Thea M. Jackson


Thea M. Jackson, 86, passed away Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, following several years of failing health.

She and her husband were residents of Palm Valley, Texas, where they resided for more than 25 years. They were longstanding members of Harlingen Country Club.

They took great pride in her Swiss heritage. Her parents were living in Luxembourg when she was born Oct. 30, 1928, to Paul and Marthe Schmidli Bodmer. She began her schooling in Luxembourg but continued her education in Switzerland following her parents’ return during World War II.

As with most Swiss, she studied several languages and was fluent in German, French, Italian and her native dialect, Swiss German. Following schooling and a course in English, she lived several months in England, returning to Switzerland to a position in the French-speaking region.

She married the son of a banker, Harry Bailat, and following his offer of employment in New York, the couple moved to the United States. As opportunities developed, they moved to Thailand, where he managed operations for an American firm. The marriage failed, however, and Thea found employment in Bangkok as executive secretary to the managing director of a Swiss trading company.

It was while living and working in Bangkok that she met and married Kenneth Jackson, who was serving there as executive officer of the United States Information Service.

Thea was an avid horsewoman, having begun the sport while living in the United States. Thea also enjoyed hiking, tennis and swimming. She played a very good game of bridge, as well.

Ken and Thea spent five years in Bangkok before Ken’s assignment took him to New Delhi, where they spent another five years. Their last assignment before retirement was Rome, Italy, where they spent four years. During these assignments, they took advantage of travel opportunities and visited not only local sights but neighboring countries, as well. Travel was something they both enjoyed, especially together.

Having lived in the tropics, they sought a warm climate on retirement and after considering several locations decided on Harlingen, Texas. Thea joined in several activities at Harlingen Country Club, and they continued traveling as often as circumstances would allow. Some of their travels included a return to Bangkok, family visits to Hawaii and frequent trips to visit family and friends in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy and France.

A graveside service will be 11 a.m. April 29 at Fairview Cemetery in Brownstown with the Rev. David Ison officiating.

Winklepleck-Weesner Funeral Home in Brownstown handled local arrangements.