The family of well-known Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Famer Fred Jackson is inviting the many friends and acquaintances of the former St. John’s sportsman and newsman to celebrate his memory.
The ‘Toast to Freddie’ will be held from 6-10 p.m. Thursday at the Swilers Rugby Club on Crosbie Rd.
Jackson, from St. John’s, passed away suddenly last Aug. 10 — a year, less a day, to the date of Thursday’s celebration — in Sydney, N.S., where he was transferred in the early 1990s to take over as managing editor of the Cape Breton Post. He was only 54.
But for as much as everyone recognized Jackson for his very public profile as a newspaperman, he was much more well known for his work in softball.
As founder of the Higher Levels Minor Softball Association in St. John’s in the early 1970s, Jackson provided thousands of boys and girls in the Rabbittown area of the city the opportunity to participate in the sport.
He took nine teams to Canadian championships with the clubs winning five medals, plus a fourth-place finish at the 1989 Canada Summer Games.
In 1991, he was named Coach of the Year by Softball Canada, the first Newfoundlander to be so honoured, and was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Softball Hall of Fame and the St. John’s Softball Hall of Fame.
Jackson, who left to mourn wife Beatrice and five daughters, is buried in Sydney.
“We’re having this to honour Freddie because he had many, many friends who obviously couldn’t get to Nova Scotia for the funeral,” said his brother Craig.
“And we’re not sending out special invites for fear we’re going to accidentally omit someone.
“So we’re sending out a general invite to all who knew him, and the family encourages everyone to please drop by if they can.”