Ralph Jackson Jr. ’64
Ralph E. Jackson, Jr. passed away August 21, 2022, in his hometown of Frankfort, Michigan. Ralph was born July 9, 1941, to Ralph E. and Irma Jackson Sr. in Frankfort. He had two older brothers, Robert who passed in 1976 and Lyle who passed away in 2020. He would tell you that Lyle was his best friend whom he admired and looked to as a truly great mentor. Ralph was fortunate in his love life as Peggy (Margaret) Bennett of Frankfort, his high school sweetheart agreed to become his bride and friend for life. They celebrated 60 years of marriage February 6, 2020. Peggy managed family and marriage through Ralph’s business career never losing focus on maintaining a strong bond with her children and being Ralph’s partner.
Ralph is survived by Peggy, his daughters Susan (Scott) Brazaski, Kristine ’93 (Michael ’91) Bingham and his son Steven (Pam) Jackson and six grandchildren, Amy Brazaski, Ben Brazaski, Stephanie (Jeffrey) Wheeless, Danielle Jackson, Rebecca Jackson, and Kyle Jackson.
Ralph graduated from Frankfort High School in 1959. He received a BA in Business from Hope College in 1964. He was active in high school sports and was a tackle on the Hope College football team. Teamwork on behalf of Peggy and Ralph allowed Ralph to earn an MBA from Michigan State University in 1965.
Ralph continued to be an active supporter of Hope College for the rest of his life. He served on the Hope Board of Trustees for eight years, was a class representative for several years, served on several task forces and provided ongoing financial support. Hope provided Ralph and Peggy with a solid foundation for the future. Following graduation from MSU he was employed by the Mobil Oil Company in Detroit and New York City. Over the balance of his business career, he was involved in more than fifty business acquisitions worldwide where he was involved in the negotiations and operation of businesses once the acquisitions were completed. Along the way, the company he worked for was acquired twice. This resulted in his working for American Standard, The Tappan Company, McGraw Edison and finally Cooper Industries where he retired after twenty-eight years of service. From 1985 to 1992, he was President of Coopers Bussmann Fuse division in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1992, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for all of Coopers divisions worldwide until retirement in early 2004. He had extensive experience in the Far East, China, Mexico, and Europe.
Peggy and Ralph had several homes during their time together starting in Holland, Michigan then moving to East Lansing, MI, Detroit, MI, Long Island, NY, Lexington, OH, Marshall, MI, St. Louis, MO and to Houston, TX where Cooper Industries headquarters were located. Upon retirement, Ralph and Peggy established their primary residence in Naples, Florida. Summers and early fall, however, found them in their mutual hometown of Frankfort, Michigan. They loved their Harbor Lights condo facing Lake Michigan and the many old and new friends there. Both Ralph and Peggy’s families were long term residents of Frankfort. Ralph was preceded in death by his father Ralph E. Jackson, Sr., mother, Irma Ferris Jackson, stepmother, Ena Kraft Jackson and both of his brothers, Robert, and Lyle. Ralph was so fortunate to have Ena enter his life at age twelve. Ena was a very special person in his life and the Frankfort community.