Dorothy Ola Jackson (1933-2021)
November 1, 2021

Some leaders do well in politics, some in philanthropic areas, the medical field, some in business, entertainment, or education. A few leaders are faithful servants of the people, while others appear to be self-serving. “Aunt” Dorothy was a faithful servant.

Dorothy Ola Jackson (1933-2021) was an exceptional leader who managed with grace and eloquence at every job she ever had while being tough but fair and brilliant. Her work ethic may have been encouraged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he told her, “If you sweep the floor, sweep it like Beethoven,” make that job the very best you can make it.

Dorothy was comfortable with entertaining people such as Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee or riding on a school bus with Akron high school children and leading them in a chorus of “the wheels on the bus go round and round, all the way through the town.” It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, young or old, famous or unknown; she made everyone feel special. She knew how to connect with people because she loved them and wanted to make a difference in their lives. She gave a voice to the poor, the disabled, and the underrepresented.

Politicians wanted an audience with her, and non-profits wanted her advice; everyone wanted to be in her presence because of her quick laugh and joy for life. In her office, as Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations, her walls were covered with plaques, citations, children’s art, and mementos that illustrated a life well-served. She was appreciated and honored with love.

Dorothy was a big advocate of education and promoting leadership training for all ages. She had turtle sculptures throughout her home and would often have a turtle pin on her lapel. She would say, “The turtle knows how to get ahead. It sticks its head out to move forward, but when things get tough, it pulls its head inside the shell.”

Her faith and family were the centers of her life, but at the top of that family list were her daughter, Renee (David) Aniere, and granddaughter, Anja Aniere. Thank you, Dorothy, for everything you have done for your family, friends, and the City of Akron. You once said that “love led you to leadership,” but love led everyone to you.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”