I was so blessed to know Loretta and Don Jackson, family picture above, who shined the light of JESUS so brightly in my hometown of Windom, Minnesota and surrounding area! I will never forget the night at the Windom Revival several years ago when Loretta spoke! She preached the love of JESUS! Her hubby, Don was the same way! His smile was one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen! It was the smile of JESUS! Loretta and Don are missed in Windom, they led many to JESUS! We need more Loretta’s and Don’s in this world! Thankfully their children are passing on the LIGHT OF JESUS!
Are you a true evangelist?
My Dear brother in Christ Rodney Byam wrote the following tribute. So blessed to have Rod as a best friend forever, so blessed he took part in the Windom Revival’s, so blessed by his service to Windom as a Police Officer, Firefighter, EMT and City Councilor. There are many other things Rod has done for many, all with the heart of JESUS! I am blessed that Rod’s Dad, Corky was best friends with my Dad!
At 4ft 10 inches tall, Loretta seems to just blend in everywhere, that is until she sees someone she doesn’t know or a child. Loretta will stop and say well “how are you today” in a voice that captures the attention of any child, and she will say, “I love your dress, did your mommy make it or that’s my favorite color” or I am so glad to see you today, are you new to Windom.” Loretta exudes friendship with her smile and body language.
I first met Loretta in 1978 at a Emergency care conference in Minneapolis that Her husband, Don and I were attending as new EMT’s, we brought our wives along and she and my wife Deb bonded immediately and remained a best friend until her passing this past week. Loretta had many close friends as one could imagine and for years did painting and wallpapering in homes in the area as a business and had her friends as helpers. Loretta was very active in the church in AWANA program and as Deaconess, heading committees to involve other members in activities.
Loretta was a true evangelist, always inviting people to church and praying with them, that’s how Deb and I became involved with the Baptist church, We found comfort there with people like Loretta Jackson and because Deb is claustrophobic, we always sat in the front and Loretta usually sat with us. Many times, when Deb was a helper in the nursery I would sit next to Loretta, I put my arm around her and told her she was my church wife, she just squeezed my hand and smiled.
We have a mentally disabled daughter, and Deb has severe restless legs often sleeping barely two ours a night and I was busy with work and being a Fireman and EMT, many times Deb would call Loretta and they would talk on the phone, or She would come over to just talk in person, helping Deb to cope, as we lived barely a block away. Loretta could be seen in community riding her bike and many times Deb would join her as they perused the neighborhood, talking and stopping to talk to others along the way, Loretta never gave up spreading the word of Jesus along the way.
In 2006 I did a photographic project on my own called common heroes, people in our community that had an influence on me throughout my life, people whom I admired, many people had already passed away, so I knew it was time to say to those still living thank you and I photographed them usually in my studio and had the exhibit at the historical center in Windom. Loretta and Don Jackson were two of those people. Those whom I photographed used those portraits at their own funerals since, which to me was very satisfying.
As an example of Loretta’s humbleness, Pam Lindemann and Loretta, whom were lifelong friends were at an elderly ladies home wallpapering and she served Blueberry Crumbles with coffee, the lady had left the room and Loretta did not want to offend her because she detested Blueberry, so as the window was open she threw it outside forgetting there was a screen on the window, while she was trying to clean the blueberry off the screen the woman returned and Loretta hastily told her she stood up to move some papers and the crumble had hit the screen, another time they were at a clients home painting and she served carrot cake Pam bit into the cake and Loretta was cutting into her piece and ants were coming out she looked up at Pam, she had ants crawling around her mouth, Loretta told her which she then wiped them off her face, Loretta took both pieces back to the kitchen and apologized to the lady pointing out the ants, the woman never knew that they had almost eaten it. Loretta Jackson made friends no matter where she went and was a constant companion especially to her Niece Gloria who was her closest living relative and visited often. Don Jackson her husband was an exceptional individual himself had already passed away from cancer and kept buy in his later years active in the local baseball association. Loretta has had cancer for a couple of years and had gone through chemotherapy, and the cancer returned invading every part of her body. While she suffered greatly, she didn’t want to burden her friends with it. Many of us would agree the god has a special place in heaven for Loretta.
We all know that a church is not a building but, the individuals in the building that build relationships together, one could say the Loretta Jackson herself was a church that people flocked to.
