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R.I.P. Jackie Washington

Posted by Jim Yates on Monday, June 29, 2009

I just got the sad news that my guitar hero for the last 49 years, Jackie Washington, passed away June 29 at 1:22 pm. Jackie was a mentor to many of us who grew up in the Hamilton Ontario vicinity and to many others as well. Although he never crossed the border into the States, he had many fans there as well.

In 1960 I had learned all three chords.  I played a tune called Jack O' Diamonds, learned from a Burl Ives song book, that used two of them. I went to see Jackie at the Black Swan Coffee House on Houston Street in Hamilton and he played the same song using two chords per measure. I went to Waddington School Of Music the next day and bought Mickey Baker's yellow and black Jazz Guitar Book and started trying to play like Jackie. Al Kirby and I included Jack O' Diamonds on our first album, Sittin' In The Kitchen, played, I hope, in Jackie's style.

I got a chance to spend some time with Jackie a few years back and drove from Hamilton to Port Hope and back with Jackie riding shotgun; a conversation that I'll always treasure. Here's a notice that I received from The Jackie Washington Committee:

We regret to announce that our dear beloved friend and unstoppable musical spirit, Jackie Washington has passed away at the age of 89. Jack was taken to hospital 2 weeks ago with a breathing problem and after suffering a heart attack and a series of related episodes, he died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, at 1:22pm today. 

Thankfully, Jackie was able to attend a tribute to his life’s work held at McMaster University on June 3, 2009. Jackie’s archives will be housed in perpetuity in the McMaster University Library Archives, for all to see and enjoy. Jackie was also blessed to live to see his great grandson, Miles. Here is a picture of Jackie with Miles taken on June 3 at McMaster: 
You can see lots of pictures of Jack from this event here:
Thanks to Ron Scheffler for the great photos.
Other announcements will follow. 
On behalf of all of us, thanks for your support over the years.
 The Jackie Washington Committee
 Terry Bramhall, David Kidney, Mose Scarlett, Cathy Powell, Margaret Stowe, Jennie Struiksma, Ken Whiteley. 
In the last weeks and days of his life, we, on the Jackie Washington Committee, were supported by an additional loving Circle of Friends: Ken Whiteley, Irene Manning, Patti Warden, Reg Denis, Tom and Marilyn Scott, James Strecker, Michelle Josef, Graham Rockingham, Albert De Vos and Glenna Green.
> Many others have given their support from afar.

> Cards-notes to:
> Jackie Washington
> 21 Alanson St
> Hamilton ON L8N 1W6
> Feel free to send email to any of us OR or 

> For more info on the Jackie Washington Archives:
> tel: 905-525-9140 ext.22764
> e-mail
> Jackie Washington Archives
> c/o David Kidney
> Mills Library, L118
> McMaster University
> 1280 Main Street West
> Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L6

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