DeWayne E. “Dee” Jackson, 80, of rural Larwill, died at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012, at I.U.-Goshen Hospital while surrounded by family members.
He was born July 20, 1931, in Monroe County, Mich. He was raised by Florence (Smith) Elston in Bluffton. He graduated from Bluffton High School in 1950.
He worked at Magnavox. For nearly 50 years, he was a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 103, working as an asphalt plant operator with Daily Asphalt, Reith & Reilly. He retired in 1993 from S.E. Johnson.
A well known drummer and band leader, he played on the radio and performed with many well known bands and singers including Elvis Presley. Dee was the leader of the King Jackson Trio which performed at supper clubs and social events across northern Indiana.
On Jan. 25, 1964, he married Donna (Mort) Gradeless. They made their home in Bluffton and later Blue Lake before moving to their home north of Larwill 40 years ago.
He was a member of the Avion Travelcade Club and an associate member of the Sons of the Revolution of the State of Indiana. Dee loved to travel in his Avion Travel Trailer and in recent years spent the winter months in Florida, specifically Frostproof and Sebring.
Surviving relatives include his wife, Donna; a daughter, Sherry L. (Steven) Lee of Albion; three sons, Dr. Donald E. Gradeless of Winona Lake, Steven W. Gradeless of Almond, Wis. and Rex L. (Sally) Gradeless of Auburn; eight grandchildren, Tim (Rebecca) Lee, Cody Lee, Jennifer Lee, Jason (Denice) Gradeless, Wade Gradeless, Wendy (Clark) Leininger, Rex L. Gradeless II and Kyle Gradeless; and four great-grandchildren, Jordan, Jared and Caleb Gradeless and Ella Leininger.
The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. The burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, Pierceton. The visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Condolences may be sent to www.smithandsonsfuneralhome.com .