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The quiet dignity of a community man

He never sought out the spotlight,  yet he helped shape Keizer into what it is today. John Carpenter Jenkins passed away on Easter Sunday at the age of 94.

A Nebraska native, Jenkins served his country in the Signal Company. He rose to the rank of corporal, providing, in part, radio communication between Army aircraft and their base on Guam.

Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, Jenkins enrolled in the University of Nebraska and took engineering courses. Engineering was to become his life-long career.

John and his wife Gina moved to Keizer in 1956 and have lived in the same house since. The couple had three children and five grandchildren.

As a member of the Rotary Club of Keizer for more than 40 years, Jenkins served as the unofficial historian of the city’s most influential group. A supporter of all kids, he was an important conduit between the hundreds of exchange students from around the world that called Keizer home for a year. Jenkins kept the club informed of the exchange students when they returned home and kept those students informed of what was happening in their ‘adopted’ city.

Locally he served as cubmaster of the Cub Scout Pack 141, a sturdy, outgoing mentor to years of Keizer boys.

In early 1995, Jenkins was surprised by the Chamber of Commerce and named as Keizer’s First Citizen, an honor bestowed on those who volunteer in the community. He was instrumental in the effort to save the original Keizer School building that now serves as the Keizer Cultural Center on the Keizer Civic Center campus.

A volunteer all of his life—due to the influence of his father—Jenkins made Keizer a better place. He worked mostly behind the scenes; he knew that’s where the real work was done.

He was a friend to all, especially the kids from near and far. — LAZ