Ralph Jackson

Ralph N. Jackson

Saturday September 22, 1934 - Friday January 4, 2019
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Ralph N. Jackson passed away peacefully, at the age of 84, on Friday, January 4, 2019, his beloved family by his side. He was the husband of 59 years to M. Suzanne (Audette) Jackson.

Ralph was born in Hartland, VT, a son to the late Richard and Helen (Manwaring) Jackson.
He spent his childhood in the Talcottvile, CT area and was a graduate of Rockville HS-Class of 1952 prior to joining the Army. Ralph was assigned to the Red Stone Arsenal where he specialized in radio and signal processing.

After serving his country Ralph enrolled at U-Conn where he earned his degree in Electrical Engineering. Ralph also attended WPI as he continued his training as an engineer. Ralph’s workplace portfolio included numerous leadership roles in the development of defense radar and telecom systems. He was known as the “go-to” for troubleshooting and was recognized by his peers for his values of being genuine and credible, the ability to convey wisdom before emotion in business situations. His family will most remember Ralph for his unconditional love and gift of humility.

For numerous years Ralph taught electronics and electrical appliance repair at the Worcester House of Correction. He has been instrumental in the local AA community and a testament to those he has helped along their own journey. Ralph enjoyed restoring antique radios, working on cars, playing banjo at church services, spending time with his family and participating in the shenanigans with the Rat Pack of Northborough.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Sue; five children, Glenn, Todd, Scott, Craig, and Sarah; nine grandchildren whom he adored, Carrie, Becky, Ryane, Samantha, Elise, Danny, Devon, Sage and Kai, and two great-grandchildren, Brayden and Keegan. A daughter, Laura, preceded Ralph in death. He is also survived by his Brother Paul Jackson and Sister Elaine Blaisdell.

Calling hours will be from 4-8pm on Tuesday, January 8th at Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main Street, Northborough. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10am on Wednesday, January 9th at St. Rose of Lima Parish, 244 W. Main Street, Northborough. Burial with military honors will follow in Howard Street Cemetery.

Ralph’s family respectfully request that memorial contributions be made to Thrive Support & Advocacy, 65 Boston Post Rd W Suite 220, Marlborough, MA 01752; Rose Monahan Hospice Home, 10 Judith Rd, Worcester, MA 01602, or to the St. Rose of Lima Parish-Youth Ministry.

Dad’s Memoirs, as reflected by his family.

Ralph N. Jackson

Early Life _ Talcottville, Vernon HS and the dragstrip in Manchester CT
Ralph was Born in Hartland VT, moved to CT where his parents worked at Pratt and Whitney.
Dad’s parents were hard working folks. Richard Jackson moved to sell many things over his lifetime and Helen Jackson became a highly regarded School Teacher.
Dad’s youthful days were in grade school in Talcottville in a one room school house, and ultimately graduating high school in Rockville CT in 1952. He delivered milk for 2 years after high school and became quite a hellion; he was caught drag racing in his dad’s Oldsmobile, and racing from stop light to stop light down the strip in Manchester.
He raced through the Tunnel Bridge in Bolton CT where he went through it at high speed with his Lights off because cops were chasing him.
He was the Original Fonzi with his DA hair style. Ripping through Manchester in his 1951 Ford Custom, elbow out the window and cigarettes rolled up in a white “T” hat also showed the band aid that covered his "Ralph" tattoo on his right shoulder, he kept it hidden for two years!

Army life
Dad entered the Basic Training in 1954. After Basic Training he was assigned to Red Stone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama where Dad SWEALTERED from the heat.
Mastered Radio and teaching Superheterodyne signal processing to radio engineers BEFORE he had a formal education in engineering. He mixed being practical and while applying academics. He started working on cars and playing baseball.
Was enlisted During Korean conflict – never saw any active action.
He had a Honorable discharge in Jan ’57 at the rank of Sergeant to attend College.
Dad put a call into Sue Audette letting her know he was heading home soon….she had forgot who Ralph Jackson even was…..

Courted and Married Sue (Mom)
Ralph met up with mom ice skating in Manchester CT, and then went to THREE JAYS and had a soda. Mom was in nursing school and Dad was enrolled in Uconn. They began dating. Dad was the commuter student at Uconn and he and Charles Audette was an on campus student and they had become friends. Charles was always trying to set Dad up. As they got serious Dad moved into Mom’s home on Lancaster Street in Manchester CT while dating Mom, and became the “added” son to Raymond and Doris Audette. He was the “Other Older Brother” to Fred and Mike who were youngsters at the time.

