David Jackson will be remembered by family, friends and customers alike as a kind-hearted and knowledgeable man who ran a family business that has been part of Watford life for more than 140 years.

The director and fourth generation of the family to run Jackson Jewellers in The Parade died on New Year’s Eve following health complications, aged 82.

Born in Watford in July 1938, David was educated at St Martin's School in Northwood before attending Haileybury School in Hertford.

He signed up for the Royal Marines reserves and attended a two-week course during the summer holidays of 1956 to ensure he would get into the UK’s commando force when called up for National Service.

David received his call-up papers in 1957 and during the next two years he took part in a military exercise in Libya and competed in the Royal Tournament.

“I think he quite enjoyed it,” said David’s son Dan. “It must have been physically and mentally demanding, and I’m sure he would have loved the challenge.”

Watford Observer: David Jackson joined the Royal Marines for his National ServiceDavid Jackson joined the Royal Marines for his National Service

David remained a Marine reservist and wanted to become a vet when his National Service ended. However, the death of his father, who was also named Dan Jackson, meant he had to take another course and help his mother in the family business, which dates back to 1876. It was the start of a relationship that was to last more than 60 years.

Recalling his grandmother Edith, who was widely known as Nancy, Dan said: “She was a formidable lady and businesswoman, who was very proud of her son working alongside her.”

Dan worked happily alongside his father for more than 35 years and believes the secret to their successful relationship in the shop lay in their ability to combine their individual strengths and qualities.

He said: “If you ask our staff they would say we were a little bit of a double act.

"There would be the cheeky young son giving his dad some banter, but letting his father have the last word, bowing down to his superior knowledge.

“There were obviously ups and downs as anyone who works in a family business would understand. We did things slightly differently which was probably the key to our successful partnership. We worked together well.

“He was a fellow of the gemmology association and so his knowledge and expertise on jewellery was excellent and he loved to research the history behind things.”

In addition to his love of history and reading, David enjoyed walking, cooking, gardening, nature and his family. He was also a huge rugby fan and coached Chiltern RFC to three unbeaten seasons.

Dan recalled some light-hearted occasions that showed the humorous side of his father’s personality.

He smiled: “There was a genuine crystal ball, which was in the shop for valuing and so happened to be in my father’s hand at the time, when a lady came into the shop and asked ‘is my watch ready for collection?’

“She gave him no name or details and so my father said ‘you would like to know if your watch is ready for collection?

"Hesitating, he looked into the crystal ball and paused and then said ‘no, I’m afraid not’. With that the customer said ‘thank you very much’ and walked out of the shop.”

Another episode Dan remembers fondly involved a chainsaw.

He explained: “My sister was in the business at the time and had decided to do an 'alternative' display of chains hanging off a chainsaw, so it happened we had a chainsaw in the shop at that time. A big hairy biker chap came into the shop and said ‘I want my ring cut off’.

"To which my father promptly replied ‘I’ll just go and get the chainsaw then’, which he duly did and returned trying to start it up. The horror on this chap’s face was a picture.”

David will also be remembered for his adverts in the Watford Observer which have been a back page feature of this newspaper for many years.

Dan believes they were started by his grandfather and said: “My father’s advert had an avid following and lots of people would complement and write in about them. They were always topical with a little bit of humour.”

David is survived by his wife Nikki, daughter Sarah, sons Dan and Andrew and stepdaughters Domi and Mickie. He also leaves six grandchildren – Giorgia, Gabriella, Lilli, Ella, Kyme and Ewan – five step grandchildren - Theo, Chloe, Henry, Arabella and Gray – and one great granddaughter Rosalba.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation in David’s memory can do so to the Woodland Trust or to Motor Neurone Disease through funeral directors M.K.Ginder & Sons, 42 Vicarage Road, Watford, Herts WD18 0EN Tel:01923 448525.