My Brother's Keeper of Greater Richmond

"Encouraging Brothers Through the Storms of Life"

May 2014

Journey to Manhood

Lynwood Jackson, Jr, Father & Retired

by Monica Haynes

There is a peace, a quiet contentedness about Lynwood W. Jackson, Jr.

But it’s not hard to figure out why?

The 65-year-old retiree has been married for 29 years to the love of his life, Felecia, and he’s the father of two fine sons, Lynwood III, 26 and Michael, 21. He has a church that he loves and a comfortable home with a deck, where he often sits and talks with his brother; and like many, he enjoys family vacations to Florida.

“I like going to church that’s my main passion,” said Jackson, who is sometimes at church four to five days a week.

Three decades ago, however, Jackson wasn’t quite sure his life would take such a blissful turn. A failed marriage had soured him on matrimony. Ten years of bachelorhood had him weary of the dating scene. Workwise, Jackson had enjoyed steady employment and was a supervisor in the electrical section of the auto mechanics department at Sears before becoming a manager in shipping and receiving. But at 36, he had no children and he had no wife.

One day while at work, an attractive, young woman caught his eye. Jackson thought, perhaps, she was too young. A co-worker assured him that the young lady was over 18. “I asked her out and we dated,” Jackson recalled. “After three months, I asked her to marry me.” Jackson explained that there was a difference between Felecia and other women he’d dated. “She was satisfied with me cooking and watching movies,” he said. “And Friday night pizza,” his wife chimed in. Three years after the couple wed, Jackson, who thought maybe he could not have children, became a first-time dad at the age of 39. “All those years I thought I couldn’t have children,” he said. “Then I married her and we were married three years (before conceiving).”

He even explained to his wife that he thought children might be out of the question. “To be honest, I came to the conclusion that I had nieces and nephews,” Felecia Jackson explained, stating that she would be content with being an aunt. “When the doctor told me I was pregnant with little Lynwood, I was in shock for a week,” she said. “I think he was more excited than I was,” she said, referring to her husband.

When she was five months pregnant, the doctor put her on bed rest. Still, her son was born five weeks premature via C-Section after 28 hours of labor. Even though, his Apgar score was a perfect 10, he did develop some learning disabilities. Doctors gave his parents a less-than-stellar prognosis. However, the Jacksons said they did not believe the dire predictions. Both devoted themselves to their son’s development and education with Felecia staying home to raise Lynwood and Michael, who came along, five years later.

“They had classes they wanted to put [Lynwood III] in, we knew he didn’t have that mentality.” Jackson explained. They knew that their son was more advanced than the children they’d seen in the schools where some wanted to place him. “One of the reasons I stayed home was so I could be the teacher, per se,” Felecia Jackson said. When she wasn’t teaching her son at home, she would spend time at school making sure he was getting what he needed. She commends her husband for working two jobs so she could stay home with their boys. “Basically, in one word, he’s wonderful,” she said of her husband. “He takes care of the home. He takes care of me. . . He was the person I was looking for all my life.”

Jackson credits a stringent upbringing by his parents. “They were on us like white on rice,” said Jackson, the oldest of four children. “Yeah, they were real strict, I’m glad now that they were.”

Born in the Churchill section of Richmond, Jackson recalls being a shy, withdrawn kid. “My father got me interested in sports and that kind of brought me out. I got more assertive.” After graduating from Maggie L. Walker High School in 1968, he went to college for a year before dropping out and working full-time. After various jobs, Jackson returned to school to study auto mechanics. He spent seven years in the auto mechanics department at Sears and 18 years in shipping and receiving. When Sears downsized, Jackson spent another 16 years working at the Beaumont Juvenile Correction Center.

While brought up in the church, he had not been a frequent church goer when he met his wife. “She was in church, I wasn’t. I was in the street, but she brought me in.” Jackson said he was ready to recommit to a more Christian lifestyle anyway, having sung in the church choir and served as an usher during his youth. However, it took their son, Lynwood III, to bring them to their current church home, New Canaan International Church.

Located only a few blocks away from home; Lynwood III, started attending New Canaan about five years ago. After a year, his parents began coming since it was closer than Felecia’s home church, which was an hour away. “The Lord put him there to bring us there,” Jackson said.

Now, every Sunday and several days during the week, Jackson, his sons and wife can be found at New Canaan. One of those other days is Tuesday, when Jackson attends a Fatherhood workshop with his sons, where his pride and diligence as a father are evident. Sometimes, he brings other young men from his neighborhood to the workshop, as well, in his capacity as a kind of “community dad”.

It’s been a blessing,” he said regarding fatherhood. “My proudest moment is seeing my sons finish school and trying to be self-sufficient.” Jackson said being a father made him appreciate the sacrifices his father made to raise him and his siblings. “I’m a little more lenient. I’m not as strict, but I don’t take any junk either.”