Cover photo for Michael "Mike" Jackson's Obituary
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1954 Michael "Mike" 2023

Michael "Mike" Jackson

December 24, 1954 — September 20, 2023

Indianapolis

On Sept. 20, our hearts were touched forever as we said goodbye to a remarkable soul. Michael Allen Jackson, a man of kindness and unwavering grace, passed away peacefully while holding the hand of his loving wife. Mike's journey was marked by a courageous battle against early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but through it all he never let go of his generous spirit, infectious humor, and enduring charm. Michael was born on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1954, in the small town of Tipton, Indiana. Born to Hovie and Olean Jackson, he was the youngest of four children. As a young man, Mike found his passion for agriculture while growing up on his family’s farm and participating in 4-H, and Future Farmers of America. In 1979, Mike graduated from Purdue University with highest distinction, earning a degree in agricultural economics. His classmates knew him as a tireless leader who was committed to making everyone’s college experience better. He was elected president of the university’s student body and president of his Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He also received the prestigious G.A. Ross Award, which is presented to an outstanding senior who has demonstrated high standards of academic achievement and outstanding leadership and strength of character. Mike also served as an Indiana State FFA officer and was the 1975- 76 National FFA secretary. Mike’s excellence did not go unnoticed, as Purdue honored him in 1996 with its Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award. He continued his leadership journey by serving as the grand president of Alpha Gamma Rho, where he was later named “Brother of the Century” in recognition of his profound contributions to both the fraternity and the agribusiness industry. In 1979, Mike, along with Dr. Dave Downey, founded ABG Inc., an agribusiness training and consulting company. Under Mike’s visionary leadership as chairman, president, and CEO, ABG became a highly regarded consulting company. In 2005, ABG merged with Adayana, and Mike assumed the role of president and CEO from 2008 to 2011. Mike's influence extended far beyond the boardroom. He was a prolific writer and a sought-after speaker, sharing his expertise through business and trade articles. He co-authored Agri-Business Selling and Pro-Selling, the standard texts for enhancing agribusiness sales skills. Mike also lent his experience to two public boards: Terra Nitrogen and Renewable Energy Group. Outside of work, Mike cherished moments on the golf course, tranquil days boating and fishing, exploring far-off lands, cheering for his beloved Purdue teams, and, above all, spending time with his loved ones. He was a charter member of Geist Christian Church and served on the board of directors for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Foundation. Mike was preceded in death by his parents, his son Christopher Michael Jackson, and his sister Juanita Smith. Mike's memory lives on through his devoted wife, Kathleen Jackson; his children Matthew Jackson (Susan)and Kathryn Jackson (Griffin Tyner); his stepchildren Kristine Weddell, Amanda Berkemeier (Stephen), and Zachary Toney; and his grandchildren Christopher, Lucas, and William Jackson and Ava, Abigail, and Sophia Berkemeier. Mike also leaves behind his siblings Doris Morris and Lena Richey. In this time of remembrance, all are warmly invited to honor Mike by attending his Oct. 12 Celebration of Life Service at Geist Christian Church (Mud Creek Campus), located at 8550 Mud Creek Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46256. There will be a reception from 1-2 p.m. followed by a service at 2 p.m. Flowers are welcome, and contributions can be made to Geist Christian Church at www.geistchristian.org and/or the “Michael A. Jackson FFA Memorial Scholarship Fund” which can be sent to the National FFA office at 6060 FFA Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46278 or made online at: https://ffa.givenow.stratuslive.com/ffadonate. Please check the box “Gift Options” and type, “In Honor of Mike Jackson”. The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the Traditions Memory Care staff at Brookside in McCordsville, Indiana, and Paradigm Health Hospice Services for the comfort and exceptional care they provided to Mike during his journey. As we bid a loving farewell to Mike, we are reminded that even in the face of adversity, his spirit shone brightly, lighting our lives with love, laughter, and an enduring legacy. His memory will forever warm our hearts, and his love will sustain us through the years to come.

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