With heavy hearts we mourn the passing of Arva Marshall Jackson who passed away on July 21, 2022.
Arva Marshall Jackson was one of the founding members of the Primary Care Coalition, joined the PCC Board in the early 2000s, and was active on the PCC Board until 2016. During her time on the Board, she served as Chair of the Board and later led the Selection and Development Committee. Notorious for her “wisdom and wise-cracks,” Arva was gifted at making people feel comfortable during difficult conversations and was able to guide a group through difficult conversations weaving in all perspectives and insights.
Arva’s passion, commitment, and concern for community was sparked in the early 1950’s when she became housemother for ‘Delinquent pre-adolescents’ who had been assigned there by the Juvenile Court of the State of Delaware. Since then, she focused her career on the premise that every life is worthy of the best the world has to offer—if you’re able and willing to work with others to realize it. After earning a Master of Social Work, Arva was recruited by the Children’s Bureau of Delaware, where she held increasingly senior roles. In 1968, she was chosen by the incoming Governor of Delaware, Russell W. Peterson, to join his administration where she served first as the Director for Urban Affairs and later as the Assistant for Human Affairs and a member of the Governor’s cabinet.
Arva moved to Montgomery County, Maryland in 1978, with her family, and in that same year was selected by the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to become NOAA’s first Director for Civil Rights. In 1983, she was tapped to be Chief, User Affairs for the National Satellite, Data and Information Service and was recognized by NOAA for “outstanding excellence in promoting equality in NOAA’s workforce.” From 1986 to 1990, she was Acting Chief, Constituent Affairs at NOAA and served as the First Director of NOAA’s newly established Educational Affairs division from 1990 until her retirement in 1994.
During her very active retirement, Arva continued to be a strong advocate in the community working for equity and children’s rights. She served on numerous nonprofit boards and worked tirelessly to advocate for community needs. In addition to serving on the PCC Board she was also an active board member of the Collaboration Council for Children Youth and Families, the Center for Adoption, Support and Education, the African American Health Program, and the Fetal Infant Mortality Review. In 2004, she was recognized by the Linkages to Learning program for “devoted efforts on behalf of Montgomery County’s children,” and in 2008 she received one of four Linowes Leadership Awards as an “Unsung Hero!”