Union Pacific Railroad conductor Reed Jackson in front of the UP initials on diesel locomotive no. 1983, during a steam trip with the railroad's no. 844 steam locomotive at Portola, California, on May 5, 2009. Jackson passed away on August 15, 2009, due to complications from surgery to remove a brain tumor. He was 54 years old and a 36-year veteran of the Union Pacific. Jackson was born and grew up in Denver, where his father was a superintendent for the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad. Reed went to work for the UP in Denver at age 18 and transferred to Cheyenne in the 1980s. He became a full-time member of the Union Pacific's steam crew in 1997. Friends say of Jackson that "he loved his job more than most people know."