James Ray Jenkins

Born in Gordon, Nebraska on June 3, 1945, Jim Jenkins passed away with his loving family by his side on January 11, 2018.  He was the second son of Jean and Dorothy (Beckman) Jenkins and spent his childhood in Gordon, Nebraska.  He graduated from Gordon High School in 1963 and attended Chadron State College. His close group of a few friends, dubbed “the Boys”, was always up to something and remains close to this day. Jim’s fond memories and appreciation of spending time in the beauty of the Nebraska Sandhills ever increased over the years.

He joined the US Air Force in 1966 during the Vietnam era, and was stationed in Germany and England with a Munitions Squadron, 320 MMS.  Those were adventuresome times, visiting the historical sites of the country, and making friends that now gather each year for a reunion.  Jim remained a patriotic veteran, flying the flag and gazing skyward every time military aircraft would fly overhead, saying “I love America!”

In 1968 he married his high school sweetheart, Marie Nielsen, then they “honeymooned in Europe” during his Air Force assignment. They had an exciting time, visiting the favorite places he had earlier explored in England. Additionally they toured the magnificent Alps in Switzerland and also the Netherlands during the spring tulip festival, delighting in the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens.  Jim was quite the camera bug and took many pictures of these times, which we cherish.

With his military service completed, he and Marie were ready for new adventures and moved to Aurora, CO in 1970.  They had two children, Jason and Jeffrey. Jim was so proud of the young men they have become, their lovely wives and four grandchildren.  He and the grands had their own sign of affection by giving each other “dinks” – a nose-to-nose touch. Our lives included jokes, one-liners, and laughter caused by happy-go-lucky Jim, as well as his exuberant and caring nature.  Family and friends were dear to him.

In 1970 the use of computer technology was growing, so Jim decided that could be a good field to enter.  He started at a data entry position, and then advanced to managerial and CIO status at large retail companies in the Denver area over the next 40+ years.  He was constantly reading and learning more about this expanding field. His technical skills were matched by his innate people skills, seeming to know exactly what each employee needed to be successful.

During the years his sons were in high school, Jim was active on school advisory committees, fund raising, and chaperoning (along with Marie) various show choir national trips that involved their boys.

Many summer weekends were spent camping and water skiing at Jackson Lake near Ft. Morgan, CO and at Lake Powell.  Over a twenty year span, each son would bring a friend on those outings and we lost count of the number of them who were taught to water ski, chop kindling and make s’mores.  Not to mention the Water Weenie – and the challenge and delight Jim had in trying to upset the riders. Rain or shine, many a July found Jim, Leland and John at the Mile-High National drag races at Bandimere Speedway.

He was a skilled woodworker, spending many hours in his well-appointed shop.  How many times did he say “You need the right tool for the job!” and off to the store he would go. Family road trips in the motor home with The Statler Brothers or maybe the Nylons playing and trips to warm beaches were enthusiastically enjoyed. Like his father, Jim appreciated almost every genre of music, often accompanied by his beautiful whistling.  His Matchbox car collection was started while in England, continuing through the years.  Jim never met a cap or hat he didn’t like and had one to wear for every occasion.

The HOA benefited from many years of Jim’s involvement, serving on committees and the Board.  He had a great sense of pride in his community and instilled that in others, often teaching new board members the rule book.

Family, friends and neighbors will remember Jim’s ability to fix almost anything, willingness to help, broad smile, cheerfulness, optimism, gentle nature, and above all, a sense of wit and humor! He will be loved, missed and remembered always!

Jim was preceded in death by his parents. He left behind his wife of nearly 50 years Marie, his brother Bob (Beryl) of Alliance, NE, and his children: Jason (Leanne) of Superior, CO, Jeff (Debbie) of Simi Valley, CA, grandchildren Jacob and Juliana of Superior, CO, and Harper and Spencer of Simi Valley, CA, and a multitude of extended family and friends.

A celebration of his life will be held at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aurora, CO, on January 27 at 10:30am. Graveside services will be held at the Veterans Cemetery in Alliance, NE in several months.  The family suggests memorials to Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/co, or to Faith Presbyterian Church, 11373 E. Alameda Ave, Aurora, CO 80012.

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