[saymaListserv] Joe Jenkins

Nancy M. Whitt nmwhitt at samford.edu
Mon Nov 5 10:34:09 JEST 2001


Fred: Thanks very much for your thoughtfulness.  I called 
Betty Saturday morning.  She has promised to send a picture 
(which Jim Flege requested a while ago) of her and Joe for 
our Meeting House.

Betty is doing well.  She is in a Methodist retirement home 
and is surrounded by good friends. Her son, Eric, lives 
near by.  

Joe had alzheimer's, but never lost his personality and did 
not become agitated.  He told her, "I love you so much it 
hurts," and would ask weren't they married and, if so, why 
they couldn't go home together.  Everybody in the place 
loved Joe.

Their daughter, Melissa, is on an Aleutian Island, teaching 
in an Athabascan/Inuit village and could not make it to the 
States.  They will scatter Joe's ashes in Tennessee in 
June.  Connie and I are hoping to be there (Betty says 
we're cousins).

Paul discovered Joe and Betty, and the three of them are 
the founders of the worship group.  Joe probably did more 
than anyone to get us certified as a meeting.  He had just 
retired and had been an organization person.

Joe's was loveable--I looked on him as a father substitute, 
since he and Betty had daughters our age.  And, as in any 
family, we could be frustrated with each other at times.  
But I always loved and admired him.  He had been part of 
the meeting for several years before we learned that he had 
taken a stand against racism at Baptist Medical Centers 
long before BMC wanted African-American executives, and had 
been fired and blackballed from similar jobs because of his 
stance.  Where we felt he should be so proud of his stance, 
he was humble about it, and didn't recover easily from the 
'shame' of being let go.  His pain influenced a lot of his 
relationships with us in the Meeting. It was hard for a man 
of his generation not to be the breadwinner and to be 
without a career.  He had worked successfully for 
Mason-Dixon Trucking for 28 years before coming to 
Birmingham.

Betty was a cracker-jack real estate sales woman (I know 
this personally--she sold my unsellable Woodland Village 
Condo without my taking a loss).  She was a million-dollar 
club saleswoman at times.

Joe was a Boy Scout, an Indian artifact collector, a 
gardener, a builder, a former Furman football player and a 
doting father and grandfather. He was also a good 
story-teller. Vassilka loved his boyhood story about being 
scared of the wildcat and asked him to tell it over and 
over.

Connie and I became card-carrying Friends in the Jenkins' 
house with the Jenkins on our respective clearness 
committees.  We had Thanksgiving dinners with them, and 
they came to my Christmas Eve gatherings.  It was a sad day 
for us when their daughters came to town and swooped them 
away.  

Connie and I felt loved by them, and they felt loved by us. 
We were amused when Betty would marvel and how we managed 
our lives (often when we were least in control of 
anything).  Betty has always been one to love 
unconditionally.  Plus she has a wonderful since of humor 
and sense of fun.  Being in her kitchen, or in her living 
room was to be at home.

Betty's address is:

Kimball Hall, Room 403
805 W. Middle Street
Chelsea, MI 48118

Phone: 734-475-3243

Please hold her in the Light.

Love, Nancy


On Sat, 3 Nov 2001 08:19:16 -0600 Fred Smith 
<fsmith at sbs.sbs.uab.edu> wrote:

> I noticed in today's (Saturdays') paper, an obituary for 
Joe Jenkins. > Please forward to the meeting.
> > 
> > 


-----------------------------------------
Nancy M. Whitt
Professor of English
Chair, Department of English    
Samford University
Birmingham, AL 35229
Phone: 205-726-2458 Fax: 205-726-2112 E-mail: nmwhitt at samford.edu

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

      Walt Whitman




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