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Posted – 02/07/21 – 10:41 AM | 113 views | 0 | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | to print

Born in 1933 in the east of France, in the picturesque valley of the Rhine, during the interwar years, Dorette Streng / Jackson and her brother Dani and Annette had an idyllic European childhood which will soon be interrupted by the Second World War and its German occupation. Native France. After enduring years of Nazi occupation and the tribulations of war: bombings, food shortages, travel restrictions and the endless fear that came with it, the war finally came to an end as she entered her teenage years in a country devastated by war with its schools and infrastructure in tatters. As was her nature, she volunteered for the Peace Corps in 1950, even at a young age, to help with social services and assistance set up to help the displaced and ragged population of France. This theme of helping others would be a common thread in her life until the day she passed away on July 9, 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic. She was rewarded for her efforts by the French Peace Corps responsible for much of French post-war reconstruction, with a scholarship to the United States in 1954 where she met her future husband David Jackson in Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. After graduating from college, she moved with her two young children, son Eric and daughter Kim, first to Colorado just long enough to have a third child, Annette, then to San Diego in 1964 where they moved. settled in a tiny home on Saratoga St. in Ocean Beach while her husband David pursued a career in oceanography with the Navy’s Deep Submersible Program while she focused on educating her family of four who had had another son, Kyrmet, our only true OB native. Ocean Beach in the ’60s was an idyllic time and place to raise a family and all four children went to school (with packed lunches) at OB Elementary School, with the Easter parades, festivals of Halloween kites and haunted houses at the OB recreation center and summers the beach. The grand opening of the pier in 1966 put Ocean Beach on the map and attracted people from all over America to our small beach town. With them came many social challenges from which we had been mostly isolated during the turbulent 1960s. Below is a 1982 Beacon article commemorating the opening of the pier, now on its final stage. As was Dorette’s nature, she got involved; first with the in-between, a refuge for runaway and abused teenagers, and then with the planning council and the coastal commission, working to help preserve the bohemian atmosphere of our small town and prevent developers from build high-rise buildings and apartment complexes along our coast. In 1969, her husband, our father, left abruptly and Dorette became a single mother with four young children. Despite the challenges of this predicament, she continued to participate in the community and the community gave back to her in the form of part-time work as a controller at Raul sur Voltaire’s market and as a campaign agent within the staff of Congressman Larry Kapiloff and County Supervisor, Jack Walsh, where she helped them secure several successful terms where they continued to defend our Ocean Beach community. It’s safe to say that without Dorette Jackson, Ocean Beach wouldn’t be what it is today and a lot of the things we’ve come to know as the essence of Ocean Beach would have happened, including this document the Beacon that she helped found in 1982. As part of that effort, we now have our annual Chili Cook-off and fireworks fundraiser, our wacky Christmas parade, the farmers market and many other OB institutions. She did all of this in the spirit of service that was unique to Dorette, without fanfare, just hard work and perseverance. Always drawn to artists, misfits and adventurers, she found a true home away from home in Ocean Beach and embraced the bohemian lifestyle that has always been a part of OB. The French call it “joy of life” and Dorette shared it with everyone she touched. Dorette finally retired from public life in 1988 and after two years of “vacation” in Belize where she volunteered as a teacher in the small town of Placentia, she traveled north, accompanied by her youngest son Kyrmet and settled in Grants Pass Oregon where she focused on gardening, writing and volunteering at a local bookstore. Before leaving, she placed a family tile on Newport St. in front of the OB Hotel during one of the many embellishments. She published three books during her retirement: Such as it was about growing up in Nazi-occupied France and It took a village about her early years in OB and On the way, an autobiography to be published as posthumously with the help of Beacon volunteer Jeffery J. Strane sometime in 2021. We hope all of this will be available on Amazon or other source this year. Dorette passed away peacefully at her home in Oregon on July 9, 2020, surrounded by friends and family on a beautiful summer day. She is survived by her four children Eric and his wife Chrissy, Kim, Annette and Kyrmet and her grandchildren Kevin, Shelby and Cameron and her step-grandchildren Rory and Elena. If nothing else is said about her than “she made the world a better place” that would be an epitaph sufficient, but it would not be enough to tell the whole story of all the lives she has had. affected during his stay on earth. There will be a small celebration of life on the Ocean Beach Pier on July 9 at 6:30 p.m. open to anyone who wants to attend and tell a story or just share a moment, hope you can join us. For more information, call Eric Jackson at 619-520-9403

About Bernice D. Brewer

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