A Beautiful Life
Ruth Ella Perkins Jackson started this pilgrim’s journey on January 15, 1923, as the first-born daughter of Johnny and Perninia Perkins in Jewett, Texas. She was blessed to be born to parents that raised her in the fear and admonition of the Lord at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church where she was baptized at the age of 12. Ruth graduated from high school in Teague, Texas, and received a scholarship to attend Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. She went on to graduate from Bishop College with a Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics. She got her first teaching position in South Salem where she taught first through eighth grades in a one-room building. From there, she went on to Hearne, Texas, and taught at Blackshear High School for three years. During this time, she met and married Jesse Cotton Alexander, a fellow teacher, and they had two daughters, Jessica Ruth and Elnita Hale Alexander. After his death, Ruth moved back to her hometown of Jewett and began teaching at George Washington Carver in late 1951. During her tenure at Carver, she married Henry Jackson, a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a result, she became a member of the A.M.E. Church. Henry and Ruth had one daughter, Rosalind Anne Jackson, and moved to Houston, Texas in 1966.
Ruth continued her teaching career in Houston and completed her master’s degree in education from Texas Southern University in 1972. Most of her time teaching in Houston was spent teaching fourth grade in the Houston Independent School District at Burnett Elementary School. She finished her nearly four-decade teaching career, retiring from Burnett in 1986.
After retirement, Ruth remained active by being a substitute teacher and volunteering to help those with reading challenges through local literacy programs. She gave much time to the A.M.E. Church serving as a first lady at several churches pastored by her late husband, including at Hope A.M.E. Church founded by Rev. Jackson. At Hope, she was also a stewardess, dutifully preparing the Lord’s Supper. During her time as an A.M.E. one of her greatest joys was being a Life Member of the Woman’s Missionary Society where she made many wonderful friends. She was a member of Green Chapel A.M.E. Church at the time of her passing.
Ruth’s other affiliations include the National Council of Negro Women, the Order of the Eastern Star, and Church Women United. She was a dutiful participant and leader in any organization that she became a part of, not just joining but also rolling up her sleeves to work. She was a gracious, kind, and gentle lady that devoted her life to serving God, her family and the children whose lives she touched. She understood that every day was a day that the Lord made, and she was determined to rejoice and be glad. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Henry Jackson, parents, Johnnie and Perninia Perkins, sister. Eva Lee Washington, and two brothers, R.J. Perkins and James Russell Perkins. She leaves to mourn her passing three devoted daughters: Jessica Alexander, Elnita Bates, and Rosalind Wyatt (Bryant) all of Houston; six grandchildren: George T. Jackson of Houston, Jeffery E. Bates (Janel) of Austin, John Latchett (Kate) of Houston, Andrew Bates (Lizbeth) of San Antonio, Bryce Wyatt and Brooke Wyatt of Houston; two nieces, Shelia Washington of Dallas and Yvette Price of Salathe, Kansas, one nephew Emlen Hill of Arlington, Texas; one cousin, John Floyd Pope Sr. Of Honolulu, Hawaii and a host of other cousins and good friends