July 2, 1932 ~ March 25, 2013
The extra large heart of Herndon "Don" Jenkins, most recently of Alpharetta, Georgia, beat for the last time Monday, March 25, 2013. If you gave Don a few minutes, he could probably tell you how many times it beat in his lifetime of four score years and eight months. A pure man of science, he believed in that which could be observed, measured, and replicated in nature or in a laboratory. A cardiac surgeon observed in 1997 that "he has a really big heart!" a fact already known by those who loved him and were loved by him. Don loved nature and science and history and books and food. He loved being on the water, whether on a boat, on the banks of the York River, or the beach of Pawley's Island. He slipped the bonds of Earth by exploring the undersea world in a wetsuit and SCUBA tank and flying above in his single engine airplane. Don began life July 2, 1932, in Washington D.C, the only child of Col. Earl Herndon Jenkins and Bethany Wade Renforth Jenkins. He moved with his parents to Marine bases in Paris Island and San Diego before settling in Yorktown, Virginia. He attended Christchurch School in Saluda, VA, and earned a full scholarship to The College of William & Mary where he majored in chemistry. It was in Yorktown that Don met young Judy Mead of Chicago; they married in 1955 and settled in Evanston, IL where Don was a graduate student at Northwestern University. Their first two children Michael Renforth Tish Jenkins Arlington, VA and Pamela Jack Jenkins Partain Dalton, GA were born, and Don earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1959. Don and family moved to Richmond where he worked as chemical researcher for A.H. Robins Company. Son Peter Mead Jenkins Douglasville, GA was born. Don was a single dad who raised his three children from the time they were nine, 12, and 13. He insisted that the family eat together every night. Don served in leadership positions in the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society, Richmond SCUBA Club, Central YMCA, and Rubicon Drug Treatment program and was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond. The family moved to Atlanta, GA in 1978 when Don joined Creomulsion Company Summit Industries as Technical Director. Don was a loving grandfather to his five grandchildren: Lucy and Andy Partain; Sophie, Tim, and Maggie Jenkins. He took great pride in their achievements -- especially their scholarly pursuits. He retired from Summit in 2007 and spent his later years travelling and enjoying life with his loving and faithful companion of 30 years, Charlene Carswell of Alpharetta. Among their travel destinations were the Galapagos Islands, Greece, Hawaii, and multiple trips to the Florida Everglades. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta where he served on the Board of Trustees. A service to celebrate the long and happy life of Don Jenkins will be held at a later date at UUCA Atlanta.