October 22, 2019
No one is going to win a prize for identifying the licence plates on a vehicle that is parked near 135 Ferguson Street in Guelph most Fridays.  These special plates read DOC DOC and belong to non-other than Rotarian Dr. C. Harold “Hal” Jackson, a member of the Rotary Club of Guelph who holds two PhD degrees (Doc Doc) from the University of Western Ontario, now corporately branded as Western University since 2012.
Hal was born in London and spent his early years growing up on the family farm just west of Arva that had been originally purchased by his great grandfather William from the Canada Company in 1839.  William’s father Robert Jackson and his young family, emigrated to Canada from County Armagh, Ireland, a seven week journey on a small sailing ship across the mighty Atlantic to Quebec City.  From there the family travelled overland to London arriving 200 years ago in 1818 to clear the land and set up their homestead.  Hal is now the fourth generation to live on the farm purchased by William
Like many farm children in rural Ontario, Hal walked and/or cycled a little over a mile to a one-room schoolhouse, which is still standing, for grades one to eight.  For his secondary school, he had the luxury of a riding on school bus to Medway High School in Arva for five years. 
Hal belonged to 4-H Clubs and experienced leadership and decision-making at an early age from the judging competitions during this time.
By the time he had completed high school, his father suffered from debilitating arthritis and was unable to do much of the farm work.  Although they had other help on the farm, Hal made the decision that he could attend university while living at home and taking on many of the family responsibilities to help his mother.  Hal was destined for a career in research encouraged or perhaps influenced by his high school chemistry teacher.  He did his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Western followed by two PhDs – one in Organic Chemistry and the other in Pharmacology.  One of the happiest times in his life was at university where Hal found life to be carefree and rewarding.  Following graduation Hal joined Ortho Pharmaceutical in Toronto. During this time, the opportunity to join McNeil Pharmaceutical, another Johnson & Johnson Company, arose. This company was building a new facility north of Toronto and the challenge of designing and staffing was not to be passed. Later, Johnson and Johnson Baby Products Company in Guelph was given the responsibility of managing the non-prescription business of McNeil Pharmaceutical and this new challenge beckoned. In 1980 he joined this company, later to become McNeil Consumer Healthcare.  There he met Paul Truex who introduced him to Rotary in 1983, and is now going into his 37th year as a Rotarian.  
Hal is a strong supporter of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Rotary International and a Paul Harris Society Member.  It may not be well-known throughout the Rotary Club of Guelph but Hal Jackson, for many years, has managed the funds that flow through Rotary for the many Rotary International Grants and International Service Projects that have been successfully carried out for so many years by Rotary Guelph through their International Service Committee members. 
While at Western, Hal met his life-long partner and wife, Nancy, a graduate of the Faculty of Music.  They have three children – Barbara, a professional musician (Principal Horn with the Hartford Symphony), Jonathan, a Financial Advisor/Planner (Sun Life Financial), and Allen, a commercial pilot (now completing a degree in Business and Economics) in Winnipeg.  They have eight grandchildren.  Relationships in the Guelph community are maintained as members of the Guelph Chamber Choir, practising Monday night at the Guelph Music Centre.  Among other travels, tours in Europe and the UK several times with this Choir have been memorable experiences.  While living in Guelph, Hal gave 17 years of volunteer service with the local VON Board, and volunteer committee experiences with the Upper Grand School Board, Guelph Chamber Choir, Guelph Spring Festival/Edward Johnson Music Foundation, and involvement with church choir and governance.
Life on the family farm near London has come a long way since 1839.  After Hal retired in 2004 as VP of Product and Business Development at McNeil, he and Nancy decided to move back to the farm.  It was time to renovate and with the architectural acumen of fellow Rotarian Jim Fryett, they were able to preserve the architecture of the house that had been Hal’s childhood home, and built a new modern home with identical design elements plus all of the modern conveniences.  Nancy and Hal are truly living and enjoying the 21st century while cherishing memories of the past.  Hobbies in his spare time include singing and those that involve working with his hands.
Well-respected by fellow Rotarians, Hal Jackson embodies all aspect of the 4-way test and service above self completely.  He is generous, modest, unpretentious, and has a great sense of humour.