Obituary: Joy Diann Haroldson Jackson

Longtime educator, great-grandmother, world traveler, married 65 years

Joy Diann Haroldson Jackson died peacefully surrounded by her family on May 16 at the age of 86. Joy will be remembered as a trailblazer — she was the first in her family to earn a college degree and was a leader in public education.

Born in the small town of Lindstrom, Minnesota, “America’s Little Sweden,” on July 13, 1936, she was the oldest child of Franklin Haroldson and Maydelle Magner Haroldson. She graduated from Long Beach’s Woodrow Wilson High School in 1954, then attended UCLA, graduating in 1958 with a degree in art history and education.

While at UCLA she met the love of her life, James Clark Jackson. They were married in 1958 at Wayfarers Chapel in Palos Verdes. In 1963 they moved to Claremont, where they would remain for the next 60 years. In 2019 they became residents of Claremont Manor. They were married for 65 years and had two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

She was a passionate teacher for 25 years, including 22 at Vista del Valle Elementary School in the Claremont Unified School District. She earned her master’s degree in education at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She deeply valued public education, and especially enjoyed encouraging and expanding her students’ reading, learning, and artistic talents. A memorable highlight of her teaching career was preparation for her favorite annual event at Vista del Valle, multicultural day, which she cofounded.

After retiring from teaching she loved spending time with her family and traveling the world to experience different cultures and landscapes. She was fortunate to travel with her husband Jim and other family members to more than 40 countries and nearly all of the states. She was inspired by Scandinavian design and traditions, and treasured ocean vacations. In 1982 she had an extraordinary travel experience with her daughter Diann, visiting Scandinavian ancestry relatives in Vaxjo, Sweden and Aarhus, Denmark. She continued to stay in contact with those relatives throughout her life and had the joy of hosting them when they traveled to California.

She was an avid reader, artist, cookbook collector, and renowned for her family recipes and cooking. She was also a lifelong sports fan and enjoyed cheering for her children and grandchildren as well as watching just about every professional and collegiate sport. Above all she was a dedicated UCLA Bruin fan. She and her husband were UCLA football season ticket holders for decades, and celebrated many Rose Bowl tailgate parties with their family and friends.

During her lifetime she volunteered and was a leader for the Assistance League, Junior League, the United Fund of Pomona Valley, the Association of American University Women, the Claremont and Pomona Presbyterian churches, and served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Sumner Elementary School in Claremont.

She is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, James (Jim) Jackson of Claremont; children Diann Jackson Callaghan and her husband Kevin, and Scott Jackson and his wife Debbie; grandchildren Connor Callaghan and his fiancé Melyssa, Tyler Callaghan, Megan Jackson Watne and her husband Reed, Kristin Jackson Robertson and her husband Matthew, and Clark Jackson and his fiancé Katie; and great-grandchildren Jackson Watne, Eden Watne, and Lillian (Lily) Robertson.

She also is survived by her brother Frank Haroldson and his wife Joan, of Oceanside, California; her sister Anne Klenck and her husband Michael, of Edmonds, Washington; sisters-in-law Jane Jackson Glessner of Fullerton, California, and Carol Jackson of Fresno, California; nine nieces and five nephews; and her uncle James Magner of Plymouth, Minnesota.

A memorial celebration of life will be held at Claremont Manor. For additional information email Diann Callaghan at or Scott Jackson at


Submit a Comment

Share This