Thomas Kumar Jackson, 22

Thomas Kumar Jackson, known as TJ, 22, of Spearfish, passed away in a car accident on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Lawrence County.

TJ was born in Abilene, Texas, on Feb. 18, 1998. The family moved to Louisville, Ky., in 2007, where he attended Kennedy Montessori Elementary School and The J. Graham Brown School. Then in 2014, the family moved to Spearfish. He graduated from Spearfish High School in 2016. He took classes at Black Hills State University, where he focused on creative photography. He began attending church at both Countryside Church and the Newman Center in Spearfish in 2019, and was baptized at Countryside Church in the summer of 2020.

TJ exhibited, early in his life, a passion to learn everything and anything he could about the world. He also loved traveling, drawing, welding, skateboarding, building bikes, gymnastics, and any outdoor adventure. He was quite the athlete. He started with climbing trees and eventually, cliffs and mountains. He was a brown belt in Taekwondo and a member of the swim team at The Brown School. If it involved nature you could count on him doing it — from kayaking, hiking, camping, surfing, and snowboarding. He had many goals — one involved climbing the face of Devils Tower, which he recently accomplished. He played the piano most of his life, and had been drawing on this talent to inspire his songwriting. As long as can be remembered, TJ loved taking photographs. His artistic side came out as he learned to manipulate the photo using light or solarization. TJ gave others his time. He lived with you in the moment and left those he touched, inspired. The most important thing he did was help his friends. TJ was a free spirit, only constrained by this earth and his body. He conquered his demons daily and found ways to inspire others through his presence, words, smiles and actions. His genuine nature, kind soul, humility, support of others and free spirit, continues to brighten all those who were around him.

TJ is survived by his parents Thomas Raymond and Mona Kumar Jackson of Mckinleyville, Calif.; sister Chandi Madhu Jackson of Spearfish; grandparents Shiv S. and Madhu Kumar of Ruckersville, Va.; great- grandmother Usha Bhatia of Marlboro, N.J.; aunts Tonya Jackson of Seattle, Wash.; Veena (Kurt) Carlson of River Forest, Ill.; Anita Kumar of Arlington, Va.; and cousins Ian, Anika, Erik, and Meera. He was loved by many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A celebration of life will be held Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at 1 p.m. at Countryside Church. TJ was cremated Monday Oct. 12, 2020, at Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: TJ Jackson, c/o BHSU, Unit 9506, Office of Advancement, Spearfish, SD 57799-9506. An award has been established in his memory at Black Hills State University in Creative Photography.

Online condolences may be written at

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