High-plains cowboy, Jim Ray Jenkins, 70, rode off into the sunset here on earth for the final time on Dec. 7, 2013 to be with his Lord, Jesus and other loved ones who have preceded him in death.
Jim Jenkins grew up in Pampa as a youth and was a 1961 graduate of Pampa High School. As a youngster in Pampa, Jim Jenkins enjoyed sports, varied school activities, and was especially involved in the school FFA program, rodeos and all western lifestyle. Throughout grade school, junior high and high school in Pampa, Jim Jenkins always held down some type of after school and summer job, ranging from his first job, delivering the Pampa Daily News to the tough oil field work in parts of the Texas Panhandle.
Jim Jenkins attended and graduated at Texas Tech with a bachelors and masters degrees and in 1968 began his long duration at South Plains College in Levelland as an assistant professor of agriculture teaching animal science courses as well as coaching their livestock judging team. After a few years, Jim was elevated to full professor status at South Plains College, while continuing to coach the Livestock Judging team, in addition to overseeing the operations of the college farm.
Jim leaves a powerful legacy at South Plains College, as being the longest lasting employee in the history of the college (45 years of service). He affected and heavily impacted a thousand and more students, friends, family and strangers over the years in a most dynamic, positive way with his tremendous attitude and outlook on life, his splendid personality, his sense of humor and his intellect on varied related school subject content.
As the coach of the livestock judging team at South Plains College, under his direction, Jim Jenkins helped guide his team to a number of national titles and became the top judging team in the state of Texas in total wins. He retired from this coaching position in 1994, after 25 years. Due to his record at South Plains College in coaching, as well as his ongoing teaching and guidance he received many honors and acknowledgments. Among those were the Excellence InTeaching Award in 1978. In 1988 he was named the Outstanding Animal Science Alumni at Texas Tech U. In 2003 he was honored at Texas Tech, from their College of Education, at the eighth annual tribute to Teachers. These and many other accolades from his livestock judging teams are on continual display at the college.
Jim Jenkins was born on Jan. 7, 1943 in Dallas Texas to Jim Les Jenkins and Iva Estella Jenkins. He was preceded in death by his father, Jim Sr., a Marine Corps veteran who fought in World War II in Japan. His father was later transferred to Pampa where he worked for the Mobil Oil Company. Jim’s mom, Iva Jenkins, also preceded him in death. While in Pampa she was a long time employee of the Pampa Daily News for more than 10 years working as a teletype operator .
Jim Jenkins’s family survivors include his wife of more than 40 years, Rosemary. She is an avid horse lover, a private music teacher, as well as a once employee of South Plains College. His daughter, Jodi Beth Jenkins, who works for Sabre Technologies of Dallas, while his son, Jimmy Jr., is a rancher in Abilene. Additionally, Jim Jenkins is survived by a brother, John Jenkins, also a PHS graduate, who has spent many years as a pro football coach, college football coach, as well as financial investor, operating out of Houston,Toronto and Naples, Fla.
Jim enjoyed the true Western life on his cattle and horse ranch in Levelland as well as following Texas Rangers baseball, Dallas Cowboys football, as well as his brothers’ varied football teams over the years. Jim and his wife also enjoyed going to horse shows throughout the southwest.
Celebration of life services have included a campus memorial tribute at South Plains College on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, his church service memorial on Dec. 12, 2013 at St. Michaels church in Levelland and a private family cremation service on his ranch in Levelland.
In lieu of flowers the family recommends memorials be sent to the Jim Jenkins Scholarship Fund at South Plains College, 1401 College Ave., Levelland, Texas 79336.