On December 29, we bid a tender farewell to our wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and friend, Ileane Norton Jackson, who peacefully passed away at age 86 of natural causes. Our hearts ache beyond measure at how much we will miss her, but we also celebrate her life and the many happy, fun-filled days we’ve been blessed to have with her as our mom. All of our lives our mother made sure we knew how important we were to her. Her fondest dream was to be a wife and mother and she always told us she was blessed in every way!
Ileane was born in her grandmother Martha (Mickelson) Waite’s house in Shelley, Idaho on January 24, 1934. The doctor didn’t make it in time— he was too busy having breakfast, so her kind, knowledgeable grandmother delivered and welcomed her into the world! Ileane was the fourth of nine children of her much-loved parents, Willis and Hazel (Waite) Norton. When the doctor sent her father a bill, Willis said he wouldn’t pay it because “he didn’t do a damn thing”.
Ileane was raised mostly in small towns in Idaho (Shelley, Burley, Declo, Albion), and for a while in Zurich, Montana. When she told stories of walking through blizzards to school uphill both ways, she wasn’t kidding! She said that because they had to wear dresses back then, they would stop at farmhouses along the way to warm up their legs. As a young girl, Ileane spent many summer days in the fields working and thinning sugar beets, playing with her siblings on the farm, swimming in the canal, playing with her homemade dollies, and riding horses. Later on, that also included dating her boyfriends! Her family finally settled in Pocatello, Idaho where Ileane finished her last few school years at Pocatello High. She had so much fun during her school years with lots of friends and their hilarious, spunky shenanigans. She was a fast runner and could beat everyone except that darn Mary Jane! She learned to tap dance and would dance a jig on the spot whenever anyone would ask her to. She did gymnastics, outdoor games like kick the can, hide and seek, and steal the bacon and would brag about always winning at King of the Hill because she was strong and could climb “like a mountain goat”. She loved to sing with her sisters and brothers as her dad played the harmonica, it always sounded so beautiful to us! The Norton kids didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but there were definitely a lot of fun times and even more love! When she and her siblings would reminisce about their childhood stories and crazy antics, it was always accompanied by hearty laughter!
Ileane met Virgil Harrison Jackson not long after he returned from serving active duty in the Korean War. One day he passed Ileane and her friend in his ‘52 Mercury as they were walking in downtown Pocatello and he said, “Hey! If you girls wash my car, I’ll take you to Lava Hot Springs.” So they washed it sparkly clean and off they all went, with Ileane’s boy-crazy friend flirting up a storm with Virgil. With hands on her hips, Ileane silently declared, “Oh, no you don’t!”, and she promptly won him over. Ileane came home late one night, and her normally soft-spoken mother met her at the door angrily and blurted, “Where in the hell have you’re been?!” Ileane smirked sheepishly and held up her new engagement ring. Grandma changed her tune and said, “Oh!” And then was happy for her daughter. Both Ileane and Virgil have always been active members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were married on July 22, 1953 in the Idaho Falls Temple. Our Dad rebelliously showed up in his T-shirt and Khakis for photos, much to his mother, Gertrude’s chagrin. Classic Virgil!
Ileane and Virgil’s first home was in his parent’s tiny garage home in Pocatello where their first two children, Diane and Janet were born. Virgil got a job in Southern California and the small family moved to La Puente, California in 1956. Four more children were born there— Rodney, Gary, Jon, and Polly. In 1971 they bought a larger home in Carson, California where their last son, Laron was born. The kids all enjoyed growing up running around in the Southern California sunshine, frequenting Disneyland, and bodysurfing in the beautiful, warm beaches. The Jackson family made many treasured, lifelong friends in the South Bay Area who are like family. Ileane loved to sew, and she made clothes for her kids on a regular basis. If she really loved and admired you, then you have one of her special hand-made Raggedy Ann dolls adorning your home. She’s made so many! Mom served in several church positions, such as children’s music leader, youth teacher, the women’s organization, and over the years participated in hundreds — probably thousands— of kind services for the women and families in the community. She loved doing that so much. She also loved singing in any quartet, duet, or choir that came her way.
In January 1993, during a crazy, record-breaking winter snowstorm, Ileane and Virgil moved from Carson, California to Taylorsville, Utah where they lived for the rest of their years. They truly loved it there. Over the years they made many wonderful friends in Utah, as well.
Ileane has always been the epicenter of our large family’s joy, fun, and happiness! With her husband of over 65 years, their seven children, 26 grandchildren, and 50 great-grandchildren (and counting), she has never lacked for love, respect, laughter, and adoration. Sometimes so much so that she would kind of wish for a little “time to herself”. She always had time for each of them with an open-door policy, and there were constant pop-ins. There was never a song she couldn’t sing or a jig she wouldn’t dance. She rarely missed an opportunity to brighten a stranger’s day by talking and laughing with them, a baby she wouldn’t snuggle and calm down magically in her arms, a young child who didn’t instantly adore her, or a teenager who didn’t think she was the coolest granny around. Everyone seemed to feel her love for them instantly. She will be so very missed by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Our mother is an example of a true angel on earth and the epitome of Christlike goodness! I’m not kidding when I say she’s a gem! Oh, we’re going to really, really miss that dear lady of our ours!!
Ileane is survived by her children, Diane Lee Capanna (Michael), Janet Ilene Rahlf (William), Rodney Harrison Jackson (Starla), Gary Virgil Jackson (Merrie), Jon Andrew Jackson (Joan), Polly Ann Daw (Tracy) and Laron Edwin Jackson; and by her 36 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren.
A small family graveside service will be held in her honor on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale where she will be laid to rest with her sweetheart and the love of her life, Virgil. She never got over missing him. There are millions of tears at her loss, but also much heartfelt love and joy in celebrating a woman we all treasure beyond the finest riches and have been blessed to call our Mother!
So dear Mom, we know you “caught a glimpse of heaven and it took your breath away”! We feel peace as we envision lots of hugging and delighted laughter now that you are reunited with your sweet parents, Hazel & Willis, and your siblings Blaine, Carole, Sherman, Willis, Betty, John & baby Gary. Please hug them all for us. We especially love imagining our dad smiling his classic Virgil smile as you enter in, and rushing over to hug and kiss his little girlfriend! (Oh wait... dad doesn’t rush!)️ So in your final game on earth, you were 1st Runner Up in King of the Hill as your dear baby sister, Edna is the last Norton standing. We love you a million bushels and pecks and hugs around your neck! ‘Til we meet again, and when we do, please smile with your familiar, authentic joy and hug us tight!!
All our forever love, your children — Diane, Janet, Rod, Gary, Jon, Polly & Laron
Graveside services will be held Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 2:00 p.m. at Utah Veterans Memorial Park, 17111 South Redwood Road, Bluffdale, Utah.
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