John A. Jackson spent much of his working life as a manufacturers' representative near Los Angeles and in Hawaii, from the 1970s until he retired to North Cape May in 1999.
But almost every year, he would return to Philadelphia, to go to Phillies games with his grammar school friend Gerald E. Negler and Negler's son, Gerald J.
The friendship dated to the 1930s at St. Hugh School at Mascher and Tioga Streets in Kensington.
But without a family of his own, Mr. Jackson primarily visited to his mother, Clare, who lived in Mayfair, said the younger Negler, executor of Mr. Jackson's estate.
And every year, his mother would fly to California and then Hawaii, to share Christmas with her son.
"He was a good guy, to my family, to people he met," Negler said. "He was his own man. Very independent."
On Dec. 27, Mr. Jackson, 88, died of cardiac arrest at Cape May Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House.
Mr. Jackson graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1946, worked as an Army stock clerk, mostly in West Germany from 1950 to 1952, and used GI Bill money to earn a bachelor's degree at Temple University.
For 12 years, from the 1950s into the 1960s, he worked for an engineering firm in New York City.
Then for 18 years, in the 1970s and 1980s, Negler said, Mr. Jackson lived outside Los Angeles as a self-employed manufacturer's representative, selling luggage and leather products to retailers in seven Western states.
For 14 years, in the 1980s and 1990s, he continued his sales career, though semiretired, from his home in Hawaii.
Mr. Jackson moved in 1999 to Cape May County, in part to be near the elder Neglers.
Mr. Jackson's mother, Clare, died at 101 in 2009 in North Cape May.
Mr. Jackson "was a devout Catholic," Negler said, and attended daily Mass at St. John of God Church, part of the Parish of St. John Neumann, in North Cape May.
A visitation was set from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, at St. John of God Church, 680 Town Bank Rd., North Cape May, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there. Interment will be later.
Donations may be sent to the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, 500 E. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia 19144, or the National Shrine of St. Jude, 3200 E. 91st St., Chicago, Ill. 60617.
Condolences may be offered to the family at spilkerfuneralhome.com.