Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Friends of John Jackson (MSB `03) dedicated this sailboat in his honor after a memorial service Saturday.

Family and friends of John Jackson (MSB ’03) gathered for a memorial Mass in Dahlgren Chapel on Saturday. Jackson died last June, at the age of 22, after a deck collapsed at a party he attended in Chicago.

Those in attendance came not only from the Georgetown community but from all over the country, filling the chapel and forcing many to stand in the back. Jackson’s father, Robert, mother, Linda and two sisters, Lisa and Lindsey, attended the service and issued a statement saying that they were “very grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the many friends and others who join them in mourning the tragic loss of their wonderful son, John.”

During the mass, the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., spoke about the many stories he received about Jackson since his death.

“The e-mails came in the hundreds since the summer . they told the stories of a person who would seize the day. It was also the story about giving life to others through kindness and love,” he said.

After the Mass, three of Jackson’s friends gave emotional remembrance speeches that all emphasized Jackson’s zest for life and commitment to others. Niles Yaeger, Jackson’s high school friend from Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Mo, began with a bit of humor. Yaeger told the story of how after one night when he had had too much to drink and became ill Jackson still told him that he looked great and that the night would be fine. He continued on about their adventures together, recalling the time they took Jackson’s sister Lisa’s car out for a drive at the age of 15.

Yaeger said that when he first began at a new middle school, “It was John who reached out to the new student and welcomed him with open arms despite what others thought.” In a closing filled with tears, Yaeger said “Thank you John for teaching me to never take anything for granted.”

Fellow Georgetown classmate, Kate Potts (COL ’03), spoke about first meeting Jackson and how “he had the charisma and the people skills of the century.” She explained how her family came to know Jackson after he spent time at their house on Long Island. During one of these visits, he bid on a six-foot teddy bear at a charity event. Always making sure that everyone around him was happy, he gave his prize to a child in the corner who clearly had wanted it.

“Most of all Jackson loved to laugh and have a good time,” she said.

Chris Callahan (COL ’04) advised those in attendance to live life to its fullest, including laughing a little longer, smiling a little longer and talking a little longer – all things that Jackson would do.

After the Mass there was a dedication of a Georgetown sailboat in Jackson’s honor.

Georgetown’s yearly regatta will be renamed the John Jackson Memorial Regatta in order to honor the former teammate who sailed his freshman and sophomore years.

Jackson graduated in May with a business degree and had begun work in the research department of a prominent Chicago real estate firm, Draper and Kramer. Jackson and 12 others died on June 27 when a third story deck collapsed, killing people on the two floors below. Funeral services were held for Jackson on July 3 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, Mo.

In addition, a scholarship fund has been set up in Jackson’s name. The idea originated when family and friends began sending money to Georgetown in Jackson’s memory. Approximately $2,000-$3,000 has already been collected, and the Jackson family is working with Jeanne Fisher-Thompson, director of development programs for alumni and university relations, to ensure further success.

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