Mildred Lorene Jenkins

1925 - 2013

Mildred Lorene Jenkins passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Mildred was born in Davenport, OK on February 21, 1925, to Polly Hoskins Atkins and William Atkins. She was the younger sister of Hershel and Hazel and the older sister of Billy.

To improve their quality of life, in the late 1940's, Mildred and the family moved from Oklahoma to California. At a Santa Ana roller skating rink she frequented with friends, Mildred met a young Marine, Billy Dean Jenkins. They married in 1945 and for a period of time they both lived and worked on a chicken ranch. At the start of the Korean War, Billy enlisted in the Air Force. Despite the challenges of a life built on frequent relocations, as Billy was assigned to different air bases, Mildred and Billy raised three sons. Mildred cared for the boys on her own for periods of time while Billy was away or travelling to Air Force assignments.

Mildred always worked while raising her sons. While living in Washington, DC, she attended beauty school and then worked in the beauty salon at Hecht's Department Store. The family also had the opportunity, through moves with the Air Force, to live in Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Okinawa, and Hawaii. From the time spent in Okinawa, Mildred developed a lifelong interest in the Japanese culture and appreciation of the various forms of Japanese art. She was delighted when her nephew Dusty Atkins built a kimono display stand on which to hang the sort of raggedy, faux sheepskin vest that she wore (and wore out!) while working in her yard.

Her sons recall the length of time they travelled with their mother on a ship to join their father at the Air Base in Okinawa. They remember living in a Quonset hut there and the sukiyaki parties Mildred liked to host, as well as, the large flying insects they used to tie to threads and follow in flight.

After his retirement from the Air Force, Billy and Mildred moved to Newhall, CA to be close to her mother Polly and her brother Bill "Red" Atkins and his family. In the late 1960's Mildred owned and operated a beauty salon on what was then San Fernando Road in downtown Newhall.

Mildred and Billy were always passionate about their three sons achieving college educations and encouraged and supported them all in attaining their educational goals. In terms of education, they both were living demonstrations of what they encouraged their sons to achieve. During the early 1970's, Billy entered college at UCLA, where he ultimately achieved a Master's in Library Science.

In 1981, Mildred began taking classes part-time at Los Angeles Mission Community College in San Fernando. She completed several floral arranging classes and utilized the skills she learned by creating floral arrangements for weddings and other events as well as for her church. Although Mildred did not have the opportunity for formal education after middle school, remarkably and with determination, she enrolled full-time at Mission College to pursue her academic goals. With great personal pride as well as the admiration of her family, Mildred, at the age of 63, earned an AA degree in Liberal Arts at the Mission College Fall, 1988 graduation ceremony.

Mildred reveled in helping to provide care for her first grandson, Gregory, during his infancy and toddler years in her beauty shop in Newhall. She and Billy also provided loving care for grandsons Evan and Shelby, as well as her granddaughter, Lorian. Evan, Shelby and Lorian have fond memories of many games of Monopoly played together on their Grandma's family room floor, of walking with Grandma to Taco Bell or Penguin's yogurt shop, and of the time Grandma spent driving them to Los Angeles County Lifeguard Camp at Castaic Lake.

After Billy's death in 1984, Mildred spent time travelling with family and friends. She participated in the Elder Hostel travel program, greatly enjoying trips to Italy, China, Egypt, and Jerusalem. Mildred was fascinated to learn about other cultures. For a period of time she also helped her son, Mark, manage his real estate office and served as a Notary. Over the past few years, one of the highlights of her day was the time spent watching evening dramas on a Korean cable channel subtitled in English. She spoke with her family and friends about how she appreciated that the programs depict strong family values and the importance of caring for one another.

Over the past few months Mildred sang and prayed many times about looking forward to returning home to sit at the feet of Jesus, her Lord and Savior. Mildred maintained a lifelong firm, steadfast commitment to her beliefs and the power of prayer, volunteering in many roles at her local church, South Valley Church, previously known as First Baptist Church.

Mildred is survived by her sons: William Helsey Jenkins (Cheryl) and their children Cindy, Sarah, and Billy; Gregory Dean Jenkins (Michele) and their children Gregory Jr. and Lorian; Mark Atkins Jenkins (Roxie) and Mark's children Mark Evan and John Shelby; and by Evan and Shelby's mother, Rochelle Trager. In addition, Mildred felt blessed to have 8 great-grandchildren. She also survived by sister-in-law Joan Atkins (spouse of Bill) and numerous other extended family members. Mildred was preceded in death by her husband Bill and her three siblings.

Mildred's family expresses gratitude to those who assisted her sons Gregory and Mark in providing thorough and loving care for her in the last few months of her life: Dr. Gene Dorio and the nursing staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial hospital; Elena Trevizo, as well as her family members who assisted; Mildred's nephew, B.J. Atkins for his leadership and guidance in prayers at the private internment services held graveside at Eternal Valley on July 23, 2013.

Mildred's memorial service and celebration of her life, officiated by former Pastor Bill Leathem, will be held Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at South Valley Church, 24551 Valley Street, Newhall, CA 91321.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mildred's memory to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for 2013. This organization supports missionaries to China and was one of her favorite charities. ; 800-999-3113, open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Ave., P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230-0767

The Signal, August 25, 2013
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Published on August 25 to August 31, 2013