In Memory

Paula Jenkins

Please note this additional text previously omitted from Paula's obituary: Remembering Paula’s love for animals, donations in her memory are suggested to KC Spay and Neuter or an animal welfare organization of your choice.

Paula Wesley Jenkins, 69, of Kansas City, Missouri, died Friday, September 28, 2018 at St. Luke’s Hospital. She suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage on Saturday, September 15, and succumbed to its effects.

Paula was born on January 4, 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri, the 1st of 4 children born to Susan Heller Jenkins and John Wesley Jenkins, IV. She was the light of her parents’ lives—a living, breathing golden child.  Paula attended Bryant Grade School and Southwest High School, class of ’67. In 1971 she received a BA degree in Elementary Education from National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois. Paula was a hard act to follow for her younger siblings, but she never lorded anything over us. She was a patient, smart, resourceful and talented big sister. She let her little sister come into her room to listen to Beatles records, and once allowed this sister to go with her and two friends to the Beatles concert at Municipal Stadium in ’64. Paula orchestrated a trip for the four of us kids to have a portrait made by a professional photographer—this had to be in the late ‘50’s, and kept it under wraps as a surprise for our parents. Now, how did she manage this? In the picture, we are clean, presentable and in matching outfits! Magic Paula…..

Paula had talents galore, and was a passionate person in her core. Her loyal legions of friends come from her diverse arenas of interest.  Art, theatre, literature, animals and animal welfare, cinema and traveling kept her brain in overdrive. Her love of our great big blue planet and all of its enticements held her in thrall. The travels she made all over the globe were meticulously described in journals. The people she met while on these trips became friends for life, and some became repeat traveling companions.  Equal to her love of travel was her love for books, all books. Paula gravitated towards part-time retail positions at book sellers. The connections she made in these shops were among the most important and cherished of her whole life. We have had many, many condolence messages from Paula’s book club compatriots. They have relayed to me that Paula was the beating heart of their clubs, tackling the research and always striving to facilitate the meetings. Paula loved her book clubs, loved the discussions and interactions, loved all of the members. And evidently, they loved her, too.

We want to stop here to make special mention of Paula’s much-loved group of friends from her college days. You know who you are. Ditto all of Paula’s dear friends from Bryant and Southwest.

Her work history is long and it is varied: elementary school art teacher at Barstow in the early ‘70's, graphic artist at Smith Grieves/Western Envelope, graphic artist at Thompson Hayward Chemical Company, painter of needlepoint canvases for a much beloved Prairie Village shop—In Stitches, Customer Service Agent for American Century Investments, part-time retail positions with many book sellers, including Bookslinger, Brentano’s, Waldenbooks, and Rainy Day. Paula was a very hard worker. She was the definition of a dedicated employee. Her last positions were very close to her heart—devoted daughter, personal assistant and sometime care-giver to our dad, and devoted, pinch-hitting sitter and great aunt to Millicent Stokely.

Paula was predeceased by her mother, Susan Heller Jenkins, her brother, John Thomas Jenkins, and her nephew, John Thornton Jenkins.  She leaves to cherish her memory her father, J. W. Jenkins, IV; her step-mother, Sharon Jenkins; her brother, Robert D. Jenkins and spouse, Lynn, of Prairie Village, KS.; her sister, Susan J. Stokely and spouse, Joseph, of Kansas City, MO.; her step-brother, Robb Gibson and spouse, Gail, of Kansas City, MO.; her step-brother, Rich Gibson and spouse, Kim, of Overland Park, KS.; nephew, Eli T. Jenkins of Ventura, CA.; nephew, Paul Jenkins Stokely of Kansas City, MO.; nephew, Walter J. Stokely and spouse, Kristin, and their daughter (Paula's great niece), Millicent, of Kansas City, MO.; step-niece, Brooke Gibson, of Nashville, TN.; step-niece, Bailey Gibson, of Springfield, MO.; step-niece, Sara Strand, of Lawrence, KS.; and step-niece, Emily Gibson, of Overland Park, KS.

A Celebration of Life is in the works. Please, friends and family—stay tuned for information. (For Celebraation of Life information, follow link to obituary location; this class web site will also share information as we find out details).

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09/30/18 06:41 PM #2    

Kay Maas (Coward)

Saddened by the loss of such a great person. I do remember Paula well and she is everything her obituary says of her. She was always so kind. Condolences to her family.

09/30/18 08:17 PM #3    

Lynn McCarty

This was an especially hard one for me to post. None are fun, but Paula was always such a presence. A tiny lady with a huge smile and even bigger heart. RIP Paula. We'll miss you!

10/01/18 08:03 AM #4    

Carol Nenno (Thomas)

It is always sad when we loose a classmate.  I just saw Paula and met her sister at the zoo.  It was really nice to see her and I will remember every time I walk into the Discovery Barn at the zoo, where I last saw her.  She was such a great person always had a smile.  You will be missed Paula.

10/01/18 11:50 AM #5    

Susan Foster

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Paula & I were friends at Bryant and the early days at Southwest. We reconnected at the SWHS 50th reunion, and Paula brought a picture from the KC Star of our Bluebird troop selling candy. Such fun memories! We had emailed recently, and we even made plans to have lunch together next Tuesday (10/9/18) with a few other SWHS friends. My heartfelt condolences to her family and close friends. Paula's great smile and enthusiasm were contagious, and I know you will miss her terribly.

10/01/18 03:48 PM #6    

Donna Schmelzinger (Orrell)

I am shocked and saddened to hear of Paula's passing.  I enjoyed visiting with her at the 50th reunion, and we had time to share some wonderful memories of our time at Southwest.  She was so full of life, a positive, and strong role model.  I know she will be missed by so many, and I am grateful for the opportunity to call her a friend.

10/02/18 12:23 PM #7    

Deborah Hodges (Williamson)

Paula and I attended both Bryant and Southwest as we lived around the corner from each other. I enjoyed talking to her at the Brooksider as well as at the reunion. It is a shock to learn of her death, but I will treasure the times we've shared together.

Debby Hodges Williamson

10/03/18 11:33 AM #8    

Gary Grist

I am very saddened by Paula's death.  We were good friends all through grade school (Bryant Elementary) and Southwest High School.  We lost touch over the years, but we reconnected at the SWHS 45th reunion.  She became interested in genealogy as was I. We discussed it a few times since the reunion. It is sad how quickly someone can be gone.  I have many good memories of her.  Good bless you Paula.

10/09/18 06:46 PM #9    

Jim Dingwerth

The passing of Paula brings both sadness and fond memories.  I was blessed to have a few movie dates (nothing romantic) where we discussed movies, respective camping experiences (Campfire Girls and Boy Scouts), and a few hopes and dreams.  At the 50th Reunion, she was more beautiful than ever, and just as nice.  Regrettably, I thought she was out of my league.  I wish that I had been able to communicate how special she was. 

10/10/18 01:16 PM #10    

Kent Johnson

I only had one class with Paula, and it didn't take very long to figure out she was the smartest student in the class. She was funny, popular and made freinds easily. She will be missed.

10/20/18 02:07 PM #11    

Nancy Ball (Clein)

One of the first times Paula & I got together in grade school, we made paper machier with Susan and Johnny, and she showed me how to make bangle bracelets and paint them to match our outfits! She was always the one with the creative fun project, the first to bring over a casserole or throw you a party. I like to think of her with her Mom and Johnny now and all her beloved animals across the rainbow bridge. Rest in God's love, Paula.

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