Dreaded Alzheimer’s takes the life of American hero

First Posted: 5/30/2014

To the Editor,

A real American hero was laid to rest recently at Tolarsville Baptist Church.

He wasn’t a doctor or lawyer. He wasn’t a governor or senator, or ever elected to anything — although he did serve as chairman of the St. Pauls school board before the merger. He wasn’t a rich man, didn’t own a lot of property or a big fancy home.

But he was rich in the things that count. I never heard him use a word of profanity, or say one unkind word about another person. Never heard him raise his voice. He walked from Tolarsville to St. Pauls to go to school. There was a picture of him and his brother displayed at the funeral showing him picking tobacco when he was 6 years old. He plowed behind a mule at the age of 12. He worked past the age of 70, raised two children — one of whom was the prettiest woman who ever taught school in Robeson County.

I never heard him complain about anything. He went to work in the morning, went home at night, and church on Sunday, and was a member of the St. Pauls Masonic Lodge for 56 years. He served his country at the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines, was awarded three Bronze Stars the family never even knew about until they dug out his DD-214 to show for military rites at his funeral. In 92 years of life, he never even got so much as a parking ticket. And after all this, he was held hostage and killed by the worst disease, malady to ever strike a human being — Alzheimer’s.

It takes your mind, your dignity, all quality of life, and in the end kills you. It affects your family, your acquaintances, your neighbors, even your community. It’s worse than cancer or heart disease. I don’t care how much of my tax money is ever taken to foster research for this plague. And I’m just so glad the old man is back in his beloved Tolarsville, where he started out nearly 93 years ago, between his brothers and near his Daddy and Mama. No more suffering or confusion.

There will never be another, or better man than Anderson Hoyt Jackson, whom everyone knew as “Tinker.”

Robert Milliron

St. Pauls