A Keith Jackson Memorial at “The Granddaddy of Them All”

Lynn Swann, Hall of Fame NFL player and the athletic Director for USC enters America\'s Stadium Rose Bowl.A Video Tribute: Keith Jackson: The Legend and the Legacy is played during A Celebration of Life For Keith Jackson.A Video Tribute: Keith Jackson: The Legend and the Legacy is played during A Celebration of Life For Keith Jackson.Family of Keith Jackson is very emotional during the video tribute for Keith Jackson.Turi Ann Jackson, the wife of Keith Jackson, far right, with the family of Keith Jackson watch the video tribute.A Celebration of Life For Keith Jackson.NFL legends Lynn Swann and Bob Griese sit with guests of Keith Jackson during the Celebration of Life For Keith Jackson.Bob Griese, legendary NFL quarterback winning three consecutive Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins is a guest speaker.Bob Griese, legendary NFL quarterback winning three consecutive Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins is a guest speaker.The Washington State University Band Ensemble play for guests during A Celebration of Life For Keith Jackson.

Photography by JAMES CARBONE

10:05 am | April 16, 2018


Four hundred family members, friends and colleagues gathered at Rose Bowl Stadium on Sunday to honor the voice of college football, Keith Jackson, who died on January 12 at age 89.

Tim Brandt, memorial master of ceremonies and one of Jacksons’ broadcast partners, called the stadium “Keith Jackson’s cathedral,” while speaking at the 2-hour, 15-minute memorial.

A smattering of the public at the stadium’s south end joined family, friends, and colleagues as they celebrated Jackson. Large floral sprays and photos, including one of Jackson with his wife of 65 years, Turi Ann, filled the stage. Family and friends shared remembrances, as the stadium’s video boards showed Jackson’s career highlights including the Olympics, college and NBA games, baseball, and auto racing, and also featured his 1970 stint as a play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s “Monday Night Football” on ABC.

Also among those paying tribute—via video—were coaches Mack Brown, Lloyd Carr, Pete Carroll and Mike Leach, country singer Kenny Chesney, broadcasters Verne Lundquist, Tim McCarver, Al Michaels and Brent Musburger, Mark Spitz and NFL star J.J. Watt.

Jackson’s alma mater, Washington State, brought its pep band to play the national anthem. Melanie Jackson-Cracchiolo, and her husband, Tower of Power trumpet player Sal Cracchiolo, saluted her father in song performing “Too Marvelous for Words,” ”You Are So Beautiful,” and “When October Goes.” Her brother, Lindsay, told stories of growing up with Jackson and his booming voice as a father.

“You guys got big uglies, fuumm-bull and Whoa, Nellie,” he told the crowd. “What I got was ‘Lindsey, why are the trash cans still out front?’ ‘This homework needs more work,’ and the inevitable, ‘How fast were you really going?’”

Turi Ann’s brother, Jerry Johnsen, recalled when Jackson first turned up at his family’s home to court her. “Keith gave me a quarter and said, ‘Go away for an hour.’ An hour later, I was back and he had another quarter in his pocket.”

Johnsen also said of his brother-in-law, “He was always thinking about the other guy. It wasn’t about the money. It was always about making them feel good.”

Colleagues weighed in on working with Jackson. Fellow broadcaster and former football player Lynn Swann said Jackson “never heard Keith talk down about a college player’s talent.”

Basketball Hall of Famer and sportscaster Ann Meyers Drysdale worked the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with Jackson and said, “Keith was our Walter Cronkite of sports broadcasting. He’s trustworthy, accurate and totally respected.”

Sportscaster Al Michaels concurred saying, “Keith was the original—not an original. There will never be another one like him.”