RELATIVES have been left in shock at the death of a Stourbridge businessman who has passed away just over three weeks after shutting up his town centre shop of nearly 50 years.

Dave Jackson marked the end of an era when he closed his Gasway shop in Lower High Street on February 28 after 48 years of trading.

Tragically, he had just over three weeks of official retirement as he passed away on March 24, at the age of 81.

His daughter Kirsty Jackson said his sudden death had hit the family hard as her uncle Derek Jackson, Dave’s brother, had died aged 93 just 19 days earlier.

She said: “We are all devastated. I still can’t believe he has gone.”

Stourbridge News: Dave JacksonDave Jackson (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Jackson had started his shop selling gas fires, cookers and central heating systems in 1976 – one of the hottest years on record.

He didn’t sell a thing, he’d told the News, in the first six months but as the summer heatwave of 76 eased and autumn crept in things picked up and he never looked back.

However, he said more recently that trade in the High Street had never returned to what it was prior to the pandemic so he made the decision to shut up shop.

Stourbridge News: Businessman Dave Jackson, right, with Jon Tipper, after their final day at Gasway Ltd, StourbridgeBusinessman Dave Jackson, right, with Jon Tipper, after their final day at Gasway Ltd, Stourbridge (Image: Bev Holder / Newsquest)

Tragically, however, his health declined within weeks of closing the business and he passed away from heart failure within three weeks of losing his last remaining brother on March 4.

Born in Stourbridge, Dave had been the youngest of six children. His brother Derek had been a railway signalman at Blakedown and Stourbridge; and their dad Walter was a keen swimmer and was apparently the first person to take a dip in Stourbridge’s Crystal Leisure Centre when it was built in 1990.

Kirsty said her dad had been a very active man who lived life to the full. He was a Wolves season ticket holder and enjoyed many trips to the Isle of Man TT and she added: “Everybody thought a lot of him. He was very liked, very quirky and fun – he was the life and soul of the party.”

Stourbridge News: Dave JacksonDave Jackson (Image: Handout)

Mr Jackson is survived by two daughters – Kirsty and Tracey, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will take place at Stourbridge Crematorium on Friday April 12 at 2.50pm, followed by a celebration of his life at The Unicorn Inn, High Street, Wollaston.

Family flowers only are requested but donations can be made in his memory to the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK via funeral directors J.V.Kendrick, in Greenfield Avenue, Stourbridge.