Co-founder of Cape's Red House center dies

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Jane Randol Jackson, a co-founder of the Red House Interpretive Center and a former director of the county archive center, died Monday in Florida. (Southeast Missourian file)

Sharing her love of local history with area families was Jane Randol Jackson's passion.

The 64-year-old, who was co-founder of the Red House Interpretive Center and former director of the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center, died Monday at her home in The Villages, Fla.

"She's left a great legacy for us as far as local history," said Debra Baughn, who worked with Randol Jackson as a docent at the Red House.

Randol Jackson's interest in history started while working on a family genealogy project as a gift for her parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

"While she was researching her own family, she came across all this local history and wanted to share it," Baughn said.

Her family, the Randols, came to Missouri in 1797 and were among Cape Girardeau's first residents.

As she researched them, she became very interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition and Louis Lorimier.

She served on a national Lewis and Clark bicentennial commission and helped organize a bicentennial commission in Cape Girardeau. The local group staged a re-enactment and rebuilt the Red House, a replica of the home of Louis Lorimier.

The original Red House, on the parking lot next to St. Vincent de Paul Church, had been destroyed. Randol Jackson helped raise $130,000 for the building and donated $10,000 to the reconstruction.

"There were a ton of people involved with rebuilding the Red House, but none were more passionate than her," said Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau. "She was the driving force to bring that entire idea from drawing board to reality."

The Red House opened Nov. 23, 2003 -- 200 years to the day after the arrival of Lewis and Clark.

Before becoming an advocate for preserving local history, Randol Jackson spent 34 years as a teacher, including four years in Vienna, Austria. She graduated in 1968 from Southeast Missouri State University with degrees in education and French.

Randol Jackson was the first director of the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center, serving from 2001 to 2007.

"She was the one who got all the records organized and made them where they are very useful to the public," said Stephen Pledger, who replaced Jackson after she retired in 2007 and moved to Florida.

The archive center, an office of the Cape Girardeau County government, maintains county records dating back to 1797.

Randal Jackson received The Southeast Missourian's Spirit of America Award in 2008 for her efforts preserving local history.

Beyers Funeral Home in Lady Lake, Fla., is in charge of funeral arrangements.

mmiller@semissourian.com

3888-3646

Pertinent address:

128 S. Main St., Cape Girardeau

Map of pertinent addresses

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