Cleon Earl Jackson Would be 100 Today

My grandfather Cleon Earl Jackson was born to Robert Earl Jackson and Sarah (Judd) Jackson April 22, 1915 in Fredonia, Cleon Earl JacksonArizona. I write this from the nearby town of Hurricane, Utah. Cleon Jackson would marry Mildred Carpenter in 1939 in Kanab, Utah and eventually settle in the nearby town of Glendale, Utah. He worked at a number of trades but I always knew him as a heavy equipment (Caterpillar) operator. I don’t know  when he became a Caterpillar operator (or “cat skinner”, as it is sometimes called), but his enlistment papers in 1945 list heavy equipment operator as his occupation. You can see his road cuts all over southern Utah. I don’t quite have the eye, but my mother and her family can spot them instantly. Of course, his work was not limited to highway construction. According to family tradition (and someday I will have to document this) he pulled the first cable over Glen Canyon Dam.

He spent a lot of time outdoors and had an amazing eye. I still remember a time when my sister and I were in a pickup truck with him (heading for an area known as “the bench”) when he turned the truck around and stopped to show us a tarantula crossing the road. He had many skills, not the least of which was that he spoke fluent Navajo. That is one of the many things I would have loved to have heard more about, but it’s not something he talked about much, at least with us. One thing I always admired about him is that he would hunt to feed his family. I don’t remember him as being a typical sportsman, but someone who knew how to live off the land. He loved to read. I’m told he’d read the Old Testament for pleasure and laugh at many of the stories (which, let’s be honest can be funny at times). To me, that’s a great example of how to take scripture seriously, both as literature and a religious text. There is so much that we could learn from that example.

Unfortunately, he died fairly young, February 7, 1981. I miss him.

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