Jackson, who was elected to represent District 6 in 2007, submitted the letter about 4 p.m., saying that his departure from city politics would take effect in an hour, commission clerk Lena Bonner said.
Commission members said that for several weeks they had heard Jackson, 43, was considering an early departure to care for his daughter and two sons after his wife of 20 years, Mary Bea Jackson, died April 27 at age 43 of complications related to breast cancer.
No word has been made on a replacement or whether Jackson’s annual $15,200 salary will be prorated, Bonner said.
Jackson did not return phone calls or messages seeking comment.
“Although family and personal circumstances prevent me from being able to serve Augusta the remaining months of my second term, I will continue to support the City of Augusta and consider the nearly eight years I served as District 6 Commissioner as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Jackson wrote in his letter to Deal.
Jackson’s resignation letter had yet to be received by the governor’s office late Wednesday afternoon, spokeswoman Sasha Dlugolenski said.
Commissioner Bill Lockett described Jackson as a strong-willed person who was instrumental in moving a Richmond County Marshal’s Office substation out of Regency Mall, constructing a senior housing complex on Richmond Hill Road and helping pave the way for the expansion of Windsor Spring Road.
“Joe went through a tremendous episode during the illness and demise of his wife that added extra responsibility on him at home to care for his three children,” Lockett said. “He was a gentleman who always kept his word and will be missed.”
Because of his willingness to approach situations in an inclusive way, many commissioners said they consider him a close friend, including Mary Davis.
“I have been honored to have worked with Joe on the commission and have appreciated his support and advice,” Davis said in a statement. “He has worked hard for the good of Augusta-Richmond County and I thank him for his service.”
An Eagle Scout, Jackson was born in DeKalb County and has an associate’s degree in industrial electrical maintenance from Augusta Technical College. Since 2000, he has served as the president and CEO of Kirby Locksmith Inc., according to Augusta Chronicle archives.
“I’m sad to see Joe resign, but every man must know his limitations and Joe has given his all,” Commissioner Grady Smith said.
According to the Augusta-Richmond County charter, commission resignations are filled through the board appointment of a “qualified person” to serve for the remainder of the member’s term, which in Jackson’s case, ends in January.
In a heated July runoff to represent District 6 on the commission, newspaper publisher Ben Hasan was elected to replace the term-limited Jackson with 52 percent of the 2,371 votes cast.
Lockett and Smith said no discussions have been made yet on his replacement, but each agreed that swearing in Hasan early would be the “common sense” approach.