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DAVID BRADLEY JENKINS

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DAVID BRADLEY JENKINS Obituary
JENKINS, David Bradley 83 of Duxbury passed away in the early hours of June 17, a day after celebrating a glorious Fathers Day. Daves death was preceded by that of his wife of 50 years, Joy Mooney Jenkins. Dave was the son of the late George O. Jenkins and Marcia Godfrey Jenkins. Dave is survived by his wife, Shirley Muirhead Jenkins, his brother George (Jay) Jenkins of Pocasset, and his children, Peter Jenkins of Barrington, RI and Susan Jenkins Warren and husband, Jeff Warren, of Duxbury. Dave is also survived by his five grandchildren, Hannah, Charlotte and Del Jenkins, and Natalie Joy and Jack David Warren. Dave was a proud graduate of Milton Academy and Wesleyan University, as well as the business school at Harvard. He graduated from Wesleyan as Phi Beta Kappa, and was honored with distinction when graduating from Harvards Business School. Dave is professionally best recognized as the CEO of Shaws Supermarkets and the leader who took what was Brockton Public Markets and turned it into the much larger and revered grocery retailer that we all knew as Shaws. As much as the success of Shaws was a function of Daves incredibly adept management and timely execution, it was more so built on core values, honest collaboration, respect for others, personal responsibility, and pride in a job well done--all a legacy of Dave Jenkins. If organizations are built around an enduring ethical culture, Shaws when led by Dave could be one of the best examples that proves it. It would take more room than this obituary would allow to just list all of Daves incredible accomplishments, and doing so would appear immodest to a point that Dave would not have approved. As lengthy as that list might be, it is a very short list when compared to the countless people whose lives were bettered by Daves kindness, consideration, generosity, mentoring and leadership. That said, it is difficult to communicate, at least in a writing such as this, Daves life path and the people he met on it without some exposure to the organizations and places he held dear and made better, much of the while dressed in a trademark bow tie. Dave was an exceptional athlete. He played basketball and football at both Milton and at Wesleyan--respected by his teammates, Dave served in both places and in both sports as a team captain. He became a very good golfer, and would often compete in both paddle tennis and tennis, often winning club championship events. In fact, he was better than most and competitive at about any athletic endeavor as long as it did not involve water--Dave was known for his once a year swim. He joked about it from time to time, but Dave was proud of his Naval service. He served as an officer in the US Navy in the post World War II years, no doubt fulfilling what he viewed as his responsibility as an American. Dave spent a life learning. He learned about a family business where he started his business career, the George Jenkins Co. He took his knowledge of that business to Harvard where he suggested in a Masters thesis that the company, a manufacturer of fiber-based materials, would be challenged to make it. Whether a family obligation, he undertook the challenge to do what he saw as the right thing and with his brother, Jay, enabled a familys livelihood for as long as was possible until finding a way to transition that business so the bills were paid and every dependent could land on their feet. He learned the grocery business from the ground up, stocking shelves and pushing carts (activities it was common to see him performing even while the CEO of a public company); as a result, Dave appreciated the work of all of the employees and could find value and improve things where a less hands on person could not have. More than just the CEO of Shaws, Dave was recognized for his leadership in the grocery industry. Dave was not technical, but he listened to others and understood how managing the use of technology could play a role in the success of any business, and particularly the inventory issues that can make or break a grocer: he created the model for ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) at the time a revolutionary inventory management method that became a standard in the grocery industry. Recognized for his creative and extraordinary leadership at Shaws, he was repeatedly seen as an industry leader and, as examples, Dave was the Chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, Chair of the subsequent ECR committee and of several other industry trade group delegates, and received the Sidney Rabb Award, the FMIs highest honor. Beyond Shaws, Dave served on numerous boards of directors for a whos who of brand name companies, including to name a few, Nabisco, Sainsbury, Coca Cola, Labatts, Citizens Financial Group, and the Bank of New England. Dave was also passionate about academics and took on leadership roles for several institutions. He was a trustee at Milton, Wesleyan and at Bridgewater State. He led fund raising campaigns at these institutions, and was Chairman of the Alumni Fund at Wesleyan (in addition to chairing the Education and Student Affairs Committees). At Wesleyan he was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Letters, was named a Distinguished Alumni Award winner, and is recognized as an Emeritus Trustee. Dave was also immersed in benevolent organizations and his church. An active member of the Pilgrim Church his entire life in Duxbury, Dave had his favorite seating location and enjoyed Sunday services with his family and friends and served the church as a deacon for several years. Among his charitable involvement, Dave was for decades a member and eventual chair of the board of the Old Colony Y in Brockton, Chair of the United Way of New England (and several fund raising committees that to this day afford benefits throughout New England), Chair of the Fuller Art Museum, Chair of the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society, and a benefactor to South Shore Conservancy, Duxbury athletics, and several other local and regional causes. There is no telling (because he would not do so) how many kids and others to whom Dave may have provided a helping hand or a boost so they could help themselves, all the while cutting his own grass. Dave was on too many committees to count at the Duxbury Yacht Club. He notably chaired the committee to rebuild the Club House at the DYC and as the Land Use Chair led several other initiatives to improve the Club facilities, while still maintaining its family emphasis and value driven orientation. He was a typically active and contributing member of the Duxbury Yacht Club. Continued onto next column
Published in The Boston Globe on June 29, 2014
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