Birth and Childhood
John Howard Jenkins was the first son and second child of John and Harriet Jenkins, born on 1 August 1886. His parents were then living in a small frame home at 2752 Adams Avenue in Ogden, Utah. Because his father went by John, the new baby was perforce called Howard.
Howard was followed by a second son, Leonard on 7 April 1890 with whom he remained close all his life. After the birth of a fourth child, daughter Lorna on 1 July 1895, John and Harriet moved their family to a larger home at 121 27th Street. John had been deeded 3.61 acres of land by his father, Thomas in 1891, and it was probably on this land that they built their new Victorian-style home.
As a child in a rural area, Howard soon had his share of farm chores, such as the miserable job of milking the cows before he went to school in the morning. He particularly disliked this chore because there wasn't time to bathe again after he finished and get to school on time, so he was left with the smell of the barnyard on his person for the rest of the day. He also had his own pony which he loved and cared for.
He graduated from Ogden Senior High School in 1905. During the summer, he worked with his father in the Union Pacific Freight Station but went back to school in the fall, attending Smithsonian Business College. He spent the following summer again as a receiving clerk at the Freight Station.
Shortly after Howard's twentieth birthday, he was approached by his bishop relative to serving a mission for the Church. He accepted the call and received papers to leave 20 October 2006 for the New Zealand Mission.
Howard left for the San Francisco Bay Area on the 20th and arrived two days later. On the 26h, he embarked for New Zealand from San Francisco. The boat trip took nearly a month, with stops in Hawaii and Pago Pago, American Samoa. He arrived in Auckland Harbour on 18 November 1906 fifteen minutes too late to dock, so it wasn't until the 19th that he was able to land.
Howard spent two days in Auckland before being sent to his assigned area in Wanganui, near the southern end of the North Island. He spent almost all his mission in the Taranaki district, a rural area to the northwest of Wanganui itself. The mission conditions were very difficult by modern standards, traveling without purse or scrip and dependent on the generosity of the Maori for food and shelter. For Howard, however, the experience was a positive one and gave him a life-long love for New Zealand and its native population.
Howard kept a journal for most of the mission, which is currently being digitized to be made generally available. His journals mention people he worked with and knew: Elders Oporo Taylor, Turi Ruruku (whom he would work with on his second mission), Horton Haight, David P. Howell, J.W. Linford, Ernest Dee, Willard Ellis, George Tanner, Oscar B. Evans, and Carl Freeze. Some non-missionaries he worked with in the Wanganui area were Brothers Arani, Hakopa, Kingi, Johnny Price, Tirinii Morgan, John A. Jury, Hori Mariner, Walter Stephens, Pehi Turoa, and Wiki Turoa.
Villages and towns he worked in while in the Taranki district included Wanganui, Winiata, Moawhango, Meremere, Kaipukapuka, Waiokura, Whitinui, Waihi, Te Kukura, Aramoho Junction and Patea. He also visited Rotora and Ngarawhahia.
The mission presidents he served under were President Hoagland (1906-1907) and President Rufus K. Hardy (1907-1910).
Howard returned from his mission in May 1910. He got a job at J.G. Read & Brothers as a bookkeeper, and association that endured for the rest of his life. J.G. Read & Brothers was a leather goods, harness and saddlery store at that time, but as the years went by, adjusted by progress by selling motor car accessories (tires, batteries) and even later, household appliances and furnishings.
During this time he met Athleen Woods, daughter of Francis C. Woods and Evelyn Pratt. They were married on 20 November 1912 in the Salt Lake Temple and built a home at 2343 Van Buren Avenue, in the new part of Ogden on the foothills. This area was part of the Sixth Ward, and Howard was called to be Elders Quorum President.
Athleen gave birth to their first child, Barbara on 2 November 1913. She was followed by a second daughter, Marion Jenkins on 31 May 1916. Shortly thereafter, the Sixth Ward was split into the Sixth and Thirteenth Wards, and Howard was called to be Bishop of the new ward with the responsibility to a build a chapel for the new unit. He was set apart on 2 January 1917 and, on the same day, given a patriarchal blessing by David McKay, father of then-Apostle David O. McKay, who later became President of the Church.
Unfortunately, however, the Spanish Flu pandemic started in 1918 and hit close to home. Athleen died on 30 November 1918 with a seven-month premature baby, another daughter. She had caught the flu which progressed to pneumonia and then killed her. Howard was not released as bishop. His mother took Barbara and Marion into her home leaving Howard to continue in his Church responsibilities.
|Offspring of J. Howard Jenkins and Athleen Woods (1891-1918) ¢|
|Barbara Jenkins (1913-1979)|| |
|Marion Jenkins (1916)|
- Barbara Jenkins Works died in February, 1979, of meningitis, complicated by lung cancer. Her husband was Jack Works.
