Evyda Louise Jackson (Johnson) passed away peacefully in the presence of her family on December 3, 2023. Evyda was born to the late Forrest and Pauline (Derhammer) Johnson on June 18, 1941. She was the eldest of three children and lived in the Kalamazoo area her entire life. She attended kindergarten through ninth grade in Milwood and went on to graduate from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1959, where she met her husband, David "Dave" Jackson. She enjoyed sharing the story of their first date, which took place at Echo Valley, where they went tobogganing. She stepped out of the car, slipped on the ice, and fell to the ground. She always maintained that she fell in love with him on that first night. She continued her academic career and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University, with a major in Business Education and a minor in Art.
Three months after graduating from college, Evyda married her high school sweetheart, Dave, at First Baptist Church in Kalamazoo. They were married on the 27th anniversary of her parents' wedding and the 52nd anniversary of her grandparents' wedding. They had two children, Michelle and Todd, and were married for 60 years.
Evyda was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. After she and Dave were married, she became more active in the church, serving as co-superintendent of the Junior High Department, serving on numerous boards and committees, and as part of the Young Adult Programming Committee.
Evyda worked for The Upjohn Company for four years until her children were born. Once they began school, she returned to the workforce with Avon as a sales representative and eventually became an Avon District Sales Manager. Her district placed in the top ten percent for annual sales increases twice within her seven-year tenure. She traveled to Boca Raton, Florida, and to Paris, France, to receive awards recognizing her accomplishments. Her district also won a special sales competition for Avon's Springdale Branch. She and all 250 of her representatives were honored in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a three-day celebration.
After Avon, Evyda worked for a short time in the Portage Public Schools' administration. She returned to WMU to earn an elementary education endorsement, followed by certification to teach K-12. She substitute taught at several public schools in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties for several years.
Evyda was active in her community as a member of the Auxiliary Boards of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and The Kalamazoo Jaycees. She joined her mother as a member of the Ladies Library Association in 2001, attending meetings, social events, the annual Chicago bus trip, and going to area schools to register young students to vote. Evyda served on the Board of Directors for many years, including as Vice President, and then President for the second half of 2010.
Evyda was active in other activities, including playing Bridge, reading, and socializing with family and friends. She was also an avid competitive racewalker and a charter member of the Kalamazoo Valley Walkers organization. She won numerous competitions all over Michigan, including an eight-mile foot race on Mackinac Island, finishing first in her age group in one hour and thirty-one minutes. She also raced in Arizona and Colorado and was invited to participate in the State Senior Olympics.
Evyda is survived by her husband, David Jackson; daughter, Michelle Jackson-Long (Larry); son, Todd Jackson (Jennifer); grandchildren, Adam and Abigail Long and Joshua Jackson and Noelle Coffey; two great-grandsons, Michael and Vaughn Long; sister, Marilyn Edwards (John); and brother, Wayne Johnson (Jeannette). A celebration of life is scheduled for June 8, 2024, at First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be directed to First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo or Centrica Care Navigators. To leave an online condolence, please visit