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It was with great regret that the team at the Henry Jackson Society heard of the recent passing away of Helen Jackson, Senator Henry M. Jackson’s widow. The thoughts and condolences of everybody at HJS are with Helen’s family and friends.
The paper which serves the Jacksons’ home town of Everett, Washington, the Daily Herald, remembered Helen as “a devoted helpmate who found humor in political life, a champion of human rights, and the best first lady we never had”.
During her life, Helen Hardin Jackson was a founding member of and co-chaired the Congressional Wives for Soviet Jewry in the 1970s. She came to know and to bring the plight of many Soviet citizens to the attention of millions of Americans. After Senator Henry Jackson’s death in 1983, Helen carried forward his work on human rights, playing a key part in cementing his legacy.
As part of this, Helen established the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. A living memorial to the late senator, the Foundation helps public officials, diplomats and journalists to address international issues. It funds scholarships, visiting faculty and other programmes at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.
In 2008, the Helen H. Jackson Endowed Chair in Human Rights at the Jackson School of International Studies was created to recognise her personal commitment to human rights.
WATCH: The Life of Helen Jackson – video