VERGENNES - A man of endurance and eloquent character, Ralph J. Jackman, 85, passed away peacefully Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Jackman was born on July 4, 1924, a twin son born to Glenn and Ila (Sweet) Jackman in Bristol, Vt. He attended Saint Michael's College until he was called to serve his country in the European Theater where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After returning home he continued to serve in the Army Reserves from 1946-1972. In 1946 he partnered with his brother, Charles, to begin their successful careers operating Jackman Fuels, Inc.
Jackman retired from the fuel business in 1989. Ralph married his high school sweetheart Myrle (Jacobs) Jackman on July 29, 1946. He is survived by his wife, Myrle; his five daughters: Lynn (Michael) Jackson-Donnelly, Catherine Desjadon, Christine (P. Michael) Collette, Susan (Gregory) Burdick, Carleen (William) Telgen and his daughter by heart, Deborah Senesac; twelve grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and
twelve great grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters-in law, Elaine Bordeaux, Carol Burbank and brother in law, Burton Jacobs as well as several nieces and nephews. In addition, he leaves his extended family, the sons and daughters of the Vergennes Fire Department. He was predeceased by an infant son, Mark Stewart and a son-in-law, Ronald Desjadon; as well as his twin brother, Fred, his brothers, Charles, Francis and Glenn, Jr. He joined the Vergennes Fire Department in 1947, became Chief in 1954 and served as Chief until Nov., 2009.
Jackman's proudest accomplishments include building a new fire station, the department being the first in the State to have a hose reel truck, use of a four inch hose and establishing a cadet program. The department took a major step forward with the purchase of two new trucks in 1994 and three new trucks to the department this past year. To his merit, he has three career firefighter grandsons and five grandsons serving in volunteer departments.
Testimony to his leadership are the positions he has held and the honors he has received; two-time past president of the Vermont State Firefighters Assoc, past president and lifetime member of the Addison County Firefighters Assoc, the Robert B. King Fire Chief of the Year and the Francis J. Shorkey Fire Chief of the Year. Beyond his service as a firefighter and desiring to serve further, he was also a member of the American Legion Post 14, the Addison County Eagles, a charter member of the Vergennes Rotary for 56 years; an organizer for Meals on Wheels; and an active servant to Saint Peter's Catholic Church, serving in many capacities. In recognition of his many years of service to his community and his Fire Department his achievements were read into the Congressional Record in June, 2008 by Congressman Bernie Sanders. His many achievements garnered during his lifetime are too numerous to mention. Visiting hours were held Jan. 5 at the Vergennes Fire Station.
A mass of Christian burial was celebrated at Saint Peter's Catholic Church Jan. 6 with interment at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Bristol.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to Saint Peter's Restoration Fund, 85 South Maple Street, Vergennes or the Stevens Hose Company, P.O. Box 35, Vergennes, Vt. 05491.