Born on March 13, 1971 in Omaha, Nebraska, Dereck Wayne Jackson was the second-born son of Archie J. Jackson (deceased) and Lizzie M. Jackson, and brother of Reginald Earl (deceased) and Demetria Denise. An Air Force family, the Jacksons traveled globally including spending eight years in Athens, Greece. Dereck considered Athens his second home and it was the place he would meet many life-long friends and his future wife. The Jackson family eventually settled in San Antonio, Texas where Dereck would attend Judson high school.
Dereck was uniquely Dereck. It would be impossible to sum up the totality of him. He was a master storyteller, food lover and culinary specialist, animal lover and rescuer, music enthusiast, entertainer, and traveler. Dereck entered a room unabashedly fully himself and instantly it was awash with his booming contagious laugh. With him, love was tangible and palpable and where others saw the fallibilities, imperfections, and cracks in people, he was free of judgment, condemnation, and criticism and saw the cracks as potential spaces for light.
A life-long learner who sought adventure and jumped in with both feet and wholeheartedness, Dereck pursued multiple careers from acting and modeling to mortgage banker, personal trainer, carpenter, welder, entrepreneur, and, his most fulfilling role, helping persons with disabilities. Dereck attended Centura College in Richmond, VA for nursing, received an associate degree from Northern Virginia Community College in Woodbridge, VA, and attended Howard University in Washington D.C., where he was pursuing a degree in social work.
When Dereck was 13, he made a promise to marry his childhood sweetheart. It was a promise kept. Dereck and Tonja married in New Orleans in 2004. He was a husband who loved with the whole of his heart. He was a practical joker and who kept his home light-filled and joyous. He was a gentle, kind, and supportive best friend. Dereck was the axis on which the world turns. Dereck and Tonja will eternally be connected in love.
Above all things, Dereck was a dad. A superhero to his beloved Genesis, Kennedy, and Zachary, he greeted them with his infectious smile and wrapped them in a bear hug with sound effects at every opportunity. He was a patient and fun dad who played with abandon and made space for them to talk to him about anything. He volunteered at school and was the loudest parent cheering from the sidelines. He Inspired and encouraged them to live joy-filled lives and gave them the courage to do so. He taught them that life can be beautiful.
His love for his family was unflinching and unquestionable. Despite relocating multiple times, Dereck remained close to his mother. He could often be heard recounting his latest adventure to her. His love and respect for his mother were evident in the way he treated his own girls. Dereck was also a doting and protective big brother and best friend to Demetria. One of his greatest honors was to walk her down the aisle when she married Mr. Herman Mason III.
Uncle Dereck was the favorite uncle to Reginald, Jaylah, Jakalya, Jordan, Marialena, Xavier, Melina, Sydney, and Lauryn. He loved his nieces and nephews as though they were his own. He loved his extended family too which included in-laws Mary and Aubrey Gooch, sister and brother-in-law Dena Washington and Quentin Gooch, aunts Ruby Harvey and Mildred Chisom, cousins Jeffrey Williams, Kenneth Williams, Vanessa Spears, Bryant “Lane” Chisom and Carrie Benjamin Minor and host of special aunts, cousins, and relatives. Dereck also loved life-long close family friends Emma Gene Hawkins, Fred E. and Karen Porter, and Kristal Reedom.
If Dereck had a say in the matter, no one would want for food, clothing, shelter, or a little kindness. He was a believer; he believed in the goodness of people and never met a stranger. There are countless examples of his random acts of kindness in delivering food to the hungry, toys to children in need at Christmas, offering people places to stay, and giving his last dollar to help someone in need. He made a difference in so many lives.
Dereck was a man of faith. He believed in God’s grace and mercy. At the age of 49, Dereck left this life. He was a husband, father, son, brother, uncle. He was a good human being. A do-gooder. A good soul and soulmate. A best friend. He is dearly, dearly loved and missed.
Due to Covid restrictions, A Celebration of Life will be held for family and friends at a later date. In lieu of flowers and for additional information, please click the "Ways to Help" link at the top of this page.
Just a note: The Jackson Family expresses their appreciation to CaringBridge for hosting this memorial page. There are links on this page if you'd like to support the website. However, if you would like to donate to the family to help cover immediate and unexpected expenses, please make sure to visit the GoFundMe campaign on the "Ways to Help" page. Your love and support mean so much - thank you.