John Wesley Jenkins IV, usually referred to as “JW” or “Jay”, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully on Monday afternoon, January 16, 2023 at his home. He was 97 years old.
JW was born December 29, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri to father Paul Wesley Jenkins and mother Lucille McPherson Jenkins. Jay began his education at Border Star Elementary School and attended high school at Pembroke Country Day School. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps while a senior in high school and reported for basic training immediately after graduation in 1944. He served in the signal corps as a radio communications technician for the duration of World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1946 having achieved the rank of corporal. After the war, Jay attended special curriculum classes for veterans at the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He married Susan Heller in 1946 while still a student at KU.
J. W. Jenkins' Sons Music Co. began in 1878 in Kansas City, Mo., Incorporated in 1898 and by 1931 had reorganized to the well known Jenkins Music Company. https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/jw-jenkins . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenkins_Music_Company_Building . JW worked summers as a mail boy and in the print shop, joining the company on a full time basis in 1948 in the piano shop. Over the next several years he trained in virtually all areas of the company; credit controls, accounting, and internal audit. In 1953 he became the Assistant Secretary and Office Manager directing all office procedures, Human Resources and training of all home and branch office personnel. In 1958 he had earned the position of Vice President reorganizing and updating the accounts receivables and became the Principal Financial Officer for the company responsible for banking relations. 1960 brought an Executive Vice-President appointment with responsibilities over general operations with particular emphasis on sales and internal reorganization. Following his father’s death in 1962 he became President of Jenkins Music Company. During the period between 1963 and 1969 Jenkins Music Company expanded into the suburbs of Kansas City and several other cities, growing annual sales from 5.5 million to over 9 million and was the largest Magnavox Home Entertainment dealer in the country. Jenkins Music Company was the third largest music chain in the United States and a Brand Name dealer of the year finalist. Mid 1969 JW turned over active management of the company to the new President becoming the Chairman of the Board for Jenkins Music Company to devote his time to work with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) as Vice President from 1969-1971 and President Elect for the 1971-1973 term.
JW was involved in many organizations and civic activities holding the following positions. National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM); Director 1961-1964, Treasurer 1967-1969, Vice President 1969-1971 and President Elect 1971-1973. Co-Founder and first Vice President of the Junior Executives of the NAMM. Chairman of the first “Voice of Democracy” contest for the Junior Chamber of Commerce. President of the Kansas City Credit Bureau. Treasurer, Vice President and Director of the Merchant Association of Kansas City Missouri. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas City Philharmonic. President and Director of the Kansas City Orchestral Society. Treasurer and Director of the Kansas City Jazz, Inc. Member of the Board of Directors of the American Royal Association. President and long-time Treasurer of the Vangard Club. Foundation member of the Kansas City Retriever Club, Inc. He loved to hunt duck and pheasant, and trained a long line of Labrador Retrievers to become reliable field dogs (Decoy, Milo, Lamar, Webster & Woody). He was an avid tennis player and competed in many tournaments at the Carriage Club where he also served on the Board of Directors. He was an original season ticket holder when the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City, becoming the Kansas City Chiefs, and attended games at Arrowhead Stadium until just a few years ago.
JW was preceded in death by his parents; Paul Wesley Jenkins (1900-1962) and mother Lucille McPherson Jenkins (1900-1978), two sisters Lucille Jenkins Gurley (1924-2008) and Virginia Jenkins Hubbard (1932-1980), his first wife Susan Heller Jenkins (1927-1979), daughter Paula W. Jenkins (1949-2018), son John Thomas Jenkins (1955-1974) and grandson John Thornton Jenkins (1985-2017).
Jay will be greatly missed by his surviving family; wife of 43 years, Sharon Gibson Jenkins; son, Robert D. Jenkins (Lynn); daughter, Susan Jenkins Stokely (Joseph); stepsons, Robert Gibson (Gail) and Richard Gibson (Kim); grandchildren, Eli T. Jenkins, Paul J. Stokely, Walter J. Stokely (Kristin), Brooke Gibson, Bailey Gibson Bell (Logan), Emily Gibson and Sara Strand; great-granddaughters, Millicent Stokely and Adeline Bell; his brother Paul W. Jenkins Jr. and many, many wonderful friends.
Respecting JW’s request, Funeral services will be private. For his love of animals, Jay suggested contributions be made to Wayside Waifs, 3901 Martha Truman Rd. Kansas City, MO 64137, https://waysidewaifs.org/ or to your favorite charity.
Funeral Services are entrusted to Carr-Yager Funeral Home, 204 N. Linn St. - PO Box 210, Fayette, MO 65248. 1-660-248-2244.
Condolences may be shared at www.carryager.com.