Sam Jackson will not only be a loss to the Native community, but to all of Southeast Alaska, those who knew him said Monday.
Jackson, grand camp president of Alaska Native Brotherhood, died Sunday of throat cancer at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
"It's a huge tragedy not just for Kake, but for the whole Southeast region," said Peter Metcalfe of Juneau.
Metcalfe knew Jackson as president of Kake Tribal Corp., a Native for-profit company. Metcalfe, who knew Jackson for more than a decade, produced annual reports and newsletters for Kake Tribal, he said.
Family friend Dewey Skan of Klawock knew Jackson his whole life and would play with him in Gold Medal basketball tournaments. Jackson, who was in his early forties, was a 19-year Gold Medal veteran.
"He was always a gentleman and up to date on issues that affected all Alaskans," Skan said.
ANB Executive Committee member Ron Williams went to school with Jackson's late father, Sam, and later met the son.
"They can get a man on the moon but they can't cure cancer," said Williams.
Williams, who knew Jackson for more than 20 years, described him as someone with a "sparkling personality who was knowledgeable about a lot of things."
Jackson's family was scheduled to return to Juneau today. A public memorial service will be held at 7 tonight at ANB Hall, said Doloresa Cadiente of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Executive Committee.
Jackson, born in Kake, was diagnosed with the cancer in January and had spent recent months in the hospital receiving treatment.
He will be buried in Kake.
He leaves behind a wife and four children.