomson Saffell. She is survived by brother George Thomson, Ph.D., with wife Jane Seely Thomson, and Alan’s wife, Jane Standifer Thomson; also surviving are her three children Jennifer Agnes Jackson Runquist, Ph.D., with husband Alfonse W. Runquist, Ph.D., daughter Lillian Avis Jackson, M.S.W., M.P.A., son Nathan Oscar Jackson, M.D.; grandchildren Katherine Ann Jackson, D.V.M., married to Gavin Thamm, and Jeffrey Neale Jackson, M.A., J.D., married to Marisa Bell Jackson; great-grandchildren include Owen Nathan Jackson, Audrey Jackson Thamm, Haden Turnage and Avery Bell Jackson. Priscilla was very fond of her nieces and nephews and their children: brother Alan’s children nephew Geoffrey Thomson, nephew Martin Thomson married to Katherine Charette, J.D., children Evan and Abigail, nephew David Thomson married to Jean Gogarty with children Sarah and Charlie; brother George’s children nieces Barbara Thomson and Hilary Thomson; and sister Marjorie’s children niece Laura Saffell Barry with daughter Amanda married to William D. Dowdell and son Hudson Lee, and Laura’s son Geoffrey, M.B.A., nephew Tim Saffell with wife Deena and daughter Amber, and niece Julie Saffell Sibley married to Mike Sibley, son Benjamin. Nieces and nephews on the Walter Jackson side include: niece Martha Keedy Hoffman, M.S.W., married to Lee Hoffman, M.D., with children Andrew, M.P.A., married to Jill Hoffman and with son Benjamin, and daughter Katie Hoffman, J.D., married to Jay Rule with daughters Isabella and Tessa, nephew John Keedy, M.A., Ph.D., with daughter Emily Keedy, M.A.; and nephew Dan Keedy; niece Nancy Jackson Crawley, M.J., married to Mike Crawley with son Joseph, wife Kaitlin, and son Maxwell; niece Jo Jackson, M.S., M.D., with son Cody Moore; nephew Peter Jackson, MS, J.D., married to Ruth Bartman; niece Liz Jackson married to John Biel, Ph.D., with daughters Marjorie, working on a M.P.H. and Genevive. Also close to Priscilla was her cousin, Avis Thomson Schmul, (M.A.) and her daughter, Carol Stanley M.A.C.E., M.S.W., married to Bill Stanley, M.Div., D.Min., M.A.C.E., with sons Benjamin and Chris; and her cousin, Carol Thomson King’s children, son Stephen King married to Joan, M.S., with daughter Janna Patricia King, daughter Christine King Jenkins married to Wallace with son Peter Robert, M.S., married to Amanda Spector, D.V.M., and son Perry King married to Susan Gilbert with son David Andrew and daughter Sarah Elizabeth, studying for a Ph.D.

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