More than 200 people gathered in Eva Walker Park on Saturday, July 10 to celebrate the life of First Lady Kristy Jackson of Poplar Fork Baptist Church; Jackson died July 1 after a years-long battle with cancer. She was 43.
Jackson's husband, the Rev. Earl Jackson, serves as a pastor at Poplar Fork; the family previously attended Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenton. The couple has two daughters, Maddison and Nicole.
Attendees gained inspiration from a lineup of regional gospel bands and singers, enjoyed soul food provided by Sibby's Restaurant and shared their condolences with the Jackson family.
The "celebration" part of the event was most fully on display during the afternoon, as speakers and performers emphasized the importance of finding joy even in some of the hardest moments a family can experience.
"Thank you God for food, folks and good music," prayed Skip Carter during the event, setting the tone for the day. Friends and family were eager to share happier memories with the family. A memorial service for Jackson was held the previous day
The event also served as a fundraiser for the Jacksons, and local churches have already raised thousands to help offset the cost of years of medical bills.