Stanford Women's Basketball mourns the loss of one of our own, Andrea Ransom Jackson, '89. Andrea passed away on October 16, 2011 from breast cancer. An economics major at Stanford, Andrea was the dean of general education at DeVry University in Fremont and resided in Union City. Andrea's spirit lives on in the lives of her husband Philip Jackson and three children, Randi, Kendall, and Jalyn, and the lives of all whom she touched, including her Stanford teammates.
She was quiet but her laughter would fill a room. She worked so hard, you wanted her in your foxhole. She was so sweet, you didn't want to tease her but every now and then she would take a poke at someone with her sweet innocence and it was hysterical. She was a person you always felt comfortable around. She was a wise and considerate soul who helped you enjoy the moment and feel good about yourself. I do not know her husband but I am sure he fell in love with Andrea's sincerity and intellect as much as her incredible outward beauty. I do not know her children but I thank God for leaving us Andrea in them.
I think Andrea's time was short because she is one of God's Angels. She did unbelievable work in all of us and she is now watching over us in hopes we will continue to do good works. Quite simply, if you knew Andrea, she touched you in amazing ways.
Playing basketball at Stanford is a larger than life experience that we all take a great deal of pride in, so the conversation often gravitates to that period of our lives. Andrea and I shared this experience from roughly the Fall of 1986 through the Winter of 1987. It's just now registering with me that the time that we were actually on the Stanford team together was only a little over a year of elapsed time - but, just like many of our Stanford experiences, it was rich enough to lay the foundation for 25 years of friendship.
Finding your way through this life isn't always easy - and, those of you who know me understand that I need all of the help I can get. I don't ever remember having to ask, I just remember Andrea being there for me, from the beginning. Andy would always listen to what I had to say - quite often she would smile and shake her head. Then...she would focus on making sure I knew I was going to be all right in this world - Always.
She's always helped to show me the way. Back in the late 80s, it was everything from learning how to get through a college practice, to figuring out the layout of the dorm cafeteria, to knowing where the parties were at. She took care of me, on and off the court. Then, it was conversations about what it means to be a black woman, and about finding the courage to follow my heart in my life and in my work. Lately, it has been about how to make sure that her children (Randi, Kendall, and Jalyn) know that THEY will be all right in this world.
Another way that she showed me the way was by trusting me to support her at tough times - often, way before I felt like I was ready. Because I wanted to do the best I could for her, she helped me become a better friend and person. She modeled for me openness, excellence, gentleness, strength, persistence, courage, compassion, and how to not be afraid of the truth. And, we laughed - A LOT!
Andrea Dawn Jackson was my teammate on and off the court. She had a fiery determination to be better - everyday, in everything she did. Her enthusiasm and wonderful laughter was as vibrant as her favorite color red. She always moved toward the truth. She loved me like a sister. I am so grateful for the connection that I shared with this wonderful, wonderful woman. We have 25 years worth of shared stories; experiences that were created at all points along that 25-year continuum. I am so grateful that Stanford Basketball brought her into my life.
I miss her deeply.