Donald R. Jenkins passed away after a lengthy illness with his family at his side. He was born in Quincy, Illinois to Hercules and Edith Jenkins. Don grew up in the village of Columbus, Illinois where he attended a one room schoolhouse through the fourth grade. He spent his summers riding his bike on the nearby country roads of Adams County, fishing local streams and ponds, and avoiding many chores by practicing the piano. His mother, the local postmistress was his first music teacher. He played his first church service at the Columbus Christian Church at the age of 9. He received a Conservatory degree from the Quincy School of Music at age 16.
Don attended Illinois State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in 1966. He taught in the Chicago area, Griggsville, Illinois, and Annawan Illinois schools. While teaching in Annawan, he became the organist at the Episcopal Church in Geneseo, Illinois, playing a tracker-based pipe organ that had traveled to the church via a covered wagon. He met his wife, Susan, at the church. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1969; they were married on Dec. 25, 1969 in Griggsville while he was home on leave. He served as a tutor at the Navy School of Music in Norfolk, VA and as part of the USPACNAV band based in Coronado, Ca. Their eldest son, Matthew was born while Don’s band was stationed in the South China Sea on the USS Ranger. Their second son, Nathaniel, was born while Don was stationed at Coronado. After leaving the Navy, Don studied at San Diego State, receiving a MS in Music with a specialty in keyboard instruments. He taught in Riverside, California, serving several area churches as Director of Music during that period. In 1978, Don brought his family to the Oregon coast so his boys could enjoy the best air in the world as well as the freedoms of small-town childhoods. He taught music for many years in the Lincoln County Schools from Rose Lodge to Eddyville to Waldport.
He served as the Organist Choirmaster at the First Presbyterian Church in Newport, Oregon for 42 years, only recently giving up service support as his illness gradually depleted his strength. While at the church, he directed several choirs over the years, playing piano, harpsichord, and the “mighty” Bond pipe organ which, he designed for the sanctuary there, working with the custom builders of the Bond Organ Company of Portland Oregon. Don was highly regarded locally as a keyboardist and his generosity towards other musicians, especially beginners, was well known. He served as Dean of the Salem chapter of the American Guild of Organists, giving several master classes in hymn playing as well as individual recitals.
Don loved to garden and was justly proud of his perennial garden in Depoe Bay which he developed after retiring from the local public schools. Don was deeply loved by his family, respected by his colleagues, and adored by his church community as well as the generations of students he taught over his long career. His great sense of humor saved many a rehearsal from collapsing into chaos. He enjoyed his grandchildren’s summer visits and was justly proud of his sons.
He is survived by his wife Susan, sons Nathaniel and Matthew, daughter-in-law Adriana, grandchildren Sofia and Cyrus, brother Ron Pieper and sister Rhonda Tymeson. He was preceded in death by his parents and his eldest sister Dorothy Knight. The family wants to thank the staff at PCH for their loving care during his last days. Bateman Funeral home oversees all arrangements. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. The family ask that you please hold any flower arrangements until that time.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald R Jenkins, please visit our floral store.