We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Cocoa Beach
Dolores Ann ‘Dee’ Jenkins - May 14, 1934 – July 28, 2022
Born to Helen Margaret Johnson and Wayne Donald Johnson in Galesburg, Illinois, Dee was older sister to beloved Carole.
After graduating Galesburg Senior High School in 1952 Dee received a full tuition state scholarship to Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, where she pledged Sigma Sigma Sigma (Social Sorority) and later joined Pi Omega Pi (Honor Society sorority) for which she served as president through her senior year. Graduated 1956.
Dee immediately began teaching in the fall of 1956 at Bremen Community High School in Midlothian, Illinois, where she taught Business Education; primarily shorthand, typing and general business.
In 1957 she met R. Edward Jenkins, a biology and general science teacher at Bremen. Ed Jenkins left Bremen to teach at Thornton Township High School in 1958. Dee continued teaching at Bremen.
August 27, 1960, Dee married Rollin Edward Jenkins at the First United Presbyterian Church in Galesburg, IL.
Ed and Dee spent the summer of 1961 in New York where Ed had received an NSF grant to study at Union College.
Similarly, the couple spent 1961 – 1962 school year in Grand Forks, ND, where Ed had received an NSF grant to study at the University of North Dakota.
Returning to Illinois for the 1962 – 1963 school year Dee began teaching at Hammond Technical High School in Indiana while Ed began teaching Junior College level curriculum at Thornton Township HS.
In 1963 Dee joined Ed at Thornton where she taught Business classes through 1965.
In 1965 Dee became pregnant, retired from teaching and the couple bought their first house on 401 Sandra Lane in Chicago Heights, IL.
David E. Jenkins was born September 3rd, 1965.
Jon D. Jenkins was born August 12th, 1969.
During those years Dee continued her studies, taking a class each semester, and earned her Masters in Business Education from Western Illinois University.
In 1970 the Junior College ‘split off’ from Thornton Township High School and opened the Thornton Community College campus in South Holland, IL.
Ed continued his career at TCC which offered a sabbatical program for teachers to take a year off from their teaching responsibilities to further their education at full pay. Ed had previously applied, more than once, for a sabbatical but had never been approved.
In 1970 Ed was approved for a sabbatical to study at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
In 1972 the family moved from their first house to their second in Delray Beach, Florida, where Ed studied full time to complete his Doctorate of Education Administration. Jon entered pre-school and David the 3rd grade.
In 1973 Ed proudly earned his doctorate. The family sold the home in Delray Beach and headed back to Chicagoland, purchasing a home in South Holland, Illinois.
Dee would stay home to raise the boys as Ed resumed teaching at Thornton Community College.
As Jon and David grew and spent more time in school, Dee determined it was a good time to resume teaching.
In 1977, with her advanced degree in hand, Jon in the 3rd grade and David in the 7th, Dee went straight to teaching college level business courses at Thornton Community College.
She quickly settled in, teaching at the college level; loved and respected by students, colleagues and leadership.
Soon the ‘computer-age’ began to emerge with data processors, card readers, languages, programming, etc. Dee did not hesitate to ‘stay ahead of the game’ by taking courses and studying outside of her teaching and family responsibilities.
The summer of 1984 Dee committed to advanced computer courses at Northern Illinois University, commuting from South Holland to DeKalb, IL, often staying in a hotel near campus to limit the number of 80-mile trips.
She continued to study and stay at the leading edge of computer education, earning multiple certificates along the way. In May 1986, Dee proudly participated in graduation ceremonies with an advanced degree from the Northern Illinois University Graduate School of Business.
Dee was soon known among colleagues for her ability to design, create and implement computer course curriculum. In fact, one of her instructors at Northern Illinois University was determined to persuade her to take a job teaching there in DeKalb! Alas, she had a family and a job waiting for her back in South Holland.
In 1991 Dee and Ed amicably divorced.
Though offered, and tempted by, early retirement, Dee loved teaching and loved her colleagues and therefore continued teaching nearly through the millennium.
After the 1998 school year Dee retired. A retirement party was held that included a western theme and line dancing, which she frequently enjoyed during these years.
In 1998 Dee wasted no time selling the house in South Holland and moving straight to Cocoa Beach, FL.
In Cocoa Beach Dee enjoyed worshiping at Riverside Presbyterian Church. She enjoyed participating in the Women’s Prayer Circle, volunteering to support local causes, and especially promoting and attending the music of the Riverside Pres concert series.
Dee enjoyed the Cocoa Beach music scene in general, attending outdoor performances in Cocoa Village, concerts at the King Center and driving to local venues up and down the space coast, following her favorite musician friends.
Dee also enjoyed cruising. She and Ed took their first cruise while living in Delray Beach. Later, they introduced Jon and David to the cruise experience in celebration of their 8th grade and high school graduations respectively.
Though she was fond of cruising the Caribbean, Dee spoke most fondly of cruising through the Panama Canal and, separately, cruising the Hawaiian Islands with her sister Carole.
Dee was a life-long Chicago Cubs fan. She taught herself how to keep box-scores listening to the Cubs radio broadcasts as a girl in Galesburg.
She had warm memories of attending Cubs games on ‘Ladies Day’ at Wrigley Field. Her father Wayne worked for the railroad. Helen, Wayne, Carole and Dee would take the early train from Galesburg to Chicago and spend the day exploring the city before and after the ballgame before returning to Galesburg.
Dee frequently spoke of the Cubs Ron Santo who she admired for his strength, perseverance, and selflessness in times of personal adversity.
Dee shared those traits.
In the early 2000s Ed was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Though he battled and fought mightily, Ed succumbed on June 30, 2005. When he could no longer care for himself, Dee took Ed into her home and cared for him until the end.
Jon and David will continue to cherish the love, support and many loving memories of their mom.
Services will be held on Tuesday, August 9th at 4:00 p.m. at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 3400 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL, 32931
Reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to dementia research, pancreatic cancer research, the ALS foundation, Riverside Presbyterian Church or your preferred charity.
Flowers will be donated to local hospice care or to those who would most benefit as deemed by Riverside Presbyterian Church.