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Published: Tuesday, 3/25/2008

Sales exec was golf enthusiast

BRYAN - Eugene L. Jackson, 97, a retired executive vice president of sales and marketing for Aro Corp. in Bryan, died Sunday in Sunset Village, Sylvania.

His daughter, Suzanne Bankard, was uncertain of the exact cause of death.

Mr. Jackson was hired by Aro, which makes pumps and dispensing technologies, in 1942.

He began as a salesman and worked his way through the ranks. Mr. Jackson often traveled to the company's many branch plants, his daughter, Marcia Watts, said. He retired in 1975 as executive vice president of sales and marketing.

"He really enjoyed his work. He enjoyed people generally," Ms. Watts said.

Ms. Bankard attributed her father's success to his good listening skills combined with business savvy.

"He loved to listen to people," she said. "He could read them and connect them."

After retiring from Aro, he became a private consultant, Ms. Watts said. "He enjoyed helping other companies grow and change and set goals for themselves," she said.

A Pennsylvania native, Mr. Jackson moved to Detroit at age 10. He was a 1928 graduate of Northwestern High School.

Before joining Aro, he spent several years as a salesman for Spalding Sporting Goods, selling golf equipment in Michigan. He enjoyed golf throughout his life, Ms. Watts said.

Mr. Jackson also volunteered his time to help high school students in the Junior Achievement program, Ms. Watts said, teaching the youths how to market and sell products.

In his spare time, Mr. Jackson and his wife, Helen, traveled, visiting various parts of the world, including Europe and Africa, Ms. Watts said. The couple were married for 69 years.

He attended Wesley United Methodist Church in Bryan and was a member of the Orchard Hills Country Club.

Surviving are his wife, Helen; daughters, Linda McKenney, Suzanne Bankard, and Marcia Watts; sister, Betty Sweeney; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Wesley United Methodist Church. The Oberlin-Ford Funeral Home, Bryan, is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Wesley United Methodist Church.

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