Retired Captain Willard M. Jenkins (Bill), 80, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Florida passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, April 27, 2020 at the Jennie Stuart Medical Center after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and as a result of a heart attack following emergency surgery the previous day.
He was born in 1939 during the outbreak of World War II, in West Virginia to Frank Jenkins and Nellie Ables. One of five children, he was orphaned at an early age following the death of his father. In short order, he enlisted in the United States Army. It was during his time in the Army, while stationed in Germany, that he met and married the love of his life, Therese (Thea) in November 1964. Other than his military deployments, they were inseparable for over 55 years. His beloved Thea was his full-time caregiver in his final years. Their devotion to each other was a lesson to all who knew them. He served honorably in the United States Army from October 1956 until his retirement at Ft. Campbell in 1977. His military career was exemplary. He spent most of his first decade in the Army enlisted ranks, where among other things, he served as a Sr. Drill Instructor. When it became evident, he could contribute more as an Officer, he attended Officer Candidate School, and graduated near the top of his class. His service as an Officer over the next 11 years included 2 combat tours in Vietnam as an Infantry Unit Commander/Special Forces Officer, as well as numerous other CONUS and OCONUS assignments. His decorations and awards included; Bronze Star Medal 1st OLC & V Device, Army Commendation Medal 1st OLC, Purple Heart 1st OLC, National Defense Service Medal 1st OLC, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, 4 Overseas Service Bars, Parachutist Badge, Vietnam Service Medal with 6 Campaign Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60 Device, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and numerous other awards and accolades. After his retirement from the Army, he continued to serve his Brothers and Sisters in Arms and their families in the Civil Service at Ft. Campbell for more than a decade. After retiring from his 2nd career, he enjoyed boating and fishing at Lake Barkley, working on his small farm in Kentucky, traveling to his winter home in Florida, and spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Bill is survived by his wife Therese Jenkins, his son Bill Jenkins and wife Theresa Jenkins, his son Frank Jenkins and life partner Margaret Pressner, his son Bobby Jenkins and wife Alicia Jenkins, his grandchildren Heather, Amber, Devin, Brennen, Kayleen, Marty, Kaitlyn, Madilyn, and Brilyn, his great grandchildren Weston, Peyton, Hailey, Ashley-Ann, and Addison, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents Frank Jenkins and Nellie Ables, and his five siblings.
Due to current COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions, there are no services scheduled. Services including full military honors at Kentucky Veteran’s Cemetery will be announced by the family on a later date.
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