Barbara Jean Jenkins


Keith & Keith Funeral Home

Our mom and Grandma, Barbara (Rhodes) Jenkins came into this world in Altoona, Pennsylvania on June 2, 1924 and left us January 28, 2019 in Yakima, surrounded by family and friends. She had lived in Yakima since she was 3 months old.

At the age of 15, mom lost her mother, Hazel Rhodes, from a sudden illness. Left with her father, Frank Rhodes Sr. and 2 brothers, William (Bill) Rhodes and Frank Rhodes Jr. mom moved to Yakima, and the help of her mother’s 2 sisters, Jeanette Hall and Mable Peck. Barbara graduated from Yakima High School in 1943. She entered St. Elizabeth School of Nursing graduating in 1946.

In 1945, she married a grassroots Missouri farm boy, Ernest Jenkins, who was here to work in the apples. They moved to Seattle where dad was attending the U of W School of Dentistry. It was in that same year they had a son, Ronald Dean, who passed away shortly after birth. In time, they had another son, Doug. They returned to Yakima, following dad’s graduation as a Doctor of Dentistry. The family grew over the years, adding Claudia, Cynthia and eventually our little sister, Nancy.

Mom lived for 64 years in the home Dad built for her, right up until her passing at age 94. She contributed her longevity to getting out in her yard, raking the miserable leaves, pruning her trees and shrubs, and attending to her flowers.

Mom was an active member of the West Valley Women’s Club, West Valley Garden Club, the Harmon Senior Center, where she worked on quilts, and her favorite get away from home life: her Pinochle Club.

Mom never stopped attending her community affairs. She spent countless hours creating amazing quilts for newborns to king-size. What she didn’t keep for her and Dad, she gave to family, friends and the less fortunate. She knitted hats and mittens for the homeless and prepared meals at her church (Englewood Christian) where she was a life member.

Mom was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest Norman Jenkins, mother Hazel Agnus Mills Rhodes, father Frank Leroy Rhodes Sr., stepmother Lou Rhodes, brothers William (Bill) Rhodes and Frank Rhodes Jr.

She is survived by her son, Doug (Linda) Jenkins of Lincoln City, OR; Claudia (Dennis) Gasseling of Wapato, WA; Cynthia (Jerry) Trudeau of Buckley, WA; and Nancy (Greg) Schmidt of Yakima, WA; 8 grandchildren: Jacob (Amy) Jenkins of Longview, WA, Bekka (Brett) Jenkins Sternhagen of Camano Island, Ryan (Jodi) Gasseling of Yakima, WA, Garet (Erica) Gasseling of Moxee, WA, Tessa Trudeau of Seattle, WA, Zack (Rachel) Trudeau of Spokane, WA, Lena (Bruce) Schmidt of Selah, WA, Bryan (Tina) Schmidt of Naches, WA; 9 great grandchildren: Noah and Emma Jenkins of Longview, WA, Paige and Levi Gasseling of Yakima, WA, Brody and Abraham Gasseling of Moxee, WA Otto and Maisy Sternhagen of Camano Island, WA and Lola McDowell of Spokane, WA.

Barb spent a lot of the time working at the Harmon Senior Center where she helped prepare and serve meals for many years. Tales of the old days were shared, new friends made. Her years of getting out and about were, in a lot of ways, cut short when she developed macular degeneration. That still didn’t keep her from pruning and outside activities.

Mom’s biggest joy in life was her children and grandchildren. The picnics at Clear Lake, camping at Kaner Flats, time at the cabin on American River, going to the beach, or just a good old family picnic at home, Claudia and Dennis’, or Salmon bakes at Greg and Nancy’s, made her day.

Mom was seldom ever alone following the death of Dad in 2002. She was deeply loved by everyone, every day, and will be for eternity. In the waning days, Mom was passionately cared for by her children, especially Nancy and Claudia, who lived in the Valley. Although not in Yakima, Cynthia and Doug never abandoned their love and devotion to Mom. Every minute of our lives belonged to Mom, through thick and thin, good days and bad. She is at peace with our Lord, our Savior, her mom, her dad, her stepmom, and our dad. Dad met her and said, “Barb, what took you so long? I’ve been waiting for you. Welcome home, Honey.”

A very special thanks goes to Hospice, Cottage in the Meadow and Dr. Labes, all of whom showed immense compassion and love for our mom in those times she needed them most. When Mom was taken to Cottage in the Meadow, she was greeted by an amazing staff who gave her a purple quilt to help comfort her while there. It actually matched her purple toenails she had done recently, and besides that, it was her favorite color. It brought joy to her and her family as it was the first time anyone had given her a quilt after the hundreds she gave to others. She passed peacefully with that quilt tightly tucked around her.

Visitation will be at Keith & Keith Funeral Home on Sunday, February 3, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Funeral service will be held Monday, February 4, 2019 at Rainier Memorial Center at 1:00 p.m., with a committal service to follow at Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Cottage in the Meadow or the Yakima Humane Society.

Her very best friend in life was Tuffy, her cat, who gave her comfort every second of the day and night. Mom can rest peacefully knowing Tuffy is with Paige and Levi, and will comfort them as she did Mom.