by CAITLYN DEAM
Hernando Sun Writer
Recently, the citizens of Brooksville, Florida, gathered to pay respects and commemorate beloved Mrs. Julia Jenkins as a mother, grandmother, friend, and matriarch of Hernando County. Mrs. Jenkins passed away earlier this month at the age of 94, surrounded by family and Pastor Dave Franklin, who read and prayed by her bedside as she peacefully left this world. Her legacy not only lives on in the hearts of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but also in the hearts of the people of Brooksville who had the honor of knowing her and her good deeds.
Mrs. Jenkins had been a member of the Brooksville community for more than 50 years, and was no doubt an eager participant in the rise and growth of our city. Her entire life was dedicated to community involvement and helping others, specifically the youth. As her son Tim Jenkins stated, “With Mom, it was always about the kids.” He recalled times from his childhood back in 1978 where she volunteered at his high school, Hernando High, and organized events for the kids to enjoy and participate in.
She would make and bring pre-football game meals as a fundraiser for the school. She also helped set up the long-lasting Senior Celebration at the school, offering a place for kids to hang out and spend time together safely.
Her fundraising efforts went beyond just high school though – she constantly was reaching out to the entire community. When Hernando High School alumni and former NFL player Jerome Brown’s parents were having trouble paying for a trip to see their son play in the 1978 Fiesta Bowl, Mrs. Jenkins (or “mom” as Brown affectionately called her) raised enough money to help send them there. In addition to all of her work with Hernando High, she volunteered for 40 years in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary, where she had a reputation for spoiling the kids and giving them just a little more on their lunch trays.
She also actively participated in downtown Brooksville parades, where she would hand out beads, and as her son Tim said,
“She would run out five minutes in because she’d be giving them to the kids so fast!”
Mrs. Karen Phillips, a friend of Mrs. Jenkins who helped her with the Tangerine Drop on New Years, spoke highly of her character and spirit. She stated that, “Julia not only volunteered in the set up and returning at midnight to help clean up the Jerome Brown Center.” In addition to this, Mrs. Jenkins also passed on knowledge about the Tangerine Drop, why it takes place, and how big a role citrus played in the up and coming of Brooksville.
In 2012, Julia won the title of Great Brooksvillian for her engagement with the youth of Brooksville and her nonstop fundraising and desire to help others. She was well-known at SunTrust Bank- as soon as she stepped foot in the building, they knew she was there with the goal of helping someone. She was a devout and involved member of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and loved her church family dearly. She was close with the head pastor since they were both originally from Ohio.
Mrs. Jenkins was a beloved fixture of the Brooksville community whose selfless and altruistic actions will never be forgotten. She believed that family and helping others were the most important things in life and dedicated all of her time and effort into them. Although she may be gone, her memory will survive in the minds of the hundreds of lives she has touched and changed.