Thomas H. Jackson, huntsman for twenty-five years at the Mission Valley Hunt (KS) and huntsman and Joint-Master of the Coal Valley Hounds (KS), passed away on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at age seventy. Tommy enjoyed a stellar reputation in the hunting world. I can honestly say that I never saw any huntsman more passionate about seeing the job done right.
Born in Bellevue, Pennsylvania on June 19, 1945, to Joseph Henry and Mary Agnes (McAuliffe) Jackson, he went to work at a very young age due to family financial struggles. He loved the outdoors and farm life. One of his first jobs was at a dairy farm in the Sewickley area.
Tommy was drafted into the Army on October 20, 1965 and received an Honorable Discharge two years later. He served one tour in Vietnam with notable honors: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Marksman Rifle Award.
After returning from Vietnam, Tommy went to work as a stable groom at the Allegheny Country Club. He grew fond of horses and horseback riding, and this job launched him on his life-long career. Through the club's affiliation with the Sewickley Hunt, he worked his way up to the position of Professional Huntsman. Foxhunting was not just a job or a hobby for Tommy; it was his passion.