web1_web0527JacksonMemorial01

‘A rare person indeed’

Hundreds celebrate life of late KMMG leader

By Matthew Strother

mstrother@civitasmedia.com

Randy Jackson’s son, Jamey Jackson, holds his daughter, Scarlett, as he and hundreds of attendees at the Kia Training Center on Thursday give his late father ‘one last standing ovation.’
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial02.jpgRandy Jackson’s son, Jamey Jackson, holds his daughter, Scarlett, as he and hundreds of attendees at the Kia Training Center on Thursday give his late father ‘one last standing ovation.’ Matthew Strother | Daily News
Hyun-Jong Shin, president and CEO of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, memorializes Randy Jackson on Thursday at the Kia Training Center.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial03.jpgHyun-Jong Shin, president and CEO of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, memorializes Randy Jackson on Thursday at the Kia Training Center. Matthew Strother | Daily News
The Rev. Arthur Williams speaks to the crowd Thursday at the Kia Training Center.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial04.jpgThe Rev. Arthur Williams speaks to the crowd Thursday at the Kia Training Center. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Pallbearers lead the casket out of the conference room of the Kia Training Center on Thursday at the end of the celebration of life for the late Randy Jackson.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial05.jpgPallbearers lead the casket out of the conference room of the Kia Training Center on Thursday at the end of the celebration of life for the late Randy Jackson. Matthew Strother | Daily News
A bagpiper plays ‘Amazing Grace’ at the close of the celebration of life service for Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial06.jpgA bagpiper plays ‘Amazing Grace’ at the close of the celebration of life service for Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Bill Parr speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial07.jpgBill Parr speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Mel Haas speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial08.jpgMel Haas speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Joe Malone speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial09.jpgJoe Malone speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Maurice Raines speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial10.jpgGeorgia State Patrol Sgt. Maurice Raines speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Former County Commission Chairman Ricky Wolfe speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial11.jpgFormer County Commission Chairman Ricky Wolfe speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Stuart Countess speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial12.jpgStuart Countess speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Paul Grimes speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial13.jpgPaul Grimes speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial14.jpgFormer West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson speaks at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Nancy Miller sings and Matt Morris plays guitar for a rendition of ‘Go Rest High on That Mountain’ at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial15.jpgNancy Miller sings and Matt Morris plays guitar for a rendition of ‘Go Rest High on That Mountain’ at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Randy Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Attendees, at the request of Randy Jackson’s son, give ‘one last standing ovation’ at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Jackson on Thursday.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_0527JacksonMemorial16.jpgAttendees, at the request of Randy Jackson’s son, give ‘one last standing ovation’ at the celebration of life ceremony for the late Jackson on Thursday. Matthew Strother | Daily News
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal welcomes attendees to the celebration of life ceremony of the late Randy Jackson, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia chief administrative officer, Thursday at the Kia Training Center.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_web0527JacksonMemorial01.jpgGeorgia Gov. Nathan Deal welcomes attendees to the celebration of life ceremony of the late Randy Jackson, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia chief administrative officer, Thursday at the Kia Training Center. Matthew Strother | Daily News

WEST POINT — A passionate worker and family man, innovative thinker and community-minded philanthropist. Those were common themes shared by friends and family who remembered the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.

The chief administrative officer for the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point died suddenly on May 20. Thursday, hundreds of people came to pay their respects at a packed Kia Training Center for a public celebration of life service.

“I am very thankful I had the opportunity to call him my friend,” said Gov. Nathan Deal, who opened the ceremony. “He was a great ambassador, not just in the state of Georgia, but literally around the world.”

He lauded Kia for hiring Jackson, who “served them well,” Deal said.

“He has made sure the workforce is successful worldwide,” he told the crowd. “All those that are here today I’m sure can attest to that.”

He credited Jackson’s hard work for helping create up to 15,000 jobs in Georgia associated with Kia and its suppliers.

“He was a rare person indeed,” Deal said.

Jackson also was a proud father and grandfather, as all speakers noted. His granddaughter, Scarlett, was the apple of his eye.

Hyun-Jong Shin, president and CEO of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, recalled Jackson’s passion for KMMG and his family. He also noted Jackson’s focus on employees.

The Rev. Arthur Williams said Jackson was always talking about family and friends.

“He was always talking about people,” Williams said.

Jackson’s focus on people was apparent in his initiatives to help people in the community, Williams and others noted.

“He saw he had the means to make life better,” Williams said. “Whatever he put his hands on prospered, whatever he touched moved in a positive direction.”

Speakers noted his contributions to THINC College and Career Academy for career-focused high schoolers and the AWIM program to help inject more science, technology, engineering and math curriculum into public elementary schools.

“He was trying to get his community better,” Williams said. “He was trying to get the people around him better.”

Deal noted it was fitting the ceremony was held at the training center, a facility Jackson was proud of. He said Jackson relished the learning taking place at the facility.

“He encouraged learning to obtain skills for employees to be not only successful at Kia, but in life,” Deal said.

Jackson’s son, Jamey Jackson, said his father left huge shoes to fill, “bigger than I can ever hope to fill.”

His father wanted to see people work united toward a common goal, “in the case of Kia it was to become the number one auto maker in the world.”

He hoped the company and employees would continue that goal and to adhere the “Kia Way” his father had championed, and the younger Jackson said was the foundation of KMMG. That included not just making the facility a top company, but improving the quality of life for employees.

“I sincerely hope you can continue as workers and as individuals to become the best of the best you can be,” he said.

Jamey Jackson ended the ceremony by asking all attendees to rise and give his father “one last standing ovation that, wherever he is, will let him know that he will be missed, that will shake this building and possibly break barriers.”

The crowd obliged.

Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.