Leo Edward Jackson Jr.

leo jackson

July 8, 1933 ~ November 6, 2023

Born in: Asheville, North Carolina
Resided in: Mills River, North Carolina

Leo Jackson, 90 ended his earth journey on November 6—a generous and kind man who was loved by many.

His gift of being a mechanical genius and inventor was uncovered at an early age, taking apart every bicycle, clock, watch and camera he could get his hands on. His curiosity about what made things work led him into a job with Excello where he quickly climbed the ranks from screw machine operator to supervisor. He was a natural tool maker and machinist. After a short while, he started his own business on nights and weekends with a single machine in his parent’s basement. Later, his father, Leo Sr. and his brother, Richard, joined and they formed Precision Products of Asheville in 1963.

In his lifetime, he owned Precision Products of Asheville, a Plating Company, Precision Products Performance Center, Precision Products Racing, Arden Motorsports, Skoal Bandit Racing, and Leo Jackson Landscaping. He was very respected by his employees and customers as fair and honest.

Leo’s career in machining later transitioned from aerospace to building the best engine and chassis components in the racing industry. He was a humble man whose work was driven by his own passion, not a need for accolades. His numerous
accomplishments often went unrecognized. He engineered and developed many engine components that are still in use today. He was a great innovator in racing.

As a NASCAR Cup Team owner, he continued to innovate. In the 1980’s, Leo was the first to compile data in a laptop computer to develop the strategy of winning based on gas mileage.

Some of the highlights of Leo’s racing career include winning over 34 races in 1975 (Robert Pressley, Sr.), and finishing 2nd in the National standings in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Series; winning 4 NASCAR Cup Races in a row in 1991 with driver Harry Gant, making him known as Mr. September and finishing 4th in the Winston Cup point standings. Leo also won Engine Builder of the year in 1991. His early racing career started in 1950 at age 17, when he went to work for his uncle Lawrence Kitchin in Charlotte, NC building engines for Wilford Rogers. Drivers who raced for Leo include: Bill Grider, David Pearson, Robert Pressley, Sr., Dave Marcis, Tommy Ellis, Morgan Shepherd, Benny Parsons, Phil Parsons, Joe Ruttman, Greg Sacks, Robert Presley, Jr., and Harry Gant.

One could best describe Leo as a true Renaissance Man. He was an expert fly fisherman, accomplished bird hunter, award-winning skeet shooter, an excellent marksman, and was involved in Field Trialing with his Champion Smith English Setters. He also excelled at cooking, gardening, wine making, masonry, woodworking, and furniture making. He built 4 of the last homes he lived in during his last 66 years, utilizing the trees, slate and granite from his properties. He built several of his grandchildren cradles using walnut from the property.

Leo Jackson loved life and never wanted to let a day go by without learning something new. He lived life to the fullest until the end— making repair parts in his shop for his tractors, tending to his enormous vegetable garden, asparagus beds, grapes, and other fruit crops.

He was a member of the Etowah United Methodist Church.

His legacy will continue through Arden Motorsports and Precision Products Performance Center, Arden, NC. We can only imagine him now redesigning and machining components for the internal combustion engines in Heaven as well as the furniture.

He is predeceased by his wife Thelma Hargett Jackson, his parents, Leo Sr. and Frances Kitchin Jackson, brother, Richard Jackson and son Ricky Jackson. He is survived by 2 sisters, Patricia Marshall and Gail Morgan, 4 daughters, Roxanne Jackson-Tury, Lydia Connerty, Joni Sago, and Debbie Jackson; 7 grandchildren, Rachael Tury, Ryan Tury, Anna Sago, Mark Sago, Hugh Connerty, Cameron Connerty, and Harrison Schwartz-Jackson; 2 great grandchildren Teddy and Dutch Connerty; his dog Tony, 2 horses, as well as countless family members, and cherished friends.

His family will greet friends from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM on Saturday, November 11 in the Chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian. A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 12, 2023 at Etowah United Methodist Church. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family graciously asks that memorial donations be made in Leo’s name to Etowah United Methodist Church, 110 Brickyard Road, Etowah, NC 28729.


