by Henry Lane Hull
Phillip Jackson was a born entrepreneur. A native of Northumberland County, born on Leap Year Day in 1932, for many years Phillip operated his own seafood delivery business through which he became widely known throughout the Northern Neck.
A quarter of a century ago he conceived of a plan to develop a piece of his property as a tire chipping and stump grinding operation. He had read extensively of the potential benefits of ground-up rubber in paving and other operations, and saw the opportunity to bring such a facility to our area. The envisioned operation also would have allowed for the proper disposal of large tree stumps that were being piled across the landscape as mountains of debris.
Phillip and his associates worked out the highly involved process of obtaining the necessary approvals and clearances, causing him to be optimistic that once established, the facility would provide employment as well as being a boost for the local economy.
At the time I was serving on the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors, all members of which were enthusiastic about his proposal. The site was large and remote, and consequently would not be an intrusion into residential neighborhoods. We formed a delegation to go as a group to Washington where we met with an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, who was receptive and encouraging with respect to the development of the project. For a while, we thought we were cutting through the red tape of bureaucracy and we should see the plan’s implementation proceeding apace.
Unfortunately, all of Phillip’s efforts did not materialize and the chipping and shredding operation did not reach fruition due to funding constraints. His idea was a great step forward in attempting to invigorate the local economy and his prodigious energy level was an inspiration to all who worked with him.
Phillip was an ardent proponent of the Northern Neck. He found tremendous satisfaction in whatever work he was undertaking. He was not one to sit by the wayside awaiting something to happen. Rather he liked to be out there in the forefront of new developments, always ready to do his part in pulling projects together. He often drove his seafood truck to meetings, both as a way of advertising his business and in order for him to be able to get back on the road at his appointed rounds as soon as the gathering’s work was completed.
Some years ago when Northumberland County was setting up the local LOVE signs that Virginia Tourism was sponsoring across the Commonwealth, Phillip attended the unveiling of the sign at Ma Margaret’s Bed and Breakfast in Burgess. Typically, he was looking to the future to see more people coming to the area, contributing to the development of local businesses and enhancing the quality of life. Also typically, when the ceremony was over, he went to his truck, removed his suit coat and tie, and went back to work, on a Saturday afternoon no less.
Phillip was an inspiring figure in the community. He had a phenomenal memory and remembered in gratitude every kindness that had been shown him. His legion of friends was enormous, as he had lived by the motto that being a friend is the best way to have friends.
This past August Phillip died, having worked almost to the end of his life. He was an example to everyone of the value of industry and the importance of never quitting or abandoning one’s dreams. Retirement was not in his DNA, which perhaps explains why he lived so productively.
Phillip Jackson, February 29, 1932 – August 16, 2018. R.I.P.