No emergency fazed assistant fire chief |
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Day or night, when the phone rang, Regis Jackson would be there to handle any emergency.

Mr. Jackson spent nearly 50 years in the service of the city of Greensburg as a firefighter, civil-preparedness director and city administrator.

Regis E. Jackson, 66, of Boswell, formerly of Greensburg, died of a heart condition Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004, at Westmoreland Regional Hospital in Greensburg.

Fire Chief Ed Hutchinson recalled his assistant fire chief as a dedicated public servant who was willing to respond to any incident — whether it was fighting a fire or recovering a body from the river.

“I’ve always been impressed with Rege’s ability as a firefighter from the time I saw him in action during one of the city’s worst fires, when seven people died at the Larose Shop on Main Street.”

Hutchinson said Jackson was also an excellent scuba diver.

“Rege never hesitated to go when needed, whether it was in Westmoreland, Allegheny, Fayette or Cambria counties. He not only helped to retrieve bodies but evidence being sought by the police department,” Hutchinson recalled.

“In 1977, during the most recent Johnstown flood, Rege volunteered to go and help with the rescue work and stayed there for over a week,” the fire chief said.

Born and raised for a short period of time in Martinsburg, W.Va., Regis Jackson was the only child of Ned Edward and Helen Louise Riley Jackson. His father operated a bakery in Martinsburg.

While growing up in Greensburg, Regis Jackson attended St. Xavier Academy and in 1956 graduated from Greensburg-Salem High School.

In the ensuing years, he was employed by Old Republic Insurance Co., the advertising department of the Tribune-Review in Greensburg, and as administrator for the city of Greensburg. He oversaw the city’s day-to-day operations, including the years he spent as director of the city’s civil-preparedness group. He retired in 2000.

In 1959, Regis Jackson met Carmelita McGrath at Harry’s Pizza Shop on Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg.

“I loved him from the day we first met,” said Mrs. Jackson. “We were married a year later. We were inseparable. Rege was a loving husband, father and grandfather.

“He enjoyed taking us camping in the mountains and going to the shore. In recent years, we spent time in the Laurel Highlands and in Charlotte, N.C.”

Mr. Jackson was a life member of Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department Hose Company No. 1. He joined the department Nov. 11, 1957, and gave 47 years of service.

He was also a member of the Pennsylvania State Firemen’s Association and the Westmoreland County Firemen’s Association.

Mr. Jackson is survived by his wife, Carmelita L. McGrath Jackson; sons, Thomas Frederick Jackson and his wife, Pamela Jo, and David Edward Jackson and his wife, Beth Ann, all of Greensburg; daughters, Cynthia L. Henry and her husband, Earl J., of Greensburg, and Faith Jane Petho and her husband, Douglas Alen, of Charlotte, N.C.; and four grandchildren.

There will be no public visitation. Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial Mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Chestnut Ridge, with the Rev. Simon J. Toth as celebrant.

Private interment will follow at Greensburg Catholic Cemetery.

Bacha Funeral Home Inc., Greensburg, is in charge of arrangements.

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