Dr. Stephen Jackson, former Chief of surgery at Cedarís Hospital, was a man dedicated to his profession. A workaholic, he often spent long hours at the hospital rather than spending time with his daughter, Leslie. Though he loved Leslie, he never felt the need to say so and was oblivious to her insecurities. Jackson was so married to medicine that he looked on Leslie, a nurse's aide, as little more than an inconvenience. All Jackson ever said about his personal life was that his wife had died in childbirth, and his colleagues had the distinct impression that Dr. Jackson was less than devastated by the loss.
In 1967, Leslie began dating young doctor Ed Bauer, which thrilled Steve since now he could marry Leslie off and give his full time and attention to his cherished scalpel. However, Ed became far more than a means to an end for Steve. He was the son he never had, the worshipful male successor he'd longed for. To Ed, Steve was his coach, and the operating room was their playing field. Ed had cast himself in the mold of his successful, though hollow, mentor. The only thing he would do differently from Steve, Ed told Leslie, was that he would never have children, because they were an impediment to his success. Bearing the scars of her fatherís neglect, Leslie could not help but be offended. She realized that she had fallen in love with a man who was very much like her father. Enter Joe Werner. Although he was several years older, Joe had been Ed's closest friend in medical school. He had had a less privileged background than Ed and had struggled longer to get where he was. Now a resident at Cedars, Joe was envious that the eminent Dr. Jackson was bestowing so many professional favors on Ed, and that the way was already paved for Ed to become the chief surgeon's son-in-law. Not one to be passed over, Joe vowed to get a piece of Ed's action any way he could. Convinced that marriage would not serve his illustrious surgical career, Ed broke up with Leslie, leaving the field wide open for Joe Werner, who quickly moved in. Before long, Leslie accepted Joe's proposal of marriage. However, when Steve suffered a coronary, Ed and Leslie, thrown together by their mutual concern, realized how much they cared for one another. They were married in a quiet ceremony in June 1968, at Longview Nursing Home where Steve was convalescing.
Unfortunately, Ed wasnít the model husband Stephen thought heíd be. Full of self-loathing over his unsuccessful operation on Maggie Scott and the argument that led to his father's heart attack, Ed fell victim to the same disease that plagued his father -- alcoholism. He became jealous of the growing friendship between Leslie and his brother, Mike, and picked drunken fights with both of them. Soon, his work and concentration slid to the point where even Steve could no longer defend him, and Ed was dismissed from Cedars. Ed proceeded to go on a binge, sideswiped a car driven by Margie Wexler, in April 1969, and was jailed for leaving the scene of the accident. Bill bailed him out and desperately tried to help his son, but to no avail. Certain that he'd lost everything, Ed left town. When Ed returned, he encouraged Leslie to give the marriage another chance. Though, by now, Ed was starting to get his life back together, the couple decided their marriage was over and, despite Stephenís objections, they divorced. Disheartened, Stephen was shocked when Leslie started seeing the wealthy, older Stanley Norris and firmly objected to their engagement. Though she married Stanley anyway, Leslie was very touched by her fatherís objections since it finally showed her that he cared about her.
As everyone predicted, Leslieís marriage to Stanley proved disastrous and ended with her being accused of his murder. After she was cleared of the charges, she was free to plan her wedding to the man she truly loved: attorney Mike Bauer, Edís brother. Angry over Leslieís scandalous marriage to Stanley and Mikeís scandalous marriage to Charlotte Waring, Stephen strenuously objected to the match. It wasnít until talking with Ed and his mother, Bert, that Stephen decided to give his blessing. Not long after the wedding, Stephen started receiving mysterious visits from a middle-aged woman named Madeline Ballinger. Very secretive and agitated, Stephen kept the womanís identity a secret and paid her hush money to leave town. Then to his horror, Leslie found out the one secret he never wanted her to know: her mother didnít die when she was a baby; she abandoned her. Stephen simply lied because he didnít want her to live with the shame of knowing her mother didnít want her. Angry, Leslie confronted her mother and found out something even more startling: Stephen Jackson wasnít her real father and he knew it! Touched that he would raise a child who wasnít even his, Leslie finally understood how much her father loved her and the two became closer than ever. Tragically, not long after, Leslie would lose her life after being struck by a drunk driver named Spence Jeffers.
In 1981, after spending over 15 years befriending the Bauers and the various employees at Cedars, Stephen finally decided to retire and moved to Europe leaving Cedars in Edís capable hands. Some time the following year, the beloved Dr. Jackson would pass away.