Margery and Wilton Jackson come down the aisle at St. Joan of Arc Church in Victorville, California in 1945. (Courtesy Caren Ann Jackson)
Margery and Wilton Jackson come down the aisle at St. Joan of Arc Church in Victorville, California in 1945. (Courtesy Caren Ann Jackson)
LAKE OSWEGO — Wilton and Margery Jackson went to the next phase as they had lived for more than 75 years — close together. The bedrock eastern Oregon Catholic couple, who retired to Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego 20 years ago, passed on within days of each other, she on Feb. 13 and he on Feb. 16. He was 100 and she was 93.

The last photo of the couple shows them in separate care facility beds, reaching across to hold hands.

They had wed in 1945 at St. Joan of Arc Church in Victorville, California, Margery’s home town. Wilton, a Texas native, was a decorated member of the World War II Army Air Forces, having flown bombing missions over Italy, France and Germany.

The Jacksons lived in Nyssa for 55 years and were prominent members of St. Bridget Parish. In addition to volunteering at the parish in the altar guild, Margery was active in religious education.

“Dad was a man of deep and practiced faith his entire life,” Bruce Jackson said in a eulogy for his father. “The Spirit grounded him. The way of Christ guided him. His trust in every aspect of life was centered in his Creator.”

Parents of eight, the Jacksons lined up their kids for Mass in the first pew on Sundays. They would show devotion to their children and many descendants over the years, attending sports and performances and offering encouragement in academics.

The couple was adventurous. In addition to much local camping, they drove children to trips in Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. They boated down the Amazon and flew over the Himalayas. For his 85th birthday, Wilton parachuted from an airplane.

In addition to their parish, the Jacksons were leaders in the wider Nyssa community.

Margery served at the hospital and on the local mental health board. The couple was key in bringing a community college to Malheur County.

They also were active in the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce. Wilton, who established a savings and loan, once let live turkeys loose from a downtown roof to attract shoppers.

An entrepreneur who launched many projects over the years, Wilton owned Ideal Gas and started Wilton Petroleum Company, buying and selling oil leases. He had a cohort of pals who met for morning coffee at a local diner, played cards, hunted and fished.

Margery and Wilton cared for his elderly parents. Years later, when Margery began to have memory challenges, Wilton cared for her.

“They consistently served as a role model of deep love, tireless devotion, uncompromising loyalty, extraordinary patience, and tenderness through the good times as well as life’s challenging circumstances,” Thomas Jackson, said in a eulogy for his mother.

No one was surprised that the two died only a few days apart, on either side of Valentine’s Day.

Margery had once told an Oregonian reporter: “Whatever we did, we did together.”