James Edward Jenkins, Sr. passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 26, 2023. Jim, as he was known to friends and family, was born to Paul William Jenkins and Betty Elizabeth Blount Jenkins on February 19, 1937 in his family’s cabin on the banks of the Rio Felix in Chaves County, New Mexico. They later relocated to Hagerman, NM where Jim grew up on the P Bar J Ranch, his family’s cattle ranch and farm on the High Plains in Hagerman, NM. Raised from childhood to follow in his father’s cowboy-farmer footsteps, he mastered various skills like horseback roping, herding, and farming. Jim was brought up in the Baptist Church and was a devout Christian. He was a wonderful husband, an amazing father, an unparalleled grandfather, as well as a great humorist, storyteller, and was just a very good man.
Jim had an interesting childhood. At the age of eight, during WWII, he was abruptly stirred by the brightest light he had ever seen—the world’s first atomic bomb blast originating in Alamogordo, NM and played in the nuclear fallout with his sister Paula, which they thought was grey, dirty snow. Two years later in 1947, as a paperboy, Jim, on his bicycle, delivered the Roswell Daily Record, igniting discussions about the intriguing “flying saucer” which became known as the Roswell Incident.
Jim would often tell people he graduated in the top five of his Lake Arthur High School class in New Mexico, triple-lettered in track, basketball, and baseball, and was often the lead in plays. He would let that sink in and then laugh following with “…but, there were ONLY five members of my graduating class.” Later, while attending Eastern New Mexico University, Jim worked at White Sands Missile base in the photography department. He then transferred to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana to be near his maternal grandparents. While there he was in ROTC and on the rifle drill team.
His life as a cowboy ended when he met the love of his life, his future darling wife, Nora Morgan, on campus at Northwestern. They eloped not long after meeting and were married in Texas. They finished out the semester and then moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to be near her family. He would often say, “she’s a good little wife, an excellent mother, and an even better grandmother.” They adored each other and were married over 63 years.
PawPaw, as he was known to his three beloved grandkids, went back to college at night while working at Exxon Chemical Americas in the laboratories. He graduated from Louisiana State University and was a loyal LSU football and baseball fan. He retired from Exxon after thirty plus years and was known around the plant as “Cactus Jack” and “Pecos Jim” to executives and all the way down to the maintenance crew, as a nod to his home state. He enjoyed going on hikes and camping trips with the Boy Scouts while his son, Jim, Jr. was on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Treasure hunting with his metal detector, genealogy, gardening, woodworking, writing, storytelling, and photography were a few of his hobbies he enjoyed over the years. Jim was his Blount family’s official historian for decades until he finally handed that responsibility down to his daughter, Janine.
Jim is survived by his son, James “Jim” Edward Jenkins, Jr. (Raymond Hatton) of Baton Rouge, LA; daughter, Janine Elayne Jenkins Rousseau (Earl) of Atlanta, GA; grandson, Earl Pierre Rousseau III of Murfreesboro, TN; granddaughters, Dr. Morgan Ansley Rousseau of Houston, TX and Madison Lauren Rousseau of Houston, TX; sister, Paula Beth Jenkins Hill of Farmington, NM; his uncle, Dr. David Blount of San Diego, CA; sisters-in-law, Hellen Morgan Geromini (Ray) of Denham Springs, LA and Mary Morgan Larrimore (Maurice) of Manchaca, TX; many wonderful nieces, nephews, and cousins; and his faithful dog companion, Belle. He is predeceased by his beloved wife Nora Morgan Jenkins; his parents, Paul William Jenkins and Betty Elizabeth Blount Jenkins; his sister, Anna Willene Jenkins Nixon Foster; brother, George Don Jenkins; brothers-in-law, Jack Duke, Max Hanna, Raymond Geromini, Mac Foster, and Freddie Morgan, Jr.; sisters-in-law, Dorothy Morgan Duke, Martha Morgan Hanna, and Barbara Morgan Shaver.
Special thanks to his caregiver, Mischeca “Mo” Daniels, the staff at Lilac Trace of Magnolia Brook, and his nurse, Natalie Ruiz of The Hospice of Baton Rouge for their support and care of Jim.
Pallbearers will be James “Jim” Edward Jenkins, Jr., Earl Pierre Rousseau II, Earl Pierre Rousseau III, Raymond Hatton, Steven “Steve” James Blount, and Jeffrey “Jeff” Lawrence Diez.
Visiting hours will take place for family from 9:30-10:00am and general visiting from 10:00am until the graveside service at 12:00pm on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at Resthaven Gardens of Memory. Coffee will be available in the coffee room during the visitation and a reception will follow the graveside service in the Legacy Room at Resthaven. Jim will be sorely missed on Earth, but we are so very happy that he can rejoin his family and friends in Heaven and look down upon us with his loving support.