Jim Jackson, who helped turn a collection of wildlife into the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, died Saturday in Panama. He was 63.

Dr. Patrick R. Condy, Fossil Rim’s executive director, informed members of the Glen Rose Chamber of Commerce by e-mail.

“For those who did or did not know him, he and his partner Christine Jurzykowski purchased Fossil Rim in the mid-1980s from Tom Mantzel,” Dr. Condy wrote. “Together they were instrumental in transforming Fossil Rim from mainly a private collection of wildlife to the full-blown and internationally well-known conservation and education center that it is today.”

Jackson left Fossil Rim in the mid-1990s. Jurzykowski transferred the operations of Fossil Rim to the current non-profit entity in 2000, and donated its land and infrastructure in 2008.

A few years ago the couple acquired land in Panama, where Jackson was rehabilitating an old cacao plantation and producing organic foodstuffs for the local market.

At Jurzykowski’s request, donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Jim Jackson FRWC Memorial Fund and sent to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, 2155 County Road 2008, Glen Rose, TX 76043. Cards of condolence may be sent to Christine Jurzykowski at P.O. Box 1796, Glen Rose, TX 76043.