I must say this is my favorite Mason County Personality. Why would I choose one over many others? You see I live with him and he has captured my heart with his winning ways. It’s not hard to play favorite with one who always has the coffee brewed and waiting when you choose to arise from the bed. I guess he has learned that I function better after the first cup.
Dennie Ray Jackson was born September 17, 1937, a few minutes after his twin sister, Donnie Fay, to parents Frank and Ruby Jackson in Junction, Texas.
His family consists of wife, Emma Gene; daughter, Rebekah Jean Maaz and husband, Lee; step-children, Joyce Masters and husband, Charlie; Margie Wilson and husband, David and Tim Dockal and wife, Helen. There are nine grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren with four more to arrive in 2013. There are twin boys due in June, the first twins in the family. Another boy in August and a baby girl the end of September. The Christmas list is growing. It is an exciting time in our family in many ways this year.
Dennie has four sisters, Modene Bruns of Junction, Frankie Leamons of Tow, Donnie Benner of Windham, New Hampshire and Oma Murphy, who is deceased and two brothers, Vernon Jackson of Tow and James Jackson, who is deceased.
Dennie grew up in Junction enjoying his childhood. He attended school and graduated high school there. He participated in sports, football and track. He worked all through high school at Barker’s Grocery owned by J. L. Baugh who cooperated with Dennie during sports time.
As a senior in high school Dennie signed up for the Army Reserve to begin the following June when he became 18. His training was at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He still remembers the heat. The rest of his six months was at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. He was honorably discharged when he became a full-time minister.
He began college at San Angelo Jr. College to study Journalism when a bleeding peptic ulcer cut short his college days at the age of 21.
He was transported to Brooks General Hospital. During this time of illness, he received the call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In his home church at Junction, he was mentored by Pastor B.E. Baker and wife, Bertha. The church was having services each night except Monday. Dennie never knew until he walked in the church door whether he would be asked to minister or not. He said, “That made for a lot of studying and much prayer time.” This was for a year. He did not attend seminary but felt that year prepared him to begin his ministry.
Other churches in the area began to ask him to have revival meetings. He was busy and enjoyed the opportunity of seeing lives changed by Jesus and the sharing of the Word. He had planned on continuing the Evangelistic ministry. God had other plans.
He was asked to come to Mason Gospel for a revival. After being asked to conduct two more meetings, he was asked to become the pastor. This was in 1962. The pastors were getting older and wanted to retire. He agreed to become interim pastor until the deacons found someone else.
He served in this capacity for four months when he knew he was where God wanted him to be. He became full-time pastor in January of 1963. He will tell you, “I’ve never looked back. I love our church.”
In this period of time he has served many fourth generation families at Mason Gospel. The Chester and Ethel Airheart family is now in a sixth generation. This is quite a honor for a pastor.
There have been many weddings, funerals, baby dedications, baptisms, time of illnesses, church meals, times of laughter and tears, sports events, school activities and social events that he has been privileged to be a part of.
The church under Dennie’s guidance has had different projects. To mention some: a 20 acre church garden where produce was grown and given away for 17 years; The House of Praise, a half-way home to help people with a hand up; a work force known as God’s Acres Enterprise where young men were taught a trade; a clothing ministry to help support local residents and Faith Mission in Del Rio,Texas; purchasing a greyhound bus to transport Mason Gospel Church on mission and fellowship trips and to use to help others churches also and a Grandparents Thank You Day for 29 years.
The Bible studies, prayer meetings, revivals and sermons were always at the head of the list and top priority for his days.
When Dennie came to Mason his first greeter from the community was Brother Ervin Jordan, pastor of Art Methodist Church. He invited Dennie to come to the Mason County Ministerial Alliance meeting. He attended and became a member. He has served as president, vice-president, and secretary at different times through the years. He said, “Now the younger ones can take over and they do a great job. The Ministerial Alliance is a great asset to the community of Mason.” So, that also makes him a 50- year member of the Alliance.
As his wife, I have watched him in his role as a minister. He has always given of himself when a need arose. I’ve said when a call came someone was on the way to the hospital, he often got there nearly by the time the ambulance did. I’ve watched him full of compassion as he comforted the families when a family member has passed. I’ve seen the joy in his eyes as he baptized someone. Recently he experienced that with a great granddaughter, Madison Anderson. I’ve seen his happiness in being a part of a new family on their wedding day as they began their journey of life together. I’ve seen tears of love fall from his eyes as he prayed the prayer of dedication for a new-born baby in the family.
In the midst of all the church activity his family has had an equal share of love and attention. Family is important. He believes the children who have strong established parents are
blessed as they begin their journey of life. Basic foundation truths are not forgotten.
It has indeed been a honor to have been in a place long enough to see the generations come and go. Our church is also like family to us. We get excited over the new baby, the first tooth, the first steps, the first date and we cannot leave out the first state win in football for our players, Damien and Darron DelToro.
The greatest joy and appreciation is to see someone receive Jesus into their heart and dedicate their life to Him as their Saviour. Thereby, we can help make our world a better place.
Dennie has never wanted attention for himself, but I believe after 50 years in one church deserves a bit of attention. He with his trust and faith in Jesus Christ must be doing something right.
Elsewhere in this paper you will see an invitation to come by the Richard P. Eckert Civic Cen ter and wish him well on June 1. I know this would bless his heart.