John F. “Jack” Jackson

John F. “Jack” Jackson
August 7, 1936 – June 24, 2021

Preceded in death by parents, Ralph and Irene Jackson; daughter, Kate Kestel; wife, Dotty; brother, Larry; sister, Pat Gambee. Survived by children: Tom Jackson (Connie), Jackie, Tim Jackson (Patti); Kathy Kalkwarf (Brad); grandchildren: Luke, Jeni, Stacia, Sarah, Maureen, Chris, Tim, Lauren, Zach, Ryan, Mitch, Courtney, Morgen, Patrick, Kara; 10 great-grandchildren; brother Michael; son-in-law Rod Kestel.

VISITATION: Monday, June 28th at 4:30pm with a WAKE SERVICE at 6pm at Creighton Prep High School in the Sullivan Center, 7400 Western Avenue, (Please use the west entrance).  FUNERAL: Tuesday, June 29th at 9:15am at the mortuary to St. John’s Catholic Church at Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, at 10am.  Interment: Calvary Cemetery.  Memorials are directed to the family for Creighton Prep, USA Swimming, or Dementia Society of America

To view live broadcast of the Funeral Services, please go to and click on the “View Live Cast” button on our home page.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 7, 1936, John Francis “Jack’ Jackson was a graduate of Omaha Creighton Prep and Omaha University.  He returned to Creighton Prep in 1959 as the school’s swim coach and full-time as a teacher/coach from 1960-1969.  During his tenure, Jack was an assistant coach on 3 state title football teams and led Prep’s 1969 Swim Team to the school’s first state title in school history.  In addition, he spent 4 years at Lincoln Southeast High School in the same capacity.

Jack would go on to complete a 50-year career in the swimming world at the high school, club, national and international levels.  In total, he coached a 1976 Olympian, four swimmers ranked in the top 25 in the world, over 60 Senior National qualifiers, over 100 Junior National qualifiers and over 150 National Top 16 swimmers.  Jack received the Excellence in Coaching award from the American Swimming Coaches Association for having Nebraska swimmers represented at Nationals for 20 consecutive years.

On the International level, Jack was the team manager of the U.S. Men’s Swimming Team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, a team leader for the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and the head coach of the U.S. Women’s Paralympic Swimming Team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.  In addition, he was on the coaching staff of several Pan-Pacific teams over the years.

Jack’s long career culminated with many honors including inductions into the Creighton Prep Athletic Hall of Fame and the Midwestern Swimming Hall of Fame among others.  The sport that was his passion took him on an adventure around the globe.  His dedication to excellence affected those he coached in a variety of ways, some more profound and life changing than others.  You always knew where you stood with Coach, and he expected as much out of you as he was putting into you.  Us… we just called him Dad.


  • Sam Bryan Prep Class 63 Posted June 25, 2021 3:24 pm

    Coach Jackson helped me through a very difficult time of my life. He showed me that hard work produced its own rewards. He was a fine man and I will remember him always.

  • D.C Heefner (Stemm) Posted June 25, 2021 6:30 pm

    The confidence and values Mr. Jackson instilled in all of us will last a lifetime. After my last swim as an OSAC swimmer he told me I could do whatever I wanted and not to listen to negative people. I also tried to get on his good side often by bringing him orange tootsie roll pops. You will be missed coach!

  • Rich Fitzgerald, Prep ’62 Posted June 25, 2021 7:25 pm

    Coach Jackson was a caring encouraging mentor. I’ve felt his positive influence throughout my life.

  • John Nields Morfin Posted June 26, 2021 6:05 am

    I will offer my mass today, June 26, for Jack and for the members of his dear family. As a classmate ’54, I thanks God for his good and productive life. God bless you all. Fr. Pete Morfin

  • Dan Convery, Prep Class of ’65 Posted June 26, 2021 11:44 am

    Coach was my typing teacher at Prep in 1961. He was tough on his students and expected the best from them. He had a dead aim when tossing the chalkboard eraser at you if you weren’t up to his expectations during class. Upon talking to him during our 50th class reunion in 2015, I mentioned that to him and we both had a good laugh. He also confessed that he didn’t know how to type…but taught the class anyway. We had another laugh. I always had great respect for Coach and I offer my condolences to his family. Rest in Peace, Coach Jackson. I am honored to have known you.

