From the Archives: February 16, 2013

Before there was Barnett-Ragsdale, there was Jackson-LaFever.  Jimmy Joe Jackson (Parnell) and Chester LaFever (Stahlman) were the first great Program Director pairing at Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory Lake.

Jimmy Joe Jackson (right) was Program Directot of Camp Parnell from 1963-1970.   In his regular life, Jackson was a World War II veteran before becoming a school teacher for Metro schools, teaching at Smyrna, Joelton and finall Antioch High Schools.  He taught for 30 years.  For the Scouts, he worked at Rock Island Boxwell before coming to Old Hickory Boxwell in 1963.  Not only was he instrumental in establishing the early program at Parnell, his wife, Elizabeth, was the “program director” at Camp Murrey throughout many of these same years.

Chester LaFever served as Stahlman’s Program Director from 1960-1969, with years off in 1966 and 1968.  LaFever was also a World War II vet before entering education.  He taught at Two Rivers High School before becoming the first principal of McGavock High School.  He started as Conservation Director at “old Boxwell” (Rock Island) from 1956 to 1960 before the move to “new Boxwell” (Old Hickory Lake).

During their time at Boxwell, the two men were fiercely competitive while in sight of their staffs, often encouraging the idea that Parnell or Stahlman was “better” than the other.  Indeed, it was through these two men that staff competitions developed, often emerging in such activities as “re-appropriating” mirrors from each other’s showerhouses.  At night though, both men lived over at Camp Murrey in an area for adults only, known as “the Hole.”  In “the Hole,” an area of four man tents off from the other tents, LaFever and Jackson stayed with their wives and were good friends, often laughing at the antics of their staffs.  In these early years, Murrey was run by Joan Hitt, whose husband, Harold, was Waterfront director at Stahlman.

Jimmy Joe Jackson died in 2010. Chester LaFever died the following year. While this is an overused photo of the two men, it is one of the few of the two together.  It is by Russell Parham from the first Boxwell Staff Reunion in 1983.

To see more reunion photos, check out our Reunion photos collection on Flickr at

LaFever & Jackson

Boxwell’s first great program directors. Chester LaFever and Jimmy Joe Jackson at the first Staff Reunion in 1983.

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