Gussie Arinzie Matthews Jackson was born February 9, 1921 to the late Reverend George Barry Matthews and the late Ophelia Spencer Matthews. She was the youngest of eleven children. She was preceded in death by her older siblings, namely: Lela Ophelia Matthews Flowers, Bessie Matthews Ford, Reverend Willie Douglas Matthews, Gideon Rob Matthews, Malachi Matthews, Jewel Edmonia Matthews Crittenden, Missouri Matthews Ingram, George Edison Matthews, Malcolm Matthews and Hosea Barry Matthews.
Sister Jackson received her early education in the Dale County Public School System. She was active in church since her youth and joined Little Zion A. M. E. Zion Methodist church, where her father was the pastor.
On January 1, 1939, she was united in holy matrimony to Deacon Henry J. Jackson. She joined Union Grove Baptist Chruch where her husband was a member. To that marriage was born 7 children, namely: Arinzie Jackson Steele, Louise Jackson, Leray Jackson, Henry (Gloria) Jackson, Jr. Herman (Alice) Jackson, Attorney Judge Malcolm Jackson, III and Janice Jackson. Sister Jackson’s husband and their daughter, Louise preceded her in death. Additionally, her son-in-law, James Steele and her daughter-in-law, Barbara Howard Jackson preceded her in death. Sister Jackson was blessed with seven grandchildren, Gwendolyn Steele (Gregory) Willis, Atlanta, GA; Gregory (Pat) Jackson, Madison, AL; Dexter (Sonya) Jackson, Decatur, AL: Michelle Jackson, Decatur, AL; Attorney Traci Jackson, Houston, TX; Shanda (Billy Ray) Crittendon, Montgomery, AL; and Dr. Kevin Jackson M.D., Durham, NC; eight great-grandchildren: Christopher Hill, Noelle Hill, Nicole Hill, Chandler Jackson, Avery Jackson, Kennedy Jackson, Makiya Crittendon and Brycen Crittendon; and four great-great grandchildren: Harlow, Holland, Johann, and Hendrix.
Sister Jackson also leaves to cherish her memory several devoted nieces, Bessie Flowers (Willie) Faniel, Nancy Matthews McFarlin and Myrtis Ingram and two devoted nephews, McArthur Crittenden and Samuel J. Roberts along with a host of great, great-great, great-great-great nieces and nephews and two Godchildren, Altha R. Newman and Alton (Barbara) Newman.
Sister Jackson served in numerous capacities at Union Grove Baptist church. She served as a deacon’s wife, on the pastor’s aide board, Mission Ministry, Circle Number One and on many other committees, such as for the Church Anniversary, the Pastor’s Anniversary and Women Day.
We believe that a little over 100 years ago, God looked down from Heaven and saw a Preacher, blessed with a loving wife and ten children. He looked down on a community in Dale County Alabama and we believe he said:” This family is not quite complete. Even though there are ten children in the family, I will give them another girl”. We believe God said “I will mold her, shape her, and cause her to follow the teaching of His son Jesus. She will grow into a Christian woman. She will be loving, kind, dependable, trustworthy, a Christian wife and a Christian mother”.
We believe God said: Her mother will teach her to cook, to sew, to be a loving wife and mother. I will give her a Christian husband for 71 years. Together, they will be the parents of seven children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Oh, she will be a kind caring mother. She will not let anyone or anything come before her family other than God. She will lead them to Jesus. She and her husband will take them to church, teach them strong Christian values and care for their every need. When they grow up they won’t forget and will lead their children and teach them the same way.
Now this daughter of mind will not work outside the home and when her husband had an accident, for 21 years she will be beside him, nursing him, cooking and caring for his every need. She will remember “Honor your father and your mother” and she will instill that in her children.
We believe God said, “I will make a woman who will be true to me and will name her Gussie”. To paraphrase Proverbs, chapter 31, verses 10-31, It is hard to find an excellent wife. She is worth more than rubies. Her husband trust her. She cared for him as long as her husband lived. She likes to work with her hands, cooking, cleaning, and washing. She would get up while it was still dark to prepare food for her family and get her children ready for school. She and her husband made decisions for the children, they set goals and guided them into becoming good Christians. She made sure of what she did was for the good of family. Many times, she worked late into the night. She helped the needy. She made clothes for her family. Her children love her.
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