Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pioneering outdoorsman Bill Jackson dead at 98

Bill Jackson, a pioneering outdoorsman who founded an adventure-based sporting goods store that bears his name, died this morning at a St. Petersburg nursing home three weeks after suffering a fall at home.

The 98-year-old, who also helped to introduce scuba diving to the west coast of Florida, started his outdoors career as a minimalist. In 1930, the 15-year-old Atlanta native hitched a ride across the country to the Grand Canyon, which he explored with friends sans equipment.

"They just stripped off their shirts down to their jeans and started climbing," said his son, Darry Jackson, 65. When they got down to the canyon floor, into the heat, they realized that it might have been a good idea to pack water. "So they looked around and found some old whiskey bottles floating in the river," he added.

Bill Jackson was also the first president of the invitation-only St. Pete Underwater Club, now known as the club for hard-core, blue-water hunters. His wife of 67 years, Harriet, was a frequent companion on his outdoor adventures.

In 1946, after serving with distinction in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Maj. William B. Jackson returned to MacDill Field in Tampa, where he hoped to open a construction business. But as luck would have it, "Mr. J," as he is called by friends and family, began buying and selling Army surplus, which eventually turned into an outdoors store called Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure, now on a wooded patch of land on U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park.

Pioneering outdoorsman Bill Jackson dead at 98 01/29/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row

    Blogs

    Coming off Sunday's win over the Mariners - just their fourth in the last 16 games - the Rays are looking to make it two in a row tonight as they take on the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

    The teams played last week in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking three of four.

    RHP Chris …

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  2. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays

    Blogs

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.
  3. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom

    Bucs

    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Armwood vs. Tampa Bay Tech teeming with Division I-A talent

    Footballpreps

    Armwood High School strong safety Caleb Sutherland (18) breaks a tackle to score a pick-six during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  5. Bucs bring back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete

    Bucs

    Just 12 days before the NFL makes its final cuts, the Bucs have added another position battle, signing back long snapper Andrew DePaola to compete with veteran Garrison Sanborn.

    Andrew DePaola is making an impressive recovery from the torn ACL he suffered in last year's season finale against Carolina in January.  [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]