Larry Jackson, 76, founder and former CEO of Jackson, a national brand marketing and motorsports marketing agency headquartered in Greenville, died Monday, March 13.
A 55-year veteran of the communication industry, Jackson built an agency that has provided marketing strategy and services to globally recognized brands including Ford, BMW, Michelin, BFGoodrich Tires and even the Harlem Globetrotters, according to a news release. In 2010, Jackson assumed the role of chairman of Jackson, with his son Darrell succeeding as CEO.
“Dad was my mentor as a father and as a marketer,” Darrell Jackson said in the release. “For years, I saw him passionately lead brands beyond their potential while also investing in our associates every day. Today, our “north star” is defined by the way Dad lived his life both professionally and personally — uncommonly creative, uncommonly collaborative and always living out the golden rule.”
The roots of Jackson go back to 1980 in Detroit. It was then that Jackson and business partner Sam Dawson opened Jackson-Dawson Communications, an agency created to help automotive brands with product launches and dealer training, the release stated. They soon added a Los Angeles office, and in 1987 Larry moved south to open an office in Greenville.
Eventually, Jackson divested of his interest in Jackson-Dawson Communications, rebranded the agency to Jackson, expanded the company to include Jackson Motorsports Group and opened a West Coast office in San Diego, the release stated. Today, Jackson is 140 people helping to grow brands with a complete offering of fully integrated brand and motorsports marketing services, the release stated.
Jackson began his marketing career serving as a public information officer in the U.S. Army, according to the release. His responsibilities included directing training films and videos and serving as editor of the post newspaper. He was awarded the Army’s Commendation Medal for his services and was awarded an honorable discharge from the Army, the release stated.
From there he joined the Ford Motor Co., where he served as supervisor/marketing services in Ford’s public relations department at world headquarters, according to the release. His responsibilities included overseeing Ford’s extensive driver education program, educational film library, sales training and meeting/presentation development for Ford senior management, as well as coordinating public relations for Ford’s motorsports operations. He then served as vice president and general manager of Wilding Division of Bell & Howell, a major U.S. communications company, and capped his corporate career as senior vice president, Ford Account Group.
Jackson had a bachelor of science degree and a master’s degree in film and video production from Bob Jones University, according to the release. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 2000.
Jackson served on the board of trustees of Bob Jones University from 1982–2016 and served as chairman of the board of trustees from 2013–16, according to the release. He has also served on numerous academic and professional advisory boards, including the Headquarters Recruiting Committee of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Technical College’s foundation board and on the Greenville County Economic Development Board. Additionally, he served on the boards of the Gospel Fellowship Association, The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center, CMI Ministries and L.E.A.D Ministries.
Jackson is survived by Betty, his wife of 54 years; children Darrell (Alicia), Andrea (Matt) and Eric; plus grandchildren Gage, Ellie, Ali, Clayton, Kaine and Merin.
Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, at Calvary Baptist Church, 3810 Grandview Drive, Simpsonville.