Quincy News

Veteran who contracted, recovered from Legionnaires' disease dies

By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Posted: Jun. 14, 2018 9:55 am

QUINCY, Ill. -- A former resident of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy was laid to rest this week, months after contracting Legionnaires' disease while living at the home, our news-gathering partners at WGEM report.

Ivan Jackson, 79, died May 23 at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, a week after leaving the Illinois Veterans Home, according to the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

The department confirmed that Jackson contracted Legionnaires' disease while living at the home earlier this year. WGEM reports that Department of Veterans' Affairs spokesman Dave MacDonna said Jackson left the home May 16 but had recovered from Legionnaires' by then. He said the cause of death that the department was given gave no indication that Jackson died from Legionnaires' disease.

A representative from the city of St. Louis medical examiner's office told WGEM there was no autopsy done on Jackson to determine a cause of death. The representative said that the office was only notified of the death and that autopsies are usually only done for cases with traumatic injuries or when there are suspicious circumstances around the death.

"(Jackson) had other serious heart issues," MacDonna told WGEM.

MacDonna said he believed Jackson was staying with his daughter, but there was no indication why Jackson had left the Vets Home. MacDonna added that the Department of Veterans' Affairs doesn't track people after they leave the facility.

Officials with both Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that there are no active cases of Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans Home.

"U.S. Air Force veteran Ivan Jackson was a man of rare quality," Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday on Twitter. "Husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, his service will be remembered, his memory cherished forever. Rest in honor, my friend."

Jackson was one of two Vets Home residents who were at the Illinois House of Representatives when Rauner delivered his State of the State speech Jan. 31, promising change at the Quincy home. Officials said they didn't know whether Jackson had Legionnaires' disease when he made the trip. Legionella bacteria also had been found in the Capitol building.

"Even though research shows that Legionella is everywhere, including this very Capitol, our goal is to prevent Legionella infections at the Quincy home," Rauner said during his State of the State speech.

Jackson was born June 22, 1938, in Springfield, Ill. He graduated from Lanphier High School in Springfield and attended Western Illinois University in Macomb.

He served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years. He also worked with the Youth Challenge Program in Springfield and was a member of VFW Post 7686 in Alamogordo, N.M. He played and coached basketball, and was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Jackson had six daughters, 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Jackson was buried June 11 in Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield.

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