His vibes were a great part of the positive direction of the Dead.

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Gazing at the fire

burning by the water;

before he speaks

the world around us quiets .

With eyes as sharp as arrows,

turning to the fire

he clears the air

and cuts it with a feather.

Many in a circle

slowly ’round the fire,

when he is gone.

I want to know him better.

No one is forsaken

no one is a liar.

He plants the tree of life

on our foreheads with water.

He hums; there are drums,

four winds, rising suns.

We are singing and playing

I hear what he’s saying.

I remember breezes

from winds inside your body

keep me high.

Like I told you

I’ll sing to them this story

and know why.

Donna Godchaux

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Donald Rex Jackson, who died in an automobile accident on September 5, 1976. He was 31 years old. Joining the Grateful Dead in the mid-’60s as an equipment technician, Jackson took over as road manager in 1976. Donna’s song ‘Sunrise’, recorded on the album Terrapin Station, was written following a sunrise ceremony conducted by Rolling Thunder for the Grateful Dead family in memory of Jackson.

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Rex with his parents in Pendleton, Oregon.

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The crew: John Hagen, Lawrence ‘Ramrod’ Shurtliff, Steve Parish, Bill ‘Kidd’ Candelario.

Photo Credits: Rex – Rosie McGee, Family – Betty Cantor-Jackson, Crew – Elliot Newhouse