By Dianne Sudbrock
On Wednesday, March 3rd, friends of Jim Jackman paid tribute to him and celebrated his 74th birthday with a parade past his house. Over 100 vehicles and probably at least 150 people participated – driving by in cars, pickups, UTVs, and about 15 dump trucks.
Plus, there were at least four small planes that flew over multiple times, tipping their wings in tribute. Jim is a retired airline pilot and has several friends who are pilots. He is also an experienced horseman, and in fact, while he was enjoying the drive-by parade here, a group of friends in Arizona held a horse-riding parade in his honor which they later posted on Facebook. There was also a drone in the air recording the drive-by event.
Jim and his wife, Sharon, have lived in the area for 36 years. They are active members of St. John’s UCC – Cappeln and have forged many deep friendships in the community. Jim was diagnosed with ALS in June 2019 and is confined to a wheelchair. The parade was an amazing tribute to a man that has been a wonderful friend to many, as well as a tribute to the character of this community. Fr. Tom said it best in his letter below.
Dear friends & neighbors,
I am so thankful to God to be part of this community. Participating in the parade to celebrate the birthday of Jim Jackman was one the high points in recent years of genuine love and appreciation for a dear member of our community. I have known Jim & Sharon since the beginning on my appointment to Immaculate Heart in 2012
I had the opportunity to meet Jim at the Smoke Haus on a Saturday morning when I ventured over there for coffee and morning fellowship. Since then I have had the opportunity to know him and Sharon in my visits to St. John's, my meanderings around the community and at numerous social occasions that would bring us together.
I am so profoundly blessed by God with all the good He has poured into my lap with the people I am so blessed to know and love. Jim is one of the most gracious people I have had the opportunity to meet and know. There is always a gentlemen quality to Jim when you chat with him. His love of life is evident and his appreciation for people and their experiences is evident when you spend time with him.
To see so many people turning out for his birthday to support him and Sharon in the most recent chapter of their life is immensely consoling. It shows an appreciation for the gift that Jim and Sharon are to our greater New Melle family. It also shows a real compassion for them by so many in our area. I pray for them every day that they will know the peace of God, the grace of Christ and the real love of neighbors that makes our lives all the more meaningful. As Tiny Tim said at the end of A Christmas Carol: "God bless us, everyone!"
Fr. Tom Miller
Thank You from the Jackman Family
Jim Jackman & his entire family would like to sincerely thank this wonderful community of New Melle & nearby vicinities for the most awesome drive-by & fly-by birthday parade on March 3 that we have or ever will see!! Your display of thoughtfulness & love was so appreciated & enjoyed by all of us - especially Jim! It was a happy day for him. He misses being out and about and seeing everyone. Thank you very much!!