Dr. James E. Jackson
Dr. James Edwin Jackson, who delivered over 8,000 babies during the course of his career and worked tirelessly to improve healthcare services for underserved communities, passed away at home on New Year’s Eve, after a long illness, surrounded by family and close friends.
A long time physician in Oakland, Dr. Jackson was born in 1929, in Bainbridge, Georgia, the son of Jennie Mae Bigelow, and was raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Eddie Dean and Winder Jackson.
Dr. Jackson graduated valedictorian from high school at age 16, entered Morehouse College and graduated in 1950. He met and married Charlotte Thomas.
The couple had four children: Gloria Jennifer, Suzan Edwina, Stephanie Denise, and James Edwin Thomas. Though the marriage ended, James and Charlotte shared happy times with their children and grandchildren.
He served in the U.S. Navy, both as an enlisted man and later as an officer. After completing his service, he applied and was admitted to George Washington University School of Medicine and in 1959 was the first African American to graduate from the medical school.
After completing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Howard University, Dr. Jackson moved to California in 1965 to join the Arlington Medical Group where he worked in private practice for many years, serving as a guest clinical professor at UC San Francisco, as well as Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Herrick and Alta Bates Hospitals in Berkeley.
He left private practice several years after receiving a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley and at the request of the school, served as an adjunct professor teaching a class in maternal and child health.
After reading about low birth weights of infants and increased infant and maternal mortality rates in Oakland, he applied for and was appointed “interim” Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Highland Hospital in 1986. He served at Highland until his retirement, eventually becoming chair of the Maternal and Child Health Department of Alameda County Medical Center.
Dr. Jackson is survived by his wife of 26 years, Fern Jackson; 4 daughters and 2 sons – Gloria Yamato, Suzan Jackson, Stephanie Christmas, James Jackson, Adam Scott, and Alison Scott Maulana; 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Memorial Service details are pending.