The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister


Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on May 9, 2009

Jackson familyFor those of you who know me and my family personally, you know why this blog has been inactive for so many weeks.

I had every intention of writing about the rest of NCAAs before writing this post, but I just can’t do it.

A month ago today, on April 9, 2009, I woke up to find a text from my mom.  It said, “Call me as soon as you get this.” It had been sent in the wee hours of the morning, so I knew something bad had happened.

I called her and she told me that my dad had been in a motorcycle accident and that he didn’t make it.

I have tried writing about NCAAs, and I tried to convey the disappointment that we all felt.  I intend to write about the banquet at the end of the meet, because I was so proud of my sister, and I want to write about it.  But thinking of that disappointment and shock seems so superficial after losing my dad.

I will continue to write about swimming, especially since my dad loved reading this blog.  He told me so many times.  I also learned, when I was in El Paso, that he talked about it with his friends and co-workers.

Spending time at home, listening to so many people share their memories of Dad, I realized what a thoroughly good person he was.  I never doubted how much he loved us when he was alive, but I think we were all surprised how willingly he helped others.

My mom says that he was not a saint, but from where I sit, I have no criticism or annoyance to remember.

This blog is called “The Other Daughter” and to some it may seem that I resent my all the attention my sister gets for her swimming.  I certainly don’t.  My dad was one who got the joke.  He would, since I inherited his sense of humor.

I suppose some day that thought will comfort me.  Right now, I just wish I could laugh with him again.

I miss you Dad.  I love you.


If anyone has stories about Dad and what a devoted swim fan he was, please comment on this blog.


His obituary:

For those of you who didn’t read it on Facebook:

El Paso Times (TX)

April 9, 2009
Section: News

Updated: Highway sign hits motorcyclist; he dies in crash
   Darren Meritz / El Paso TimesEL PASO — Keith Jackson, husband, father and motorcycle lover, seemed to have everything under control until he left work early Thursday in the windy darkness.

An accountant, he had stayed late at the office because it is tax season. Jackson had driven thousands of miles on his motorcycle, but nothing could have prepared him for the bizarre circumstances leading to the crash that took his life in Northeast El Paso. 

Riding his 2002 Honda Goldwing, he struck an exit sign that had broken and was swinging in the roadway as he exited from north U.S. 54 to Dyer. Police said they believe the sign broke because of high winds, which reached nearly 60 mph Wednesday night.

After hitting the sign, Jackson, 53, crashed and died on the roadway about 1 a.m.

Police said he was wearing a helmet and was not speeding. Wind, they said, was the big factor in the accident.

Always a motorcycle lover, Jackson never lost the urge to take in the open road. He often pressed his wife, Martina, to come along on a cross-country motorcycle trip like the one they took in 1980. They traveled from Portland, Maine, to Seattle, then to Southern California, where his parents live.

“Ever since we met in Boston – his first motorcycle was a Yamaha 400 – he just always enjoyed them,” Martina Jackson said in an interview hours after his death.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, both college students.

One of them, 22-year-old, Lara, is a champion swimmer at the University of Arizona. She competed last summer for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, missing by six hundredths of a second in the 50-meter freestyle.

Older daughter Carly Rose, 26, is a graduate student in journalism at Emerson College in Boston.

Martina Jackson said her husband for decades had a fascination with motorcycles.

“You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Redwood Forest from the back of a motorcycle,” she said.

Keith Jackson came to El Paso in 1981 when he was stationed at Fort Bliss with the Air Defense Artillery. He went on to get his accounting degree at UTEP, then made a home and raised his family in El Paso.

He went home for dinner Wednesday night before he returning to the office, his wife said. He had been spending extra hours preparing tax returns ahead of the April 15 deadline, and probably was on his way home when he crashed, she said.

“He came home for dinner and we talked a little bit,” she said. “It sounds like it was a freak accident.”           Earlier this week the couple went to Tucson, where they attended a banquet for the University of Arizona swimming team. Keith Jackson was especially proud of Lara’s performance at the NCAA meet in March, when she set three American records in individual and relay events on the first day of competition.

In recounting the moment for El Paso Times Sports Editor John Erfort, he talked about how proud he was and how well life was going. Already, Erfort said, Jackson was thinking of 2012 and the prospect of Lara making it to the London Olympics.

Martina Jackson said she was awaiting word from the El Paso medical examiner, who she hoped would have more details about his death.


One Response to “jeremiad”

  1. The banquet that Saturday evening on the last day of Women’s NCAA’s was not the celebratory event that Arizona had envisioned. The National Championship slipped out of Arizona’s hands and the women watched as CAL won their first National Championship. So to say the least, the evening was a bit of a “downer”. Traditionally each senior swimmer says her heartfelt farewell to the team and with eight seniors, the evening went long. I so much wanted to get up and speak, but was not up to it emotionally. Then Keith rose to say a few words. “Rarely in life, if at all, will you come across something, a team that is so special that it is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Cherish this.” And we were all uplifted as we said our goodbyes that evening.

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