SJU Remembers Fr. Edward Jackman (1940-2021)
St. Jerome’s University (SJU) is saddened to learn of the passing of Fr. Edward John Rowell Jackman, O.P. on June 18, 2021, further to a brief illness. “Father Ed” was known to generations of Canadian scholars and church history enthusiasts. He devoted his life and resources to the study and publication of works examining the history of Christianity in Canada, including Enthusiasm for the Truth: An Illustrated History of St. Jerome’s University (2002).
Fr. Jackman was a scion of two notable Ontario families – the Jackmans and the Rowells. He was raised in the United Church and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Following his conversion to Roman Catholicism after university, he joined the Dominicans (Order of Preachers), and was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. During the last forty years, he served as President and then Secretary General of The Canadian Catholic Historical Association and its refereed journal, Historical Studies. Through the Jackman Foundation, he gave generously to a variety of initiatives, including the book series McGill-Queen’s Studies in the History of Religion.
Former SJU Vice President Academic and Dean and University of Waterloo Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Ken McLaughlin, who co-authored Enthusiasm for the Truth with SJU colleagues Gerald Stortz and Fr. Jim Wahl, C.R., described Fr. Jackman as having a passionate and personal interest in Church history in general, but in Ontario in particular.
“His demands were straightforward: academic integrity, careful and painstaking research, and a large cup of hot chocolate as we talked about our plans and our discoveries,” noted McLaughlin. “His interests encompassed institutional histories, but what he really liked were the personal stories and these fascinated him…he remembered all of them. It was always fun when he arrived and disappointing when he left…Now he really is gone. We will miss him, his simple manner, and the knowledge that what we were doing mattered.”
SJU’s President and Vice Chancellor Peter Meehan similarly recognizes the personal impact of Jackman’s generosity and interest in telling Canada’s story of Christianity.
“I was fortunate to meet Fr. Jackman early in my career, and to work with him for many years on the executive of The Canadian Catholic Historical Association,” noted Meehan. “I benefitted so much from his guidance and his interest in my historical work on topics of personal interest to him, including the Catholic Taxpayer’s Association and on the life of Philip Pocock, seventh Archbishop of Toronto (Fr. Ed’s employer when he served as the official historian for the archdiocese). It is no understatement to say that he has played a remarkable role in helping to shape the historiography of Christianity in Canada.”
Fr. Jackman will be remembered as a great friend of St. Jerome’s University, and for his key role in supporting the preservation of the university’s history.
Fr. Edward Jackman holds a copy of Enthusiasm for the Truth:
An Illustrated History of St. Jerome’s University.
The support provided by Fr. Jackman and The Jackman Foundation
made the book’s publication possible.
Photo courtesy of: Ken McLaughlin
Fr. Edward Jackman leads Mass
in the former SJU chapel (now Boardroom)
on the university’s campus.
Photo courtesy of: Brian Hogan