He shared the last 30 years of his life with his loving and faithful companion, Charlene Carswell of Alpharetta, formerly of Toccoa.
Don was embraced and well-loved by his “Toccoa family:” Charles and Louise Carswell (parents of Charlene), and Charlene’s brothers and sisters and their families (Jerry Carswell, David and Jeannie Carswell, Loraine and Van Mattison, Nancy and James Scott, and Chris and Nichole Carswell).
Don was an ever-present comfort and constant support to Charlene during their life together, especially in the passing of her father and mother, Charles and Louise Carswell, and her brother, Jerry Carswell.
Charlene and Don loved to travel and among their memorable trips were visits to the Galapagos Islands, Greece, Hawaii, and multiple trips to the Florida Everglades.
Don began life July 2, 1932, in Washington, D.C., the only child of Col. Earl Herndon Jenkins and Bethany Wade Renforth Jenkins. He lived with his parents on Marine bases in Paris Island and San Diego before settling in Yorktown, Va. He attended Christchurch School in Saluda, Va., and earned a full scholarship to The College of William & Mary where he majored in chemistry.
He married Judy Mead of Chicago in 1955 and settled in Evanston, Ill., where he was a graduate student at Northwestern University and earned his doctorate degree in chemistry in 1959. Their first two children, Mike and Pam, were born in Evanston, Ill.
The family moved to Richmond, Va., where Don was employed as a chemical researcher for A.H. Robins Company. Their son Peter was born in Richmond, Va. Judy died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1972, and Don became both mother and father to his three children, ages 13, 12 and 9.
Don and children moved to Atlanta in 1978, when Don joined Creomulsion Company (now Summit Industries) as technical director. He was an involved, active and kind father, teaching his children the importance of truth, tolerance and kindness in relationships with others. He also stressed the importance of learning and education and supervised Mike, Pete and Pam in “study hall” for an hour and a half each night following dinner.
Don was a loving grandfather to his five grandchildren: Lucy and Andy Partain (Pam and Jack Partain), and Sophie, Tim, and Maggie Jenkins (Mike and Tish Jenkins).
Don loved nature, science, history, 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 wet suit and SCUBA tank and flying above in his single engine airplane.
Charlene, Mike, Pam and Peter surrounded Don with love in his final days at Emory Hospital and Gentiva Hospice.
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 in May when his grandchildren are home from college and law school. Heaven forbid they should miss any school on his account.
The Northeast Georgian
April 10, 2013