I have noted with extreme sadness the passing of good friend, community activist, Village Council member, Council president, member of the planning commission and the first OCDA executive director, Jackie Wassil. (“First village president passed away,” published July 21.)
One always understood what Jackie’s position was on any particular matter, she never minced any words — what was right for the community.
As you noted, she was instrumental in the creation of the Oxford Community Development Authority (OCDA), as well leading the charge to establish cable television in both the village and township years before any adjoining communities. After the community was wired she became obsessed with the Home Shopping Network and got to know the UPS drivers on a first name basis.
Two items stand out in my mind.
When the village became aware that a vacant lot on Hudson St. was for sale, the village manager at the time, Brian Arrowsmith, Jackie and I had lunch. After the lunch it was decided Jackie (using her own money) would place a deposit on the real estate and I would prepare a conceptual layout. The proposal became a project, and was completed to provide additional parking for the civic center.
Shortly after the Oxford Twin Cinemas opened, owner Arnold Simmons placed on the marquee, “Mrs. Simmons XXX.” Jackie came into the village offices and told the staff, “We have to shut down the Oxford Twin Cinemas. He’s showing X rated movies!” In fact Mr. Simmons was telling his wife, “I love you.”
Jackie was one-of-a-kind and she will be missed.
Larry Ericksen, Pontiac.