  • Maria Sauvageau Posted June 26, 2021 3:58 pm

    So blessed to be with this family for the past 41 years and personally witnessing the strength of them all. What a beautiful tribute. Hugs and prayers to all for always. One fond memory was while attending the swim trials ( years ago) Mr. Jackson knew all the fine swimmers personally and when we saw him there he proudly presented our Special Olympian daughter with a 1996 Atlanta Olympian pin for her shirt-Standing with all her medals she loved that moment and that pin.

    Thanks for making those little moments special

    with lots of love,

    Maria, Jeff and Ashley

  • Doug Wilnes Posted June 27, 2021 3:05 pm

    Coach jack , I will always be thankful for your support of the many swimmers you coached over the years …including me. We love you and will always remember your Hup! God bless your family and all those whose lives you helped !

  • David Bentz Posted June 27, 2021 9:45 pm

    The Bentz family (the children of the late Cal Bentz), Laura, David, and Matthew extend our condolences to all of the Jackson family. Your father Jack was a strong friend, collaborator, and competitor of our father in the world of Omaha and eastern Nebraska swimming. Our collective memories of these two men coaching and mentoring hundreds of young athletes in the sport of swimming will forever be etched in our minds. His lifelong unwavering dedication to his swimmers through countless long weekend swimming events, late workouts, and the thousands of hours he spent with athletes and their parents should forever be recognized as a testament to his commitment to success beyond himself. May he rest in peace truly and always. With much love, the Bentzes.

  • Tim rogers Posted June 28, 2021 8:39 am

    Love all the jackson family , from all the rogers

  • Dawn Jobes Posted June 28, 2021 8:45 am

    Please accept our condolences to the entire family. We have fond memories of your father. He was a coach at heart. I recall the trip he made to Colorado to see his grandson play in a Lacrosse tournament. He was there for the love and support of his family. We pray you find peace and comfort in the fond memories of your father, grandfather, mentor and friend.

    With love,
    Jamie, Dawn & Matt Jobes

  • Larry J Sawatzki Posted June 28, 2021 2:49 pm

    Condolences to the Jackson family. I will always be indebted to Coach for his commitment to me and my fellow athletes. Coach was always there to provide the discipline we needed and to set an example of proper behavior. May he rest in peace.

  • Tom Jenkins Posted June 28, 2021 3:24 pm

    Jack was an important presence in my younger years, and a friend ever since. My sisters, brothers and I were all pool rats at Brookhill in the 60’s when Jack was coach and pool manager. His own kids were always there too (they lived across the street from the pool!) and became good friends with the younger Jenkins. Later at Prep he was a slave driver in phys ed and also as our swim coach. It’s only as an adult that I came to realize how much time a coach spends if, like Jack, he chooses not to cut corners. The swimmers always groaned about two-a-day practices. But how do you think coach felt?!

    Jack was a strong mentor who taught many that same spirt of not cutting corners, working hard, and doing it right. It’s the reason so many of his swimmers remained his friend forever. We always enjoyed a chat at the Jays games, and at occasional lunches organized by Dan Fry.

    God Bless Coach Jackson

  • Tim Halloran Posted June 29, 2021 9:04 am

    My prayers are with the family. RIP Coach Jackson.

  • Tom Niemann Posted June 29, 2021 6:48 pm

    Coach was an incredible individual and, like so many others reflecting on his life, played a large role in shaping me into the person I am today. That, I say with all sincerity. He was tough – sometimes very tough – but even as a teenager I knew he cared…and cared deeply. Whether he knew it at the time or not he prepared all of us to persevere in a world that isn’t always fair; he taught us that our successes directly related to the work we were willing to put in; and in taking us all over the country he taught us life skills we didn’t even know we were learning. So, to his family I say ‘thank you’ for sharing Coach with us. It’s almost incomprehensible to grasp how many lives he touched during his time. I’m grateful I was one of them. I pray for peace and healing in this difficult time.

  • Pete Larson, LSE Class of ’71, Posted July 1, 2021 6:34 am

    Coach I will never forget you! Coach Jack helped me through one of the toughest times of my life during my senior year of high school. His tough swim practices and especially the two a day practices during Christmas break during high school made me a better person and taught me that hard work will always pay off even though it does not appear to be that way at the time!. He was always there to counsel me when needed. I will never forget climbing the fence at Woods Pool to meet Coach at 6:30 AM during the summer months for one of his HARD workouts before going off to my 8:00 AM job at the Nebraska Games & Parks Commission. Coach rest in peace and we will meet each other again in another life.

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