By Evette D. Champion
Susie Jackson was the oldest victim of the church slaying at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17th. At 87 years old, her family never envisioned that she would die this way.
Tim Jackson, her grandson from Euclid, said his family was saddened and shocked when they learned of the shooting that resulted in the death of their beloved matriarch.
In Cleveland, Ohio, the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church held a prayer vigil on Thursday for the victims, which was organized by Reverend Charles P. Lucas. Tim and his family members attended while his father, Walter Jackson, traveled to South Carolina after he learned of his mother’s death.
“It really hit me last night. It kind of hit my dad hard, because he’s an only child, so we’re trying to be there for him,” Tim Jackson said. “My mom, she’s dealing with it real hard today. I don’t think it’s going to hit me hard again until we travel to South Carolina.”
It is said that Ms. Jackson was kind who would not hesitate to open her home to friends or family. She was a member of the church choir, where she sang soprano. She was also a member of the Senior Citizens group. Long-time friend, Felicia Breeland, recalls that during a menu planning meeting, Jackson volunteered to bring rice for all the seniors.
“She cared about others,” Breeland said. “She would lend a helping hand, and do anything she could help with. She was that type of person. Very friendly.”
As she grew older, Jackson didn’t let her age slow her down, as she would find ways she would help family and neighbors whenever she could.
“She was a loving person,” she said. “She was helpful, she would just go and do things. She didn’t care how old she was, she was still active.”
Jackson’s family is still in mourning and Breeland says she visits the family often since the tragic event.
“I’m almost like another sister to them,” Breeland said. “I was in shock, I could hardly sleep. They have all my prayers and sympathies.”
Jackson also has family in Newark, New Jersey. Walter Jackson, Jr. sat down with ABC 7 News and shared memories he had of his grandmother. Through tears, he shares that the funeral for his grandmother will be held at the very church she was murdered in.