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Eleanor Manuel Jackson

October 17, 1933 ~ January 30, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Eleanor Jackson Obituary

Mrs. Eleanor (Ele) Manuel Jackson, 90, of Gainesville, passed away Tuesday, January 30, 2024, after a brief illness.

Born in Austin, TX on October 17, 1933, she was the daughter of the late Herschel Thurman and Dorothy Broad Manuel. After graduation from Austin High School, she ventured off to Ohio Wesleyan University where her uncle Bill was a Chemistry professor.  An A-student throughout her education, Eleanor continued to excel at the university level.  As she loved to point out, the only class she didn’t get an A in was her uncle’s.  If further pressed, she would quietly admit to getting a B in bowling which she always explained didn’t count, as that wasn’t really considered an “academic” subject.  However, the cold Ohio winters weren’t to her liking and when her younger brother Tom Manuel chose OWU his college after her second year, she decided to head back to the warmer campus of the University of Texas where her father was a professor.  She graduated with honors and was in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, while also being a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at both schools.

After graduation, Eleanor became a high school teacher in Dallas, TX where she met her future husband, the late DeForrest Jackson, at a young singles church group.  They married in 1958, lived in Tulsa, OK for a short time, then moved to Decatur, GA just in time to welcome their first child, Drew, in 1959.  Another son, Joel, followed in 1962. A few years ago, Eleanor gave shirts to both sons that read “Mom’s Favorite” as her way of settling the age-old question that had lingered for years.

Eleanor led a busy life in Georgia with two young sons and a husband who worked for the Coca-Cola Company.  A couple of notable activities she and DeForrest were very involved with in the 1970s were the local Atlanta Mardi Gras krewe and the International Student Bureau, an organization that connected international college students in Atlanta with host families.  They served as ISB volunteer co-chairs and the family sponsored students from Vietnam, Liberia and Turkey.

Music was an important part of Eleanor’s life, starting with learning to play the piano at an early age in Austin. One summer in the 1970s, upon arriving home from a family trip to Texas, she found a gift from DeForrest as a Steinway grand piano now resided in the living room. They also had season tickets to the Atlanta Symphony for over 4 decades, even after moving to Knoxville when they shared the tickets with son, Drew and his wife, Mari-Lynn.  And they had season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera as long as it made annual visits to Atlanta.

Life with Eleanor and DeForrest was always entertaining to say the least. More than once her incredible hosting skills were put to the test as friends, family and DeForrest’s co-workers often came over for dinner and or parties.  Her cheese grits were legendary as many will attest, plus she once admitted, it was something she could whip up even with only a couple hours’ notice that DeForrest was bringing people home for dinner. Eleanor was also known as someone who knew something about just about everything. If there was a Trivial Pursuit game, you wanted her on your team; she also loved watching Jeopardy on tv as she prided herself on knowing almost every question that needed an answer and was usually faster with a response than any of the contestants. And she had an amazing talent in being able to solve almost any crossword puzzle very quickly and in pen, no less.

Eleanor loved to travel.  Annual summer visits with the family to her home state of Texas and then to the Gulf coast of Florida were always an adventure while Drew and Joel were younger.  In the days prior to the Interstate highway system, she instilled in her family the love of the “scenic” route, off the beaten path if possible.  A great international journey for her was living in Portugal for six months in the late 1980s when DeForrest received a Fulbright grant to teach graduate students at a university there. During WWII, she started a long-distance pen-pal friendship with a girl her own age in England; about 40 years later she was able to actually get over to England to visit in person. She also loved to hit the road to see friends on solo trips across the United States, continuing to do so right up until her late 70’s.  And if you ever needed an alternate route to get somewhere, whether 5 miles or 500, she could rattle of plenty of options at a moment’s notice.

One of Eleanor’s passions was sports – both as a participant and spectator.  She was a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and was present at many memorable games including seeing Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, the end of Pete Rose’s record hitting streak and Bob Horner hitting 4 home runs on her son, Drew’s, birthday.  She also immersed herself in competitive tennis, playing doubles on high level Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA) teams over a number of years while also serving as a volunteer league coordinator.

She continued playing doubles tennis when she and DeForrest moved to Knoxville, TN following his early retirement from Coca-Cola to become a professor at the University of Tennessee in the mid-1980s.  While in Knoxville, Eleanor and DeForrest became avid fans of the Lady Vols basketball team and had season tickets for many years.  She always thought it interesting that she had three college professors in the family (her father, uncle and husband) and that she ended up being a fan of two UTs – the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee – and both had orange as their primary color.

The family were early members of North Decatur Presbyterian Church when it first started, where Eleanor was on the session, then at Decatur Presbyterian and later at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian in Knoxville.

Eleanor and DeForrest moved from Knoxville to Gainesville, GA in 2012 to be closer to their immediate family. After DeForrest passed away in November 2013, Eleanor continued to live in her independent-living apartment at the Gardens of Gainesville where she had many friends during her years there.

In addition to her parents and husband, Eleanor was preceded in death by her brother, Thomas Manuel and sister, Jane McKernon.

Eleanor is survived by her immediate family which includes sons, Drew Jackson (Mari-Lynn) of Flowery Branch, Joel Jackson (Melinda) of Alpharetta; a niece who she always said was more like a daughter, Maureen Haislip (Rich) of Avondale Estates, GA; grandchildren, McKenzie Cagle (Zach), William Jackson and grandniece, Laurel Haislip.

Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA 30504 is in charge of arrangements.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Send online condolences to www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com

 

 

 

 

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