Dad was enrolled in the Electrical Engineering program at UCONN in 1961. To make money on the side he worked with Raymond Audette in his carpet shop; cutting and delivering carpets when he was not in school. Dad graduated with a BSEE in 1961 with High Honors. Jim O’Loughlin became a classmate a lifelong friend. Dad also attended WPI where he came a few classes short of a master’s in engineering.

Ralph and Sue – A family Affair
Mom and Dad Married in ’59 - - Started in an apartment in Connecticut and then moved to Framingham, MA where Dad was working at Raytheon. From there Dad reunited with Norm Cousins and his wife Joan. Norm and Joan lived in Northboro and persuaded Mom and Dad to move to Northboro, Mass….to quote Stuart Jackson “Another Norman Rockwell” New England Town. They moved to a house on Crestwood drive in Northborough and ultimately at 137 West Street which became the epicenter of the Jackson family to this day. Dad and Norm were co workers over several decades at Raytheon. Thank you to Norm and Joan for your hospitality over the years, accepting our family at the “Island” and creating so many fond memories as Lake Winnipesaukee.

Together Mom and Dad brought into the world/adopted 6 children…..from 1960 to 1977…..

The Northborough RAT PACK
There were a certain group of people in Northborough who collectively formed a unique set of friends and family. Everyone was from a different walk of life; large families, small families, and all LOVED to have a great time in life. And so formed the RAT PACK of Northboro (My term). The Dankerts, Baldelli’s, McNamara’s, d'Entremont’s, Latvis’, Swan’s, and even Father Bob Grattoratti. This group caused mischief, celebrated UN HOLIDAYs, and made sure life was more than just family and work. It was friends too. This group of folks stopped traffic, conducted unsanctioned parades down main roads, and ensured whoever was 40 had the DREADED rose in plain sight in their home until the next victim was presented with the badge of aged honor.

Sobriety – A second life

On the brink of a life collapse, he found sobriety in 1984 and a started a new life. He saved a marriage that had seen a child die and challenges of a special needs son. Sue stood by his side and said we are in this together.

He studied his program like an engineer at first – Following the 12 steps like a well-designed engineering specification: he troubleshooted his behaviors, identified those aspects within himself he can improve upon, and made good with the world around him.

Over time he developed a critical attribute for all of us: humility. Humility in conjunction with his strong spiritual development helped him serve as an inspiration to many others. He always demonstrated the spiritual principle that “in order to keep it, you must give it away” and has showed many the way to a better life if they chose to follow it. He was able to attain an increasing level of acceptance over things he cannot control and encouraged others to do the same. Ralph was an incredible living example of the program, trusting in a higher power and developing the spirituality needed to be sober in all aspects: physical, emotional, and spiritual. If you are in the program and attend meetings within 60 miles of central mass – most likely you know or have heard of Ralph Jackson.

Career: Raytheon, Computer Systems Engineering (CSE), Stein Associates, Raytheon 2.0
From Field Engineer, Software troubleshooter, Telecom Circuit Designer across his career finding the “key log” of many field problems with radar and telecom systems.
In his final stint with Raytheon, Dad served several leadership roles in government programs for military communications our troops used in that day.
He was a Program Manager for NESP, Milstar military communication programs involving many subcontractors and design engineers in and out of the Raytheon arena.
Recognized by a Rear Admiral and the Raytheon division leader for his contributions to the SATCOM programs and also providing comms gear to DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Dad played his civilian part to ensure the US military actions were well orchestrated and communications were robust, safe and secure under General Swartskoff’s leadership.
His business values of being genuine, having credibility, applying sound judgement and intelligence were foundations across his long career. He was among many program managers half his age – always conveying wisdom before emotion in business in situations.

Giving Back MORE – Dad’s life after full time employment
Dad took up teaching at Worcester County house of Correction where he lead a lab that taught inmates valuable skills in basic math and troubleshooting electronics and appliances…..once again after 35 years he was teaching again. He got up every day for work, was home by 1:00, and made sure Mom had a chilled glass of wine when she got home from her job. He created an arrangement with the local apostolate to fix their items with the inmates and they earned money for their efforts to set them up for success on the outside.

