A big guy with the heart to match- that’s how friends describe Paul.
Paul Jackson, founder of Jam-On Productions, was a motorcycle rider, advocate, trader, organizer, and an enthusiast of all things motorcycle-related. “If it had anything to do with motorcycles, Paul was [into] it,” said Fred, a childhood friend of over 50 years. TJ, another family friend, said it was impossible to stump him when it came to motorcycle history and trivia. Paul passed away on September 28th while doing what he loved- passing out flyers at a national swap meet at the White Rose Motorcycle Club.
Paul was born on March 19, 1955, the son of a NASA scientist and one of eleven children. One friend remembers him growing up in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, as a big, happy-go-lucky guy with long hair who, he joked, “we tried to pass [Paul] off as Meatloaf’s younger brother.” Influenced by his older brother, Andrew, who had bought a Harley Davidson at the age of sixteen, Paul started out on a baby 50 CC, but his most treasured bike was a 1941 restored stock knucklehead, which he had kept for over 40 years.
After Andrew introduced him to the world of antique motorcycles and used parts, they started organizing swap meets from the ground up, passing out hand-written flyers and buying out spaces for just $100 per day and selling spots for $15 each. The events grew quickly from their efforts, which is how Paul later went on to found his own company, Jam-On Productions, supposedly named for the fact that he had to “jam on the sifter of his knucklehead to get it in gear”. It was then through Jam-On Productions that he promoted, organized and produced international swap meets and shows in the Baltimore and Daytona areas for more than 40 years. Today there are also events held in Timonium, MD, Atlantic City, NJ and Harrisburg, PA.
Paul’s original goal was to raise money for ABATE of Maryland, a motorcyclist advocacy group, in order to repeal the bike helmet law. He first became interested in the group after getting mistakenly fined for not wearing a bike helmet as he watched his brother’s bike for him during a gas station pit stop. After attending his first meeting, he won his bid to become the first county representative for Prince George’s County at the age of eighteen. Years later, he would often joke, “I was the only one from PG county to show up, so it was a landslide victory.” After the group became incorporated and registered, he became the first treasurer and chairman of the board.
He was very knowledgeable about lobbying, even successfully repealing the bike helmet law for a time. He also made sure that all county chapter representatives had the opportunity to attend legislative workshops and fundraisers for their local politicians. “His pursuit was to raise awareness of motorcyclists’ safety and individual rights, while building strong coalitions throughout the community regardless of what you rode or who you rode with,” said Sally, a friend and fellow ABATE member.
In addition to his business and advocacy work, Paul was always willing to give back. His friends and family recall his love for animals, always rescuing dogs and cats, donating to charities for large mammals like whales and tigers, and even buying (appropriately) a giant hog to be kept as a mascot on a farm in order to raise money for the Volusia County 4-H Club.
As he became more established, he would offer free admission to veterans and military, free or discounted booths for non-profits, such as Chuck Ritz’s 9/11 Memorial, and would donate a portion of his shows’ proceeds to different charities and organizations, such as The Shriners in 2018. He was an active participant in the Motorcycle Operation Santa Claus Toy Run, a sponsor and lifetime member of the American Motorcyclist Association, and a strong supporter of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Dealers Association, and many motorcycle clubs and affiliates.
He also genuinely saw the good in people and was “a real friend of the friendless” according to his younger brother, Carl. For example, while he could have hired local, expert people for his biggest show in Daytona, he would choose instead to hire guys he knew who really needed jobs or who rarely had the opportunity to travel and bring them all down to enjoy the experience. He was very generous, open-minded and never judged people. If he invited someone to the show, but he didn’t have the money, he invited him anyway.
He was also a natural promoter and entertainer, making sure he showed everyone a good time, always adding new spectacles that had never been seen or done before; from helicopter rides and exotic lions to the terrifying “Wall of Death”, he rolled out the red carpet, literally. For these reasons and more, he built quite a loyal following and was beloved by many.
Most of all, his brother Andrew remembers him to be a family man, dedicated to his wife and two kids- so much so that his motorcycle events became whole family affairs- even recruiting the kids to help with everything from selling sodas to manning the chili hot dog stands (which is why his niece is so business-savvy today). “After the meets”, Andrew recalled fondly, “the kids would be full of grease up to their elbows.” Andrew emphasized that his brother “was a family man #1, and a businessman #2.”
The support shown by the motorcycle community in these last few days has been amazing. Many people have reached out offering assistance and asking about the future of Jam-On Productions. Paul made sure to prepare for the event of his passing by ensuring that all events would live on to continue to support and nurture the motorcycle community that he cared about so deeply.
According to friends, “[Paul]not only walked the walk, but he was often content to work in the background while making sure everything ran smoothly. He seemed to follow the motto: “[L]ive life to express and not impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just your absence felt.” Paul will be missed dearly by all who knew him.
Ride free forever, Paul.
Anyone who knew and loved Paul is invited to attend his funeral services (see details below). To honor Paul’s memory, friends and family are encouraging as many motorcyclists as possible to ride from the church to the cemetery.
Friday 10/4/19 2pm-4pm, 6pm-8pm
Kalas Funeral Home
6160 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
Sat 10/5/19 at 10am
St. Ignatius Catholic Church
2315 Brinkley Rd
Fort Washington, MD 20744
Internment at Resurrection Cemetery