The Wyoming Archaeological Society

Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists

Ada Bouril Jackson 
Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ada Bouril Jackson, former Saratoga resident, died Sept. 7 in Tempe, Ariz., two days before her 96th birthday.

Jackson Marie Bouril Jackson was born Sept. 9, l9l6, the youngest and last surviving of the four children born to Charles Joseph and Anna Marie Oberland Bouril of Manitowoc, Wisc.; a family proud of their Bohemian Czech heritage.

Jackson was a bit of a rebel against family discipline during her childhood, having fits and standoffs with her siblings and parents. She had an independent and self-sufficient personality, even then! She was the only member of her family to graduate from college, earning a teaching degree in physical education from Wisconsin State University, La Crosse in l938. She taught for several years, and when she received her first paycheck she thought, “Gee, I’m getting paid for this!” Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and America went to war.Jackson became a “Rosie the Riveter”, working in a factory in Milwaukee for Allis Chalmers. When the war was over, she decided to travel, and she wanted to give her job “to someone who needed it more than I did”. Travelling first to Florida and then to California where her sister, Louise, lived, she found that she loved the greater West and made the West her home thereafter. Her first job was on a guest ranch (owned by the sister of Randolph Hearst) where she said her “gift of gab” allowed her to become a tour guide. Then, one Memorial Day weekend, she was asked to work as a waitress. “That’s when I found out about tips,” she later said, and she liked the work. After that, Jackson waitressed in a Hungarian restaurant in Tucson. While there, she applied for and received a job with Hobergs, a resort north of San Francisco, ultimately becoming the head waitress. Hobergs later built a new resort in Borrego, Calif., where she was in charge of the dining room. With this move, her interest in archeology was whetted. During those years at Borrego, Jackson studied archeology, purchased a surplus World War II Jeep, and roamed the desert nearby, further developing that interest in archeology. She formed an annual routine of working both the winter and summer resort seasons and travelling in between. She worked the winters at a resort named Castle Hot Springs, east of Wickenburg, Ariz., and summers at the Saratoga Inn in Wyoming. During these years, this independent woman traveled throughout the United States and Canada. In 1951, Jackson made her first trip to Europe, visiting a niece in England, and then toured much of Europe alone. “That was the era of Europe on $5 a day,” she said. Later, she raised it to $10 per day. Throughout her life, she toured the world; Europe, Central America, China, Australia, South America, Japan and Taiwan. Jackson kept the Saratoga folks informed of her travels with a “Here and There” column in the Saratoga Sun. Her last major travel was to China in the 1990s. When asked how she could afford these trips, she said “I economized when I could, I had my tips, and I had stock market tips”. She learned enough to invest in the stock market and was disciplined in following her investments and the advice of her contacts.Jackson moved permanently to Saratoga in 1961, living in what was affectionately known as the “Mouse House. ”In 1971, Jackson married and spent a year traveling with her husband. The marriage didn’t last and they separated, though she did keep the Jackson name, liking the simplicity of not having to spell and explain the name Bouril. Jackson worked at the Old Baldy Club in Saratoga as a waitress, and later as a tour guide. During these years, she became an avid “brookie” fisherman, an outdoors camper in her VW bus, and in American Indian archaeology, as she called it: being an “Injun” hunter. She became active in Wyoming archaeology, joining the Wyoming Archaeological Society and enjoying numerous discussions with professional archaeologists at the University of Wyoming. She also joined the local archaeology club and was instrumental in developing the World Atlatl Championships in Saratoga. These contests were held for a number of years, attracting people from as far away as China. These contests are still held in various locations in the U.S., though no longer in Saratoga, except in the local schools. Perhaps Jackson’s finest archaeological achievement was the permanent “Katharine Bakeless Nason” archeology exhibit in the Saratoga Museum, housing numerous archaeological artifacts donated by local residents and the University of Wyoming. Also associated with the museum is the Atlatl Press, with funds available to encourage the publishing of archaeological information germane to the museum - again thanks to Jackson. Jackson’s eyesight gradually failed from macular degeneration. However, she planned for her retirement in the Phoenix area, which she knew, and also had longtime and very close friends from the Saratoga Inn days. It was important for Jackson, with no children or spouse, to arrange for her own retirement care so she would not become a burden to others. Jackson made the move to Friendship Village in the early ‘90s where she was active immediately, founding the “Happy Trekkers” hiking club. She continued to hike until knee replacement surgery and age limited her stamina. Jackson will be interred with other family members at the Evergreen Cemetery in Manitowoc. Memorials in Jackson’s name may be made to the Saratoga Museum.