“The breeding cattle improvement industry has lost one of its best very own.”
Bill Jackson passed away in early January at the age of 80 in Pratt.
Cattle breeders in both dairy and beef businesses throughout the world have been directly and indirectly influenced by Bill Jackson.
For nearly four decades, Bill served as fieldman and artificial insemination instructor for the Kansas Artificial Breeding Unit (KABSU) at Manhattan.
A cattle geneticist at heart, Bill entered the profession when artificial insemination was a relatively new route to improving cattle.
Likely most dairymen and beef cattle producers who do artificial insemination knew or were trained by Bill Jackson. He traveled the Midwest both training and doing artificial insemination work and bull semen collection for major operations.
Cattle breeders were met and advised personally when determining which sires to mate to their cows. Most conscientious selection was made of bulls determining suitable quality for collecting semen to be distributed worldwide.
Born in 1942, Bill grew up on a Pagosa Springs, Colorado, ranch developing love for agriculture, wildlife, and athletics. His job was taking care of the cow herd, especially during calving season.
Bill still found time to hunt, fish and became an outstanding athlete on state championship football, basketball and baseball teams.
Attending Colorado State University studying agriculture education, Bill met two people who changed his life forever.
Eileen Doherty became his wife of 57 years and mother of their three sons. College academic advisor Tom Sutherland guided Bill into the field of cattle genetics which became his lifetime career.
Upon college graduation, Bill and Eileen moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where Bill started working for KABSU. Sons Bill, Joe, and Mike were born to the couple who soon started building their own cattle operations near Olsburg.
Despite unexpected loss of son Joe, the family became very active in the community. Bill coached athletic teams of which their sons were members and was on the school board initiating an agriculture curriculum.
He was a director the Pottawatomie County Rural Water District Number 2 which Eileen founded and managed. Leaders of agriculture youth organizations, strong in faith Bill and Eileen served diverse capacities in their Seven Dolors Catholic Church.
First acquaintance with Bill was traveling throughout the Midwest with him to write stories about select breeders utilizing KABSU services.
Mutual interests soon lead to close friendship and all of the Jackson family attending annual ranch production sales. They bought a couple of Quarter Horse colts and regularly assisted in all facets of the horse auction.
After retirement from KABSU and dispersing personal ranching operations, Bill spent the last ten years living near Preston, Kansas. He assisted with care of Eileen whose health had declined.
Bill enjoyed helping Mike and wife Sarah with their agriculture operations. Pride apparent, Bill was a regular attendee at three granddaughters many sports, agriculture, and community activities.
Eileen passed away September 20, 2021, with Bill’s passing January 8, 2023. They are survived by their sons Bill and Mike, and their families including five grandchildren.
Services were at Seven Dolors Catholic Church with interment of Bill beside Eileen at the Mariadahl Cemetery, Olsburg.
Bill Jackson served many years as fieldman and artificial insemination instructor for the Kansas Artificial Breeding Unit (KABSU) at Manhattan.
Bill and Eileen Jackson were active leaders in many community activities including the rural water district, athletics, youth groups, school, and church.