Richard “Richie” Daniel Jackson, 43, passed away surrounded by his family and loved ones following unexpected health complications.
Richie was born in Montclair, California, in 1979. He professed his faith in Jesus as his Savior and was baptized at Colton Community Church, Colton, California, in 1990. He graduated from Eisenhower Sr. High School in Rialto, California, in 1997.
He is survived by his wife, Jenessa Carol Smith, his father, Richard Jackson and step-mother Donna Jackson, his mother, Vickie Gagnon, his siblings Joy and Justin Brennan, Tommy and Erin Jackson, Sarah and Keith Samborski, his nieces Adalyn and Emma Brennan, Evelyn Samborski, and the Gagnon, Smith, and Holdaway families who loved Richie as their own. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Elenore and Raymond Jackson, Ruby Frala, and step-father Pat Gagnon.
Richie was a miracle baby to his adoring parents. They spent years waiting for Richie, and when their hope was dwindling, Richie made his surprise arrival. Though the journey to his birth was difficult, Richie arrived in this world through prayer and the sheer force of love.
Growing up with his loving family, he developed a lifelong passion for his faith and curiosity for technology, science, and space. The man Richie became is a testament to the beautiful home and family with which Richie was blessed. Each family member instilled a piece of themselves in him, and he was an incredible person for it.
He treasured his youth ministry memories and spoke of his worship bandmates with great fondness. A bond he wouldn’t trade for anything. “You’re the heartbeat, Chris” is a phrase Richie would use almost daily.
Richie’s kindness, gentle nature, sharp wit, humor, loyalty, and openness allowed him to make countless friends in his early childhood and throughout life. Most remained his friend, even if from a distance. Richie only knew how to make friends. He did not know how to lose them. As a result, he lived a life with a large circle of caring friends, each of whom would hold their place in his heart.
Twenty years ago, Kevin Shurtleff, Richie’s best friend, would come into his life. Kevin’s kind offer to share rides to work with Richie would create a meaningful and lifelong friendship. Kevin would later stand at Richie’s side as the best man at his wedding.
His strong work ethic and endless capacity for learning led to a successful career during which he mentored countless coworkers and friends.
Richie also shared his love through his passion for cooking. Little would bring more joy to Richie than someone enjoying the food he made for them or watching their face turn red as they tried his famous extra spicy salsa.
“The connection I make with the people I meet is the very most profound and meaningful contribution I have to offer.” – Richie Jackson.
Richie was meant to be a husband. He had so much love to give and could not wait to find his person. The love between Jenessa and Richie was immediate. Richie caught Jenessa’s eye while he was playing guitar and singing. Considering his beautiful voice and handsome face, she didn’t have a chance. They connected over their shared love of music, dogs, and sci-fi— the TV show Doctor Who, in particular, was a beloved part of the fabric of their family. There was never a question they would spend their life together. Richie spent his nine years of marriage in joy, laughter, and love. His devotion was so deeply ingrained that Jenessa felt she was the only woman to exist in Richie’s mind. He celebrated Jenessa’s mind and soul. They spent countless nights discussing the world and philosophy. The joy these conversations brought is indescribable. The love he shared is a once-in-a-lifetime and a transcending love that can not be parted or dimmed. Jenessa is eternally grateful to have experienced it. Richie had more love to give still and doted upon his beloved pets, Brandy, Luna, and Remi.
“…you are loved. By so many, and so much. And by no one more than me.” – Steven Moffat, Doctor Who
Although Richie has moved forward on his journey, we are comforted in the knowledge that Richie is with his Creator and will welcome us as we continue our journeys. As for our journey on this earth, we will honor Richie by playing our music too loud, laughing at/making corny puns, and loving with our whole hearts.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“How great is it that our Creator, the one who knows us better than we know ourselves, has a plan, and it is good?” – Richie Jackson.