John W. R. Jenkins

John JenkinsJohn Weston Robinson Jenkins, age 84, passed away on April 2, 2022 at his home in Atlanta, GA. He is survived by his two daughters, Kendle Clark Jenkins of Atlanta, GA and Ashley Jenkins Collins (Chris) of Atlanta, GA and 4 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister (Satia Jenkins Bernen) and brother (Christopher Newell Jenkins).

John was born on June 21, 1937 in New Haven, CT to John Frances Jenkins and Katrina Walbridge Clark Jenkins. In keeping with the Jenkins family tradition, John attended The Taft School in Watertown, CT where he had a passion for ice hockey and football.

After graduating from Taft in 1955 he was awarded an English Speaking Union scholarship to teach young British boys how to play ice hockey at the Stowe School in Buckingham, England for one year. Once again, he soon followed the Jenkins family tradition to attend Yale University where he immersed himself in drama and was a member of both the Elihu Society and the Elizabethan Club. After graduating from Yale in 1960 he had a short stint with the army then married his college sweetheart, Wendy Howe Oehlert of Atlanta, GA, and followed his passion for drama by accepting a Fulbright award to study for a year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

John and Wendy soon found their way back to the states and settled in New York to pursue careers on Broadway. John landed acting roles in such off Broadway productions as Doctor Faustus and The Room by Harold Pinter and enjoyed acting with such actors as Richard Benjamin and Sam Waterston.

Having gotten the acting bug out of his system, and now being a father to 2 young daughters, John decided to pursue a career in advertising. Working at such top firms as McCann Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather he produced and directed television commercials, winning three Clio Awards. He is best known for his series of American Express “Do you know me?” commercials starring Lena Horne, Count Basie, the Marriott Brothers and operatic soprano Rise Stevens. In 1982, John started his own advertising agency, Jenkins Robins Productions.

During his years in advertising he enjoyed numerous adventures in travel. One of the most significant of these was in 1978 when he summited the Matterhorn. He proceeded to write an article about his experience which was later a front page article in the New York Times travel section.

In 1985 a diagnosis of a benign brain tumor forced John to take an early retirement from advertising. Being a man with a passion for creativity he dove into epicurean delights. Always being an avid cook he decided to try his hand at becoming a professional chef. He attended Peter Crump’s Cooking School in 1986 and landed a job at the 21 Club in New York. But his true passion was cooking for his friends and family, of which they did not complain!

It was with great excitement that he landed a job at The Food Network in 1993 and for 10 years was a production associate writer under David Rosengarten.

John officially retired in 2003 and moved to Atlanta, GA in 2008 to spend more time with his daughters and grandchildren. John is known for his hearty laugh, his intelligent whit, his dedication to the New York Times crossword puzzle, his strikingly blond hair, his love of fine food and wine (especially an affogato), his passion for a well written use of the English language such as “O tumble-rush of days we cannot catch” which will be etched on his headstone.

A private burial service for family and close friends will be held on June 25, 2022 at the Jenkins Family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery in Falmouth, MA. Perge Sed Caute.

John was passionate about the state of the environment. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Nature Conservancy or The Southern Poverty Law Association.