Gone But Never Forgotten: David Jackson Lives On


Photo Courtesy of stltoday.com

On a college campus, it’s nice to be able to see a friendly face on your way to class. Someone who can brighten your day just by saying hello. Millikin sophomore David Jackson was one of those people. Jackson died on Thursday, August 17, after succumbing to his injuries after a near drowning incident at Fugitive Beach in Missouri. Although Jackson has passed, his memory lives on, especially in the Big Blue community.

Jackson was a Millikin student and member of the Big Blue football team. During his time as a student at Millikin, he has been a joy for students to be around. On and off the field, Jackson was well-known and liked, made evident by the countless tributes on social media from his friends and teammates.

“Heaven got a good one from the Big Blue family today. Rest easy up there David, you will be missed,” Millikin student Gabe Xayathone, said via Twitter. Xayathone is a member of the football team, but the condolences were not limited to his teammates.

“Heaven gained one of the best. I’ll never forget that “Haayy Maaaxx” followed by a big hug and that huge smile. Rest easy up there kid,” Millikin student Maxine Krol said, tweeting a picture she had taken with Jackson.

When seen in the halls, he always had a huge smile on his face. When he walked into a classroom, the energy changed. He brought excitement everywhere he went.

On the field, Coach Dan Gritti described Jackson as a leader who had a “commanding presence.”

“Everyone’s eyes went to him when he walked in a room,” Gritti said.

Jackson’s teammates knew they could count on him to make big plays. His intensity and explosive nature helped make Jackson a threat to opponents.

Although intense on the field, the same can not be said for how he was off the field. Jackson was the kind of person who completely switched gears when he laced up his cleats. He knew how to separate football from life, understanding that there is a time and place for everything.

Jackson’s love for football helped him serve as a huge contributor to last year’s Big Blue football team’s success. It was only a year ago that the sophomore receiver was making plays on the gridiron.  After having a stellar freshman season at receiver, Jackson was gearing up to play an even bigger role on the team this season. He may not be lacing up his cleats on game days or strapping up his helmet, but in presence, he will still be out there battling with his brothers. His memory will inspire his teammates to push themselves to victory though he won’t be present. Instead, it will be as if he was sitting back and watching his team make strides. Teammates will follow his example and become leaders and playmakers on the field just like himself.

As this season begins, it is important to remember Jackson for who he was as a person, not just as a football player. Jackson was always committed to his family and had a desire to make his community better. He is not seen as just a great football player, but he is, more importantly, a great person.

“The greatest tragedy here is not the loss of David Jackson, the football player. The greatest tragedy is the loss of David Jackson, the man,” Gritti said.

Although Jackson will no longer be walking the halls of Millikin University, his memory will continue to live on and he will always be a member of the Big Blue family.

If anyone would like to donate to the Jackson family for funeral arrangements and hospital bills, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/492xr3k.