There was one particular inmate from Saudi Arabia Dad got close too. The man had had a string of incarcerations and lost contact with his father for the last 10 years. Dad took it upon himself to find this inmate's father in Saudi Arabia through the internet as well as International help lines. This took an enormous amount of effort and time on Dad's effort....long story short, Dad found the inmate's father and they reunited over the phone at the jail. This man is now a productive member of society, lives in New Jersey where he started a rug cleaning business, and made it a point to drive to Massachusetts to have dinner with Dad to thank him. There are many more examples of this in Dad's life, but this illustrates the kind of man he was.

Best Damn Troubleshooter we ever knew:
• Found the shorted circuit in Glenn’s house {inside the wall} where a screw had shorted a wire in the wall and kept a light on! Dad even went as far to calculate the probability of such an occurrence given the wall space, size of the screw and how many circuits were in the room…..ever curious….
• He troubleshot Craig’s Air Cooled VW electrical problems over the phone just from a diagram and what Craig told him – all the time visualizing the next steps…..
• He corrected Todd’s mustang problem where it would not start {Again over the phone}– “flip the distributor 180 degrees and it fired right up.”
• Dad’s advice for troubleshooting and in life: Always look for something obvious and ask the five situational questions…Who, What, When, Where and How.

Wants to be remembered as a NICE GUY.
This is a big deal for Dad {Ralph}. He has said this time and time again. This is how he wants to be remembered. He was never a confrontationist. Or a person with an axe to grind. He exhibited existentialism to challenge people on their own free will, but always aware of the boundary conditions (limits due to physics or science).
He had a blend of higher thought combined with physics and universal limitations.

Being a GRAMPA
Dad/Grampa LOVED being a Dad and Grampa….and what a listing he and Sue have created ( In Birth Order)

• Glenn
• Laura
• Todd
• Scott
• Craig
• Sarah

• Carrie
• Becky
• Ryane
• Samantha
• Elise
• Danny
• Devon
• Sage
• Kai
• And then the great grand kids:
o Brayden and Keegan
He loved being that big teddy bear, enjoying watching birds at the feeder, running with the kids the surf at Wells Beach Maine, Splashing in the pool in Northboro, and watching those “Full contact” Easter egg hunts.

If you have come to know him – you all have a piece of him living in you
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Memorial Program

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday January 8, 2019 | 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Tuesday January 8, 2019 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Hays Funeral Home
    56 Main Street
    Northborough, MA 01532
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral Mass

    Wednesday January 9, 2019 | 10:00am
    Wednesday January 9, 2019 10:00am
    St. Rose of Lima Parish
    244 W. Main St.
    Northborough, MA 01532
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Father James Houston
  • Interment

    Wednesday January 9, 2019 |
    Wednesday January 9, 2019
    Howard Street Cemetery
    Howard Street
    Northborough, Massachusetts 01532
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Burial with Military Honors


  • US Army


Donations are being accepted for: St Rose of Lima Parish.


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Private Condolence
The Willwerth Family, The Mack Family - Nicole, Karl, Anja and Spencer, and other have sent flowers to the family of Ralph N. Jackson.
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Eileen Reilly Cazaropoul

Posted at 08:47pm
Glenn and family,
I am very sorry for your loss. What an amazing tribute to your Dad.
Eileen Reilly Cazaropoul

The Willwerth Family

Posted at 08:37am
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. With deepest sympathy,
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The Mack Family - Nicole, Karl, Anja and Spencer

Posted at 08:32pm
Mrs. Jackson & Family, You are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. May you find comfort in your wonderful memories.
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The Mack Family - Nicole, Karl, Anja and Spencer purchased the Sweet Tranquility Basket for the family of Ralph Jackson. Send Flowers


Your friends in Technical Services, Pfizer

Posted at 03:53pm
Nicole and Craig, Please accept our condolences.
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The Bilodeaus

Posted at 12:49pm
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Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Dad working on antique radios troubleshooting Vacuum Tubes and frequencies....
The GTO My Dad drove around the summer of 2017
Dad Telling Einstein what he missed in his calculations :)
Ralph and his brother Paul...couple of good looking dudes.
Dad was a big fan of math. He knew PI by memory out to 53 places.....3.1428xxxxxxxxx
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Watch the Photographic Memories Slideshow with photos selected by the family. Ralph N. Jackson - Photographic Memories
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