Helen Cash Jackson passed on May 27 after a long battle with cancer.
Jackson was born on Nov. 5, 1942, in Atlantic City, N.J., to the late Martha and Jack Cash. After graduating from Atlantic City High School, Helen joined her brothers John Anthony and Robert and sister Rosalind in New York City.
Jackson graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Arts in music education and received her master’s in music from the Eastman School of Music–University of Rochester. She worked as a production assistant to legendary broadcaster and TV host of “Like It Is,” Gil Noble. Jackson received a 1968/69 EMMY for Outstanding Program Achievement for “Like It Is.”
Jackson met her future husband, R&B legend and recording artist Chuck Jackson, in 1959. Twenty years later, they were united as husband and wife. She was her husband’s biggest fan.
In 1974, Jackson joined the staff of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), where she dedicated herself to supporting and nurturing many of the state’s premier arts organizations. Jackson was a staunch advocate for access and funding equity for all New York artists and arts groups and helped spearhead the council’s efforts to diversify its arts support and reach all of the state’s communities. In establishing and leading NYSCA’s Special Arts Program for more than 25 years and in directing the council’s Individual Artists program, Jackson was a champion of artists, community-based arts groups and arts organizations of color across New York state.
Jackson was extremely active in New York’s arts community. She had a strong love for theater and dance and regularly attended arts events mounted by her constituent organizations. She was well-known statewide as an active and responsive advocate and was also known for her leadership in supporting the work of the state’s arts organizations and in recognizing the invaluable contributions they make to their communities. Jackson was committed to making sure that people understood that the arts are as important as the air we breathe.
Jackson was always fashionably dressed in a style all her own. The arts community throughout the state of New York honors her transition as she joins her parents; brother John Anthony; and sister, renowned actress Rosalind Cash; taking her place among the ancestors who have affirmed themselves and created a vibrant and distinctive arts and culture community.
She is survived by her husband, Chuck Jackson; brother, Robert Cash; nephew, Robert John Cash; and nieces Leah Cash, Kenya Cash, Melina Benihoff and Roberta Benihoff; and a host of friends, colleagues and clients whose lives she touched.
Services were held Wednesday, June 5 at Benta’s Funeral Home in Harlem.