Funeral Service: November 12, 2023 2:00 pm

Etowah United Methodist Church
110 Brickyard Road
Etowah, NC 28729


Visitation: November 11, 2023 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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  1. So sorry to hear of Leo’s passing. Our sympathies to his family. He truly was a great man and will be missed.

  2. Our thoughts are with you now and in the difficult weeks ahead. We hope you feel surrounded by love. Sending you our love and deepest sympathy

  3. Leo was the best man I ever worked for and a friend you could count on. Never had to wonder what he was thinking because he always let you know. He will be greatly missed.

    Jim Presnell
    Kathy Presnell

  4. Our thoughts are with you and your family in this time of sorrow. You will be in our prayers.

    Ferrea Racing Components
    Daniel, Oscar, Daniel Jr, Zeke and John.

  5. A legend in life, and legendary – Leo was loved & honored by so many.
    We are saddened by the passing of this true gentleman, and our thoughts and prayers are with all his beloved family.
    The world has lost one of its VERY best… yet Heaven has gained the same.

  6. My condolences to Leo’s family. I recall the days when he was involved in the BVS football program prior to his involvement in NASCAR racing. I always enjoyed his company. He will be missed. May the Lord give you His grace during this time.

  7. Our condolences to all of Leo’s family. He was truly a gentleman’s gentleman. He helped in guiding our race team when we moved into his shop in 1986. God loves your heart my friend. Thanks for your guidance and advice. Phil, Linda and Steve Barkdoll “Barkdoll Racing”

  8. We will truly miss our friend and good neighbor, of over 25 years. Leo always had a smile, that was accentuated by a twinkle in his eyes, and usually, accompanied by a story, that only a “NC mountain-bred” could tell. He had many talents, which he graciously shared, but a most cherished trait, was his generosity. Our hearts go out to Leo’s family.

  9. What a Wonderful, Truly Accomplished Gentleman, You and Yours, and All That New Him, Experienced, During His Lifetime, Roxanne. My Prayers and Love are With You and Yours, Roxanne. 🙏💙🙏

  10. Roxanne, What a wonderful and accomplished father. I know he loved you Dearly. My love and prayers are with you and yours, my Precious Friend. 💙🙏💙

  11. He was a true legend, the smartest and most humble man I have ever met.
    Our condolences to the entire Jackson family❤️🙏🏻

  12. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jackson Family! Leo was a very respectful, innovative man, a pioneer in NASCAR, that shared his passion by supplying all of us (both engine builders, and chassis builders) with his innovative processes, fixturing, tooling and high-quality components for decades, many being utilized today. We send our sincerest condolences to Leo’s Family and celebrate him for a life well lived.
    Bob Fisher
    ECR Engines

  13. Another great person leaves this earth, that I’ve had the privilege of knowing and worked for.
    Well be missed in many ways
    God bless

  14. My prayers are with the Jackson Family. I will always be thankful to Leo and Debbie for letting me work at PPPC during my college breaks in the late 1990s. I really enjoyed it, great people.

    Rob McDonald
    Jernigan Oil Transport

  15. Love to your family during this difficult time.
    I know he was the light of your lives and he was so special! Love you all and our prayers
    Love Melamed Family 🙏🏻❤️

  16. I am blessed to have known Leo, he was a family friend and I also worked for him in the 70’s. He will be missed. Prayers to Debbie and the Jackson family.

  17. RIP Boss! It was a privilege to work for you at PPPC. A lot of great memories at the shop.
    We are pleased Debbie is there
    to continue his legacy. God Bless.

  18. My heart goes out to your family and everyone who loved Leo. This is such a huge loss. I have thought about Leo many times in the past thirty years, and can’t thank him enough for taking a chance on me to be a member of his racing family.

  19. Our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family. Wishing you peace and comfort during the days ahead.

    Staci and Gladys (Bob) Dyer

  20. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. He was an amazing man. Such a Legacy. He was such an inspiration, so admired, so loved, and memories of him will overflow with so many people he met during his lifetime. He was a beautiful soul. Love to all.

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