Long-time Anna firefighter Bill Jackson honored
Billy Duane “Bill” Jackson, 81, of Anna, who had been a firefighter in Union County for nearly 60 years, died on Sept. 21 at his home.
Funeral services for Mr. Jackson were held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna.
Chaplain Bob Richardson officiated. Richardson serves as the Anna Fire Department’s chaplain.
Mr. Jackson was honored with full firefighter’s funeral ceremonies. The services included a bell ceremony, bagpipe music and readings of A Fireman’s Prayer and The Firefighters Code of Conduct.
The Firefighter’s Code of Conduct reads:
“As a Firefighter, my fundamental duty is to protect or save lives and safeguard property in the service of my community.
“As a public employee, I will set a good example in all actions and deeds.
“I will never use my position for personal gain, recognizing it as a symbol of public trust.
“I will constantly strive to achieve the high objectives of this department and shall conduct myself at all times, both on and off duty, in such a manner as to reflect most favorably on the department.
“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America and the constitution of (the State of Illinois), and I will respect, honor, obey and enforce the laws and ordinances of the jurisdiction in which I serve.
“Today, I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith and I accept it as a public trust.
“And I hereby rededicate myself to the citizens of the city of (Anna) to ensure their safety in the discharge of my duties.”
The words of A Fireman’s Prayer:
“When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage, give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.
“Help me embrace a little child, before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
“Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
“I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor and protect their property.
“And if according to your will, I have to lose my life, please bless with your protecting hand my family, children and my wife.”
Reflecting on the words of the The Firefighter’s Code of Conduct, Chaplain Richardson said that “Bill lived his life that way.”
“Bill was a man of integrity,” he added. Richardson said that words like father, grandpa, friend, community servant and hero also described Mr. Jackson.
“Everyone counted on him,” Richardson added.
Interment was in the Anna Cemetery. Graveside military rites were conducted by Carroll P. Foster Post No. 3455 of the VFW in Anna and the Scott Air Force Base honor guard.
Mr. Jackson’s casket, draped with an American flag, was carried on an Anna Fire Department vehicle from the funeral home to the Anna Cemetery.
The fire department vehicle was accompanied by units from all of Union County’s emergency services agencies. The Jackson County Ambulance Service also was represented in the procession.
An Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter flew over the Anna Cemetery at the time of the service at the grave.
An emergency service personnel walk through was conducted at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Mr. Jackson’s obituary recalled that “his devotion to the Anna Fire and Rescue Department for 57 years was unparalleled. When being honored as Fireman of the Month, he said that if he had been born rich he would have been a professional volunteer. He worked tirelessly until the end to ensure everyone and every detail was attended to.”
Only days before his death, Mr. Jackson had responded to a fire call.
Mr. Jackson was a veteran, who served in the U.S. Air Force.
He, and his wife Patricia, owned and operated the Union County Press in Anna and the Jackson Peach Orchard for many years.
He served on the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School District No. 81 School Board of Education, the Union County Chamber of Commerce and as a Union County commissioner.
He was an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was beyond talented in his hobbies, which included wood working, drawing, building and restoring automobiles. There was simply nothing he could not do or accomplish.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Jackson of Anna; a daughter, Vickie Jackson Gordon, and son-in-law, Hal E. Gordon, MD, of Phoenix, Ariz.; a stepdaughter, Nona Evans of Anna, and stepson, Flint Hileman, of Anna; grandchildren Tee Jay Hileman and Mariah DeRossett; two great-grandchildren, Tanner Solomon and Masson Hileman; sisters Joan (Howard) Green of East Alton and Doris Jean Samuels of Anna; and many belnieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made to the Anna Fire and Rescue Department.
Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna was in charge of arrangements.