News & Events

Family’s gift to library in memory of loved one

Progress-Index
By F.M. Wiggins (Staff Writer)
Published: December 24, 2013

PETERSBURG – A family came together to give a substantial donation to the Petersburg Library Foundation in memory of a loved one who passed away more than two years ago.

Wanda Jones Jackson, a third generation native of Petersburg, graduated from Petersburg High School in 1973, and five years later graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked as a registered occupational therapist at Southside Virginia Training Center, where she was employed for more than 11 years before completing her employment at Southeastern Virginia Training Center.

Education was important to Jackson on a level equal to her love of reading.

Her widower, Maurice Jackson, sent a letter to more than 100 family members to raise the $25,000 gift which will see a group study room at the library named after Wanda Jackson.

Raising the money wasn’t easy, Maurice Jackson said.

“We made a pledge though,” he said. “Through fundraisers and raffles, we’ve raised $10,000 and I’m personally going to contribute $15,000.”

The most difficult part of raising the money has been getting participation from the community, he said, including getting people to sell tickets to events or for the raffles, and getting businesses to contribute items for raffles.

“A stranger to no one, Wanda touched each of us in her own special way with her warm smile, loving attitude and good nature. She was our family’s angel, a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother,” Maurice Jackson said in the letter to family. “My beloved Wanda loved Petersburg, First Baptist Church and the Petersburg Public Library.”

Jackson and his son Manky mailed and hand delivered the letters to relatives.

In the letter, Jackson says though his wife was ill, her health issues didn’t stop her love of reading and enjoying the library.

“Manky and I want to give back to the community that gave so much to Wanda. That’s why we are asking you to join us in supporting the Petersburg Library Foundation’s Capital Campaign to build a new state-of-the-art facility,” the letter says.

Jackson said his late wife spent a lot of time at the local library, even though the couple lived in Chesapeake as her health decline.

“She would come up here and stay with family and go to the library, and then I would come pick her up,” Jackson said.

Some of her favorite reading material was on the health care field she worked in, especially on occupational therapy.

Petersburg Library Foundation Fund Development Officer Cheryl Collins said the new facility, scheduled for a late February 2014 opening, will provide larger spaces for collections, seating, computers, children’s programs, public meeting rooms and community resources. Additionally, the new library will offer an enhanced partnership with the Petersburg City Public Schools.

“It’s going to be wonderful seeing that space in the library named in her honor,” Jackson said. He added his wife probably would have smiled at the honor, but wouldn’t have wanted a lot of recognition.

– F.M. Wiggins may be reached at 732-3456, ext. 3254 or fwiggins@progress-index.com.

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