- Marion Jenkins married Charles Richard (Bud) Congdon.
One day while visiting Lowell Woods, Athleen's brother, he met Cora Stephenson, who had just returned from a mission for the LDS Church in the Northern States. Cora was the sister of Lowell's wife, Myrtle. Howard and Cora spent a great deal of time together and were married by Joseph Fielding Smith in the Salt Lake Temple on 10 January 1919.
Over the next three years, Cora gave birth to two children: another daughter, Donna on 5 October 1920; and finally a son, John on 10 September 1922. Cora later said it was the only time she knew Howard to miss a Church meeting, since John was born early in the morning and Howard skipped Priesthood meeting to inform friends and family.
Joe Reed, who had taken over the management of J.G. Read & Brothers asked Howard in 1923 to become the company's treasurer. At about this same time, Howard's father developed renal cancer which forced him to retire in 1922. He finally died after much pain on January 25, 1925.
|Offspring of J. Howard Jenkins and Cora Helena Stephenson (1893) ¢|
|Donna Jenkins (1920-2012)|| |
|John Jenkins (1922)|| |
|Joseph Richard Jenkins (1926-1980)|
- Donna Jenkins, born Oct. 5, 1920, married Norman R. Bowen in Salt Lake Temple, 24 Aug. 1943, died Nov. 22, 2012
- Joseph Richard Jenkins, born Dec. 5, 1926, married Rose Bennett, and died from kidney and lung cancer on Jan. 4, 1980.
In the spring of 1925, Church President Heber J. Grant called Howard to return to New Zealand as Mission President. Howard accepted the call, and left on 25 July 1925 with his family to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they set sail for New Zealand. After a month of travel, they arrived in Auckland and moved into the mission home at No. 2 Scotia Place, next door to the white cement chapel fronting Queen Street.
One of Howard's priorities as Mission President was to help the struggling Maori Agricultural College or MAC. The school had been built by the Church to provide educational opportunities for the poorer Maori and opened its doors in 1912. Howard also worked to give responsibility to Maori leaders to prepare them for high positions in the Church hierarchy. In both of these, Howard achieved notable success.
Midway through Howard's tenure as Mission President, Cora gave birth to their second son, Richard, who would later return to New Zealand as a missionary himself.
After returning to the United States in May 1928, Howard returned to work for J.G. Reed & Bros., where he was rehired as credit manager and vice president. Cora became president of the Thirteenth Ward Primary and Howard was called to serve on the Ogden Stake High Council.
When the Depression hit in late 1929, Howard worked to keep J.G. Read & Bros. afloat without laying any workers off. In this he succeeded by instituting two successive 10% pay cuts.
In 1931, he was approached by a political group to run for Mayor of Ogden, but after consulting with Church President Heber J. Grant, he declined.
Early in 1933, W.W. Rawson, who had been serving as Superintendant of the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, passed away and Howard was asked by the Brethren to send in a resume and application for the position if he were interested. He was interested and was informed on 14 April 1933 that he would become the new supervisor. He stayed with the Dee Memorial Hospital until 1941, when his friend Harold Barnes left his position as Superintendant of LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and Howard became his successor.
By January 1942, Howard and Cora purchased and moved into a home at 1029 South Twelfth East in Salt Lake City. They were now members of the Garden Park Ward. Howard was called to supervise the Aaronic Priesthood under Bishop Sterling W. Sill and Cora became a counselor in the Relief Society. By this point, only John and Richard still lived at home. Barbara was a nurse at Dee Hospital, Marion was married, and Donna was attending BYU. John, although a student at the University of Utah, lived at home, and Richard was still in junior high.
After the end of World War II, the First Presidency of the Church saw a need for hospital facilities outside of the large cities on the Wasatch Front, and by 1946 had decided to take a more active part in providing medical care in smaller towns. Howard was called to be Coordinator of all Church Hospitals and oversaw the construction of new facilities in locations such as Logan, Roosevelt, Panguitch, Fillmore, St. George, and Mount Pleasant, all in Utah.
In March 1948, Howard's leg was put in a walking cast. His kneecap had been removed earlier and he had spent some time in a full leg cast, and he was anxious to become ambulatory again. The winter had been a severe one, however, and one day while walking with a cane around the outside of their house, he slipped and broke his other leg.
By 1 April 1948, he was back in a walking cast and attended a New Zealand Missionary Reunion. Three days later, while sunning himself on the lawn, he had a heart attack and died shortly thereafter.
His funeral was held in the Garden Park Ward on 7 April 1948. All the children were able to attend except Richard, who was in the mission field at the time.