Jack Jefferson Remembered by George Emmons

Jack Jefferson, age 76, one of Monterey’s most revered citizens, a founding member of the Bidwell House Museum and a highly respected Senior Partner of the Bill Brockman Real Estate Agency sadly but peacefully died in his sleep at his home in Monterey on September 1, 2004.

Jack was the son of William Alfred and Bessie Popham Jefferson of Annapolis, Maryland and was a graduate of Franklin Marshall University. After serving with The United States Army in Korea, he attended General Theological Seminary in New York City but elected not to become an Episcopal Minister. At one point in his career, he was a stockbroker on Wall Street and later a professional fundraiser with the firm operated by John and Betty Lee Carlson. Jack was also on the Board of Directors of Miss Halls School in Pittsfield, for which he was also a fundraiser.

It was the Carlsons who introduced Jack and his partner Bill Brockman to Monterey. For a time, they lived on Fairview Road before purchasing the former Eugene Ormandy estate called Fiddletop, so named because another previous owner of the property was the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

As real estate partners, Jack and Bill maintained long-lasting relationships with loyal clients, who became friends. If anyone could mix business and pleasure while making everyone feel like family, they did so for the past quarter of a century. As neighbors, they were no less respected, friends with Edith Wilson, as well as Jack Hargis and David Brush, the original residents and restorers of The Bidwell House.

Jack and Bill were founding trustees of the Museum. They led the development of the collection and archives created by Hargis and Brush at this landmark colonial manse on Art School Road. The Museum and its property have become an important historical resource open to scholars and visitors. Jack was committed to the future well-being of this beautiful property and its continuing development as a center of education and activities for our region.

To all who knew him, Jack was both charismatic and friendly. His quiet sense of decency, fairness, understanding and caring kindness were equalled only by his keen sense of humor. His philosophy in life seemed to accept what may and “what goes around comes around.” And yet, he also had a wonderful time and enjoyed almost every minute of his life.

A Memorial Eucharist Service to honor Jack was held on Saturday, September 11 at Trinity Church in Lenox. There was standing room only, as several hundred and more came to where Jack himself weekly took spiritual sustenance in Holy Communion with his friend Betty Lee (Mack) Carlson with whom he shared his faith. And all those present were invited back to Fiddletop for a celebration of his life. What better way to remember the gracious host and perfect gentleman standing at the door, as he had annually for the end of Summer outdoor reception there, reaching out to friends and neighbors, even as he did every day of his life. When the afternoon sun began to dip toward the hills, some who were not ready to say goodbye lifted their eyes over the gardens, across the valleys to linger in the beauty of the moment perhaps associated with a sense of Jack’s spirit.

May he be encompassed by God’s eternal love.

A memorial to Jack was created at the Bidwell House museum. Those who wish to contribute can send their donations to: Bidwell House Museum, PO Box 537, Monterey, MA 01245.