Paul Richard “Dick” Jenkins
June 25, 1931 – January 23, 2022
Dick was preceded in death by parents, Paul H. Jenkins, M.D., and Mary (Walrath) Jenkins; in-laws, John and Corinne Berg. Dick is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nadine; children, Greg Jenkins (Amy) and Kristin Goodwin (Kyle); grandchildren: Gavin, Carter, Jack, Max, Elsa, Rowan, and Marian; brother, Pete Jenkins (Patt) and sister-in-law, Bonnie Daubman (Don) and their families.
FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, February 5th at 11am at Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 S. 114th Street. For more information, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to the Music Ministry Presbyterian Church of the Cross.
To view a live broadcast of Funeral Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Paul Richard “Dick” Jenkins was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 25, 1931, at Clarkson Hospital. The first seven years of his life were spent moving around the United States as his dad was in the US Army Air Corps. During those seven years, he lived in Pennsylvania, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, and Nebraska. We have assumed these frequent moves during his early childhood years helped shape him into the down to earth person we all knew him to be.
Following Dick’s parents’ divorce when he was 7, he moved back to Omaha with his mom and brother to live with his grandma. His grandma Mammy ran a rooming and boarding house near what is the Blackstone District today. He attended Columbia Grade School from 2nd to 8th grade and it was during these years that his love for music began. Dick mastered the clarinet by 5th grade and the saxophone by middle school. During his middle school years Dick also began working after school at Stern Grocery and Kosher Brothers Grocery store as a delivery and stock boy. (He would have thrived in today’s Aisles Online and online order pick up environment.) Dick attended Tech High School and played clarinet and saxophone in the Senior Marching Band, Senior Concert Band, Senior Orchestra and Dance Band. He also played with various local bands throughout high school before graduating in 1949.
Dick attended the University of Nebraska Omaha, continued to play in local bands and graduated with a degree in music. His love of working on cars also developed during his college years. He learned to overhaul engines, repair transmissions, brakes and rear ends and rebuild starters, generators, and carburetors. Dick would buy cars that needed work, fix them up, drive them for a while and then hopefully sell them for a profit. He was a flipper before flipping was a thing!
After college, Dick was drafted into the Army and attended basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, where his rank was Private First Class. Following basic training, he was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas and served with a rank of Corporal in the 1st Armored Division Band. Dick was never one to brag, but this honor meant a lot to him. Fun fact: Instead of marching in parades, the Army band rode in 16 jeeps in a four-by-four formation with three musicians and one driver in each jeep. After his release from active military service, he was transferred to the Army Reserves in Omaha for 8 years under the Universal Military Training and Service Act.
Back in Omaha, Dick continued to play in local bands and worked at the Patton Music Company as a sales clerk. In the early 1950’s, he started playing with the Paul Moorhead Band at the Paxton Hotel in downtown Omaha. Dick played 6 nights a week, sometimes traveling to rural ballrooms and venues throughout the Midwest. He often mentioned these were some of the best days of his life. The schedule and travel must not have bothered him too much because during this time he also commuted to and from Lincoln to take graduate electrical engineering classes.
In 1959, Dick started his career at Western Electric Company in their Purchasing Department. His career at Western Electric spanned 34+ years and thrived despite several corporate mergers. You don’t hear stories like that very often anymore. After his retirement in 1994, AT&T missed his knowledge and expertise and hired him back as a consultant for a handful of years.
This May would have been Dick and Nadine’s 53rd wedding anniversary. (It really can work out when you marry your secretary!) Dick and Nadine had two children, Greg and Kristin, and created a wonderful life for their kids. Annual trips to Worlds and Oceans of Fun, skiing in Colorado and multi-family camping trips were staples in those early family years. And even though Dick knew how to fly a plane (he learned to fly a single engine light airplane, an Aeronca Champ, which he bought in partnership with a friend), he drove his family everywhere. Memorable family road trips included Washington, DC, Pensacola and Orlando, Florida and Duluth, Minnesota. Dick and Nadine also enjoyed traveling with friends and neighbors on several fantastic cruises (Dick’s favorite was the Panama Canal … he loved the engineering of the locks), domestic destinations and a European adventure (translation: a guided tour). But if we had to wager a guess, we’d say Dick’s once-in-a-lifetime trip was when he and Nadine traveled via a private train car from Omaha to California and then south along the California coast. Dick’s love of trains rivaled that of music and cars. His HO Gauge Model trains collection was impressive, and his railroad layout was a mainstay in the basement.
There wasn’t a home improvement project, big or small, Dick couldn’t tackle. He was Mr. Do-It-Yourself before anyone had heard the term DIY. Dick insisted on completing all projects himself and was a perfectionist. He had every spare part one could possibly need in his “inventory” in the basement. (Trust us on this one, he didn’t get rid of anything.) Dick also loved to tinker. Christmas lights, electrical switches and outlets … you name it, if it was broken, he was bound and determined to fix it. His obsession with keeping all the bulbs working on a $3 Christmas light strand was unmatched. Lastly, and most importantly, Dick always enjoyed and looked forward to his time with his grandchildren: Gavin, Carter, Jack, Max, Elsa, Rowan and Marian.
We will miss his physical presence in our lives but know he is with us always. What a blessing to have had him for 90 healthy, wonderful years.
Dick is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nadine; children, Greg (Amy) and Kristin Goodwin (Kyle); grandchildren: Gavin, Carter, Jack, Max, Elsa, Rowan and Marian. Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Paul H. Jenkins, M.D., and Mary Walrath Jenkins; loving in-laws: John and Corinne Berg.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Dick’s name can be made to Presbyterian Church of the Cross’s Music Department.