CHICAGO — Rosemary Robinson Jackson, a Chicago educator, businesswoman and community leader, died Feb. 7 after a bout with cancer, her family announced Saturday. She was 71.
Born Dec. 22, 1946 on Chicago’s West Side, Jackson’s first love and lifelong passion was education. She received her doctorate’s from Loyola University and M.A. degrees from National College of Education and DePaul University. She touched countless lives, beginning her career as an English teacher at her alma mater, John Marshall High School. She went on to teach at Hyde Park High School, Kennedy King College, and DePaul University.
Jackson served as vice president of Educational Media and Distance Learning at the City Colleges of Chicago, Kennedy-King from 2007 to 2010. Her dissertation, “The Social Construction of Linguistic Reality: A Case Study Exploring the Relationships among Poverty, Race, and Remediation in an Urban Community College,” was formulated from her life’s work helping young students in Chicago explore their educational possibilities.
Jackson was the vice chairman and chief administrative officer at Chicago-based Central City Productions, the business she helped develop with her lifelong partner and husband Don Jackson, the company founder, chairman and CEO. Central City Productions is best known for producing the Stellar Awards. She leveraged her passion for education through her involvement as Research Director and Associate Producer of Black College Quiz and Hispanic College Quiz, two nationally syndicated television programs developed by Central City Productions.
Beyond her love for education, Jackson remained active in her local community and was committed to public service through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for which she chaired several committees during her 50-year tenure as an active member. This love for the sorority is shared by her daughter Rhonda, who is an active member today.
In celebration of her life and in honor of her beloved Delta Sigma Theta, all are asked to wear red at her homegoing service, which will be held in Chicago at Christ Universal Temple, 11901 S. Ashland Avenue, on Friday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.
Her professional memberships included the National Council of Teachers of English, National Association for Developmental Education, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (SAALH) and Phi Beta Kappa.
An avid sports fan, Jackson loved tennis, basketball, baseball and football. She was also a devotee of the arts and all types of dancing including Bopping, Stepping and Line Dancing.
She is survived by Don, her husband of 52 years; daughter Rhonda Jackson Sams (Ray) and son Baba Dainja; her mother, Rosalie Gray; grandchildren Donovan, Dain and Riley Rose; siblings Carrie Murphy, Erma Gray Davis (Dan) and Calvin Gray (Ruth); and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to:
The Dr. Rosemary R. Jackson Scholarship Fund
c/o The Chicago Alumni Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
P.O. Box 8235
Chicago, IL 60680