Thomas Jackson

Obituary of Thomas Keith Jackson

The sweetest, kindest man, Thomas Jackson aka “Papa”, received his wings on June 12, 2023 surrounded by his family.   His wife, Carol, daughters, Candi Jackson, Sheri Rollo (David) and, grandchildren, Morgan Rozecki (Steven), Kelsey Rollo, Michael Moise (Jessica), Brian Moise (Anaiis) and great-grandchildren, Blake Moise and Jameson Rozecki were all able to see and support him in his final days.

During his 90 years he proudly served his country for three years in the Navy serving on both the USS Baltimore and USS Noble.  He supported his community as a member of Shriners International, was a Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge, booster of the Santa Cruz High Cardinal Club, a longtime member of Santa Cruz Rotary, and was a founding member of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association.  He was also a master rose gardener who was often called upon to rescue friends and families rose gardens.  Another of his passions was animals.  He often arrived home with cats he thought needed rescuing who then became new members of the family.

After being honorably discharged he started in the shoe department with JC Penny Company.  He and his father-in-law, Wilbur Wilson later opened Jackson’s Bootery which became Jackson’s Shoes in downtown Santa Cruz.  His uncanny ability to create and develop something from nothing led to the shoe store being the first retail store in the United States to carry Birkenstocks.  He also pioneered the art of resoling and maintaining Birkenstocks for countless long-time customers. The Birkenstock Company included him in a 2020 documentary about his experience and his relationship with the Birkenstock family.  The store was also famous for the “portable” Merry-Go-Round that delighted hundreds of children and remains a fond memory for many locals.

Papa was a father figure to many, serving as a bright light with his smile, laughter, and compassion.  Anyone who knocked on his door was always welcome.

Above all, Papa’s love for Carol was unwavering over their 70 plus years together.  On the back of their Senior Prom picture in 1951, Papa wrote, “first time I ever wore a white dinner jacket.  Had a very wonderful time with the girl that I hope to marry and love very much.”  Papa left this world knowing he was deeply loved and adored, not just by his family, but all who knew him leaving an unfillable void.  We are grateful for all of our cherished memories.

Special thanks to Todd Trowbridge for his love and guidance, Santa Cruz Post Acute and Hospice of Santa Cruz for taking such great care of our Papa.

The family will hold a celebration of Papa’s life on Saturday, July 22 at 1:30pm at 327 Moore Street, Santa Cruz.  If you have Birkenstocks, feel free to wear them in memory of our Papa.  For additional information please contact Kelsey Rollo at

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Hospice of Santa Cruz.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Thomas
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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