I wrote this on Nov. 23rd of 2020 after hearing about the passing of Loretta’s hubby Don:
Last night I wrote this when found out that Dear Freind Don Jackson passed away. I will write more about Don below….this was what God showed me last night. Don and that big smile pictured the far left at the ballpark, which I think is Fenway from looking at the scoreboard in the background. Saying Don loved baseball is an understatement, but he loved the Lord and his family much more. I will have to get more details on this photo from Don’s son Lance.
I just got the news that my friend Don Jackson passed away. Don loved Jesus and served the people of Windom, Minnesota in so many ways! I got to see him about each time I came back to do Revival Services! What a smile! I first met Don when he worked for the gas company and when he was on the Fire Department with my Dad. Don later became Chief! He also was one of the main caretakers of Baseball and The ball field in Windom. Don’s life is a testimony of how to serve and do it with a big smile! Don and his lovely wife Loretta are excellent examples for all of us on how to live for Jesus and not ourselves. So thankful that one year Loretta gave her testimony at the Windom Revival.
As I slept last night God showed me that even thou I have not lived in Windom since 1978, I still love it so very much. You see people like Don helped build my life in Jesus. I was blessed growing up in a town that had so many role models. People that were so very unselfish. I have a long list of folks to be grateful for. If you know me at all, I always say Windom was where my Christian foundation was built. The Lord showed me that this is what is missing in America, so many children growing up to do have many role models at all. Can you beleive that I still picture in my mind, the knock at our door with Don Jackson saying out loud, “gas company” and I would meet him at the steps and he would give me that big smile. That has stuck in my mind all these years. I would see Don once in awhile when I would go back to Windom over the years and then when I started to do Revivals in Windom and Don and Loretta came to a couple. One year they let Shari Johnson with ‘Team Jesus’ stay at their home during the Windom Revival, as she traveled all the way from West Virginia to speak and provide music for us. I really got to know Loretta during that time. Don loved the time when Nita Killebrew came to Windom to speak, Mile Fisher arranged a luncheon in honor Nita and Don got to come and hear some stories about Harmon Killebrew. He loved it! I loved it! Talking baseball! Amen! The amount of hours and effort Don and Loretta put into the Island Park Baseball field is a gift from heaven, that in itself, is a huge testimony in what serving is all about. I am sure the kids put in hours also! The ball field is one of the best in the Country! Field of Dreams has nothing on Windom!
Don and Loretta are such a testimony to us all what a servant of Jesus Christ is all about. The great evangelist Smith Wigglesworth once said, “When people look at me I want them to see JESUS not Wiggleswoth.” That is in my heart, soul and mind….when I see them both. As you know, we live in such a selfish and divided world, folks like Don and Loretta served all, not for gain, but for JESUS! I am so very super blessed to have grown up in Windom and have all the role models I have had in my life.
The challenge for us all here is to live for JESUS, not ourselves, to love and help each other, and not put labels on people. We are to be servants of our Lord and all and I mean all people.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.” Ephesians 3:7
My Dad, Wally Moede and Don served on the Windom Fire Department together. I also got to know Don in that setting. I think the two biggest smiles God ever created were that of my Dad’s and Don’s!
The life of Don preaches Jesus to us all, may our lives do the same. We love you Loretta and family, our prayers for peace and comfort for you all continue on.
This is from the writings of Billy Graham…….
The Bible reminds us that our days are as grass (Psalm 103:15). They are filled with tiny golden minutes with eternity in them. We are exhorted to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). As C. T. Studd, the famous Cambridge cricketer wrote while still a student at Cambridge: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Life is a glorious opportunity if it is used to condition us for eternity. If we fail in this, though we succeed in everything else, our life will have been a failure. There is no escape for the man who squanders his opportunity to prepare to meet God.
Our lives are immortal. God made man different from the other creatures. He made him in His own image, a living soul. When this body dies and our earthly existence is terminated, the soul or spirit lives on forever. One hundred years from this day you will be more alive than you are at this moment. The Bible teaches that life does not end at the cemetery. There is a future life with God for those who put their trust in His Son, Jesus Christ. There is also a future hell of separation from God toward which all are going who have refused, rejected, or neglected to receive His Son, Jesus Christ.