Dad, Tom Jackman, would have been 87 today (August 16) and now seems a fitting moment to mark the life of a wonderfully good and kind man.
Dad was born on August 16, 1936 to Bridget (known as Ciss) and Nicholas Jackman of 1 South Quay, Arklow. The youngest of five children, Dad and his older brother and sisters, Pat, Maura, Rosaleen and Eileen grew up with the Avoca River on their doorstep. Together with the other children of South Quay they availed of the river to its full and it became their vast, exciting playground. Dad relived these days many, many times and we grew up to a backdrop of stories telling of endless adventure, peopled by fascinating and colourful characters. Arklow of the 50s and 60s seemed a town of mythic wonder.
Then Dad met Mum, Una Byrne from Harbour Road. Dad was immediately and forever smitten. The handsome boy from the quay and the lovely captain’s daughter became inseparable and so began their story of true love.
The legendary Marian Arts group, housed in McGowan’s old yard, allowed their relationship to blossom in a creative environment where lifelong friendships were formed. It was an era filled with music and dancing, amateur dramatics and song.
Mum and Dad married in 1962 and had five daughters, Brid-Marie, Angela, Niamh, Maura and Carmel. After a spell working in Holland and then the Customs, Dad joined Roadstone at Arklow Rock. Bright and ambitious Dad worked his way up the ranks and, following promotion, the young family moved to Dublin.
Dad loved the cut and thrust of Industrial relations. He was an original thinker and brought this quality to bear as personnel manager in Roadstone. There he honed his skills as a consummate, creative problem solver. He reached the pinnacle of his chosen profession becoming a director of Roadstone and chairman of the pension board in the company for which he had so much regard.
Arklow was always the dream and retirement back home in 2002 signalled the beginning of two decades of the happiest of times. These days were full of life, friendship and activity; golf, gardening, dinners out, long walks and family visits.
Dad was fun loving and had a tremendous capacity for joy. Love of his family and the goal to live a truly good life were the cornerstones of his philosophy.
In 2020 a pandemic arrived and the toll of that catastrophe remains to be written.
Dad, like so many others, withstood these circumstances with bravery and determination and, a dash of stoicism. He lived out his days in the house on the hill with his beloved Una by his side.
Happy birthday and everlasting love.