GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Friends, family and Gulfport city leaders said their final farewells Saturday to former councilman Jimmie Jenkins.
Finding the words to describe Jenkins wasn’t difficult for those who knew him well.
“He worked really hard as a city councilman to try to make the city of Gulfport a better place, and because of Jimmie Jenkins, it is a better place," said Bob Short, who was mayor for part of Jenkins’ tenure as city councilman.
Jenkins was the first African-American elected official in Gulfport, serving five consecutive terms in city leadership.
“Jimmie cared about people. It didn’t make any difference what race they were. He was always doing something from Thanksgiving to Feeding the Hungry to working in special Olympics," Short said.
“Jimmie’s always been interested in other people, always helping other people, always with a smile on his face, and I consider him one of my truest friends," said George Schloegel, former Gulfport mayor.
Friends and family said Jenkins was more than a city councilman, but also a family man, a community man and a man who made a difference. He served in the U.S. Army for three years, was a deacon at Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church for 50 years and served on the boards of numerous charities and agencies throughout his lifetime.
The outpouring of community support during Saturday’s Celebration of Life service at Little Rock Church was proof of the legacy he leaves behind.
“I don’t think anyone who lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the last 20 years didn’t know Brother Jimmie T. Jenkins," said Little Rock pastor James Beal. "He had a love for people, a compassion for his fellow man, and he exemplified that each and every day.”
Jenkins’ family said he won’t be forgotten.
“He’s one that’s going to be greatly missed, not just by his family, but also this community, which he served well,” said Jenkins’ nephew Tony Redmond.
Jenkins died at his Gulfport home on June 28. He was 82 years old.