PORTLAND – Allen Jackson, a dedicated volunteer at the Victoria Mansion who taught young students about the landmark’s history, died on Thursday. He was 71.

Mr. Jackson volunteered as a docent, giving tours of the mansion for nearly 10 years. He also gave presentations about the history of the mansion to groups of senior citizens and civic organizations, and at elementary schools in Portland.

Arlene Palmer Schwind, curator of the Victoria Mansion, said Friday that Mr. Jackson understood and appreciated the artistic and architectural qualities of the mansion and was intrigued by the stories of people who lived there. She said he brought those stories to life for the public.

“He was our biggest cheerleader in so many ways,” Palmer Schwind said.

“His excitement and enthusiasm about the mansion was infectious. He loved the mansion. He took it on as a real cause in terms of wanting to know everything.”

Tracy Quimby, former education director at the Victoria Mansion, said he worked tirelessly researching the mansion’s history and sharing it with the community. She said he was “larger than life.”

“What he did impacted so many people,” Quimby said. “They saw how much he loved it, so they loved it too. I’ll miss him terribly. Most every day, Al would send me an e-mail. It either made me laugh or cry. It was something I looked forward to. I’ll miss that.”

Mr. Jackson lived in Portland and was married to Lynne Jackson for 46 years. The couple raised one son.

They met at a Christmas party at the Central Square Baptist Church. He had just been discharged from the Marine Corps and brought homemade cookies to the party.

She said Friday that they had a good life together and shared a love for history, genealogy and antiques.

“In the past few years, it’s been tremendous,” his wife said. “We seemed to appreciate each other a lot more and kind of fell in love again.”

In 2002, a health scare drew the couple closer. He had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and doctors had to amputate his right leg above the knee.

He later received a prosthetic leg that enabled him to live an active life.

“I was amazing that he survived the ordeal,” his wife said. “He was on a ventilator for two months. He seemed to live life more fully after that. He tried to absorb everything he could and did things he really enjoyed.”

Mr. Jackson was a 32nd degree Mason and was very active in the organization. He recently was awarded the distinction of a 33rd degree Mason, the most distinguished award in Scottish Rite Masonry.

Robert Brown, his brother-in-law and a Mason, said Mr. Jackson was a mentor to many young men, whom he coached with their degree work.

“He was looked up to by a lot of the younger members,” Brown said.

“He was a very conscientious and knowledgeable ‘brother.’ He will be missed by all of us.”

His wife said she will miss the simple things, like having coffee with him in the morning while they sat at their computers.

“I’ll miss all of him,” she said. “I’ll miss his hugs, his support, and him laughing at my stupid mistakes.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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