Cover photo for Edwin "Ed" Leon Jackson's Obituary
Edwin "Ed" Leon Jackson Profile Photo
1943 Edwin 2023

Edwin "Ed" Leon Jackson

August 24, 1943 — January 10, 2023


Edwin (Ed) Jackson, age 79, of Athens, GA passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 surrounded by loved ones.  Ed was born on August 24th, 1943 in Kingsport, TN to Richard and Lorene Jackson.  He grew up in Texas and graduated from Deer Park High School in 1961.  He then went on to earn his B.A. in history and political science and M.A. in political science from the University of Mississippi.  While there, he was a Teaching Assistant in Political Science, a member of Phi Kappa Psi, a trumpeter in the Ole Miss Marching Band and joined the Army Reserves.  He then accepted a Political Science teaching position at Mississippi State College for Women before coming to the University of Georgia.  At UGA, he completed extensive doctoral work in political science and public administration and then accepted a full-time faculty position with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in 1970.  In 1975, he met and married Annette Franklin, his wife of 47 years.

Ed was a Senior Public Service Associate Emeritus at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA, retiring after 40 years of dedicated public service.  Over his long and distinguished career, he became known as the authority on Georgia history and Georgia state government.  He provided research, instruction and technical assistance to state legislatures, educators, governors, mayors, state and federal legislative interns, civic organizations, county governments and many, many others on a wide variety of topics related to Georgia.  As a true scholar of Georgia history, it has been said that if Georgia had an official “state historian”, Ed would have been it.

A few of Ed’s many public service projects and accomplishments include training newly elected Georgia legislators through the Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators; co-authoring and providing extensive educator training on The Georgia Studies textbook for 8th graders statewide; instructing rising leaders in the annual State Model Legislature for 4-H; organizing Friends of Oglethorpe to commemorate Georgia’s 250th Anniversary and the official state delegation trip to England, including a ceremony in Parliament; and redesigning the Georgia state flag.  More recently, he developed strategies to promote historical tourism statewide through UGA’s Archway Partnership.  A favorite and recent project of Ed’s was his extensive research, presentations and programs promoting the historical Dixie Highway to state and local officials, professional conferences, organizations and others.

Ed authored, co-authored and edited many books, manuals, articles and other publications including The Georgia Studies Book, The Handbook for Georgia Legislators, The Handbook for Georgia State Agencies, James Oglethorpe: A New Look at Georgia’s Founder, Flags That Have Flown Over Georgia, Georgia’s Boundaries: The Shaping of a State and many others.  He always utilized the latest in technology in his public service and created and edited over 15 websites on Georgia history, government and geography.  Such sites include the well-known GeorgiaInfo website (through 2018), an online Georgia almanac, Georgia Historical Markers, Georgia Courthouses, Georgia Photo Gallery, Flags That Have Flown Over Georgia, Historical Atlas of Georgia Counties and others.  He also served as section editor in the online New Georgia Encyclopedia and published articles in the Georgia Historical Society’s Georgia History Today.  Ed had recently donated much from his extensive collection of Georgia historical maps, documents, artifacts, and memorabilia to the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at UGA and to the Georgia Historical Society.

Ed was a member and served in leadership roles in many professional and special interest groups, coalitions, committees, civic organizations and clubs reflecting his diverse interests and passions.  He was a long-standing member and board member of the Georgia Council of the Social Studies, chaired the Governor’s Commission on Georgia History and Historical Tourism, was a longtime member of the Georgia Historical Society, the North American Vexillological Association and the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs.  He served on a state committee to plan the 300th birthday of Georgia’s founder James Oglethorpe, a new state history museum and the Bicentennial of the Georgia General Assembly among many others.

Ed’s numerous awards and recognitions include the University of Georgia Walter B. Hill Public Service Award, the Governor’s Award in the Humanities, the Berryman Service Award and Outstanding Educator Award from the Georgia Council for the Social Studies (GCSS), a two-time recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Service from GCSS, Georgia Historical Society’s John MacPherson Berrien Award and, in 2012 while retired, the Sarah Nichols Pinckney Volunteer Award.  In 1982, Governor George Busbee designated Ed as a “Framer of the Georgia Constitution” for his work in drafting the new state constitution.  In 2004, he was awarded the “Vexillonnaire Award” by the North American Vexillological Association for his work with the Georgia General Assembly’s efforts to redesign Georgia’s state flag.

Ed was a philatelist for over 30 years and a founding member of the Georgia Federation of Stamp Clubs (now called the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs) and served on the board of directors since its creation.  He was a longtime member of the Athens Philatelic Society and was a pioneer of online philately, helping create an online newsgroup for stamp collectors in 1995.  He was awarded the Rowland Hill Award in 2008 by the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs for his outstanding lifetime contributions to philately in the Southeastern United States.

Ed was a lifelong member of the Church of Christ including nearly 30 years at Campus View Church of Christ and was a founding member of Central Oconee Church of Christ in 2000.  He genuinely loved to sing and his rich, bass voice that could shake the pew will be missed.  Ed actively supported various foreign missionaries and churches.  In addition, Ed was a devoted fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, being a season ticket holder for nearly 50 years, spending many of those seasons tailgating on River Road.  He was also a longtime Braves fan and if the Braves were playing, Ed had it on the radio or TV.  His family treated him this past Father’s Day to club level seats at a home game which he truly enjoyed.

Anyone who knew Ed knew he was an avid collector throughout his entire life.  His extensive collections include stamps, historical documents and maps, antique currency, antique postcards, books, paleolithic arrowheads, coins, music albums and CDs, among many, many, many others (even megalodon teeth).  He got so much joy researching and building his collections and had already begun to donate items to museums and organizations.  Ed also blended his love of nature, geography, history and photography into wonderful family trips to national parks throughout the country, to historical markers across Georgia, to the mountains, beaches, waterfalls, trails, gorges, forts, rivers and everything our great state has to offer.  He loved to tent camp and took his family camping all over the country.   His last camping adventure was at Lake Burton for the total solar eclipse in 2017, an event he thoroughly enjoyed seeing and photographing.  He also loved to river raft and most recently rafted some class III rapids down the Nantahala River at 72 years old.  He had a wonderful, thrilling time wearing his GoPro on his head the entire trip.  Ed loved to photograph and document everything and would consider it nothing to carry a heavy camera bag and tripods up a steep mountain trail just to capture nature’s beauty and civilization’s history.

Ed thoroughly enjoyed being a part of his grandchildren’s lives and faithfully attended all events he could, including football and baseball games, band and choir concerts, musicals, competitions and graduations.  He documented every event and even created and maintained a YouTube channel to share videos of performances with family and the community.  He also ensured he taught and exposed his grandchildren to Georgia history and fostered in them a love for the state he loved so much.

Ed is survived by his wife of 47 years, Annette Franklin Jackson.  He is also survived by his three daughters Banks (Dan) Scothorn of Atlanta, GA, Jennifer Redmond of Athens, GA, and Stephenie Jackson of Weaverville, NC and his brother Royce (Rena) Jackson of Seattle, WA.  He also leaves behind six grandchildren:  Justin (Nicole) Jackson of Cumming, GA, Tyler Redmond of Athens, GA, Sarah Scothorn of Athens, GA, Sam Scothorn of Atlanta, GA, Maya Kelly and Teagan Kelly of Weaverville, NC.

A memorial will be held Saturday, March 4th, 2023 at 2pm at Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, West. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 1:00 until 2:00 pm at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Central Oconee Church of Christ, 2005 Rays Church Rd, Bishop, GA.

Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville, GA is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edwin "Ed" Leon Jackson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 4, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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