Today we honor the life of John Clay Jenkins. John passed away peacefully on October 5, 2021 at his home surrounded by family. John is survived by his wife Nancy, his two sons Glen and Scott, five grandchildren and his great grandchild Ezra.
John was born on May 2, 1942 in Lyons Colorado. He grew up in Boulder and Arriba, Colorado, farming, ranching, and working in construction with his parents and eight siblings: Junia, Barbara, Marion, Ruby, Reta, Gwen and two brothers Tom and Glen. In 1959, he joined the Marines at age 17 and served overseas in the Philippines, Okinawa and Thailand during his service. He returned to the civilian life after service and met Nancy Hartlove whom he married on April 1, 1966. He fathered two boys: Glen and Scott.
After his military service, John entered into the construction profession becoming a very accomplished tradesman in multiple trades. He built his own house in 1977 where he resided and raised his family until his passing. He proceeded to teach his sons the trades as they grew older and was very great-hearted that he passed on his knowledge to them. He was very proud of many of the projects he worked on during his career especially the University of Denver’s Lacrosse Stadium, where he had the opportunity later in life to watch his grandkids play lacrosse.
John was an involved dad and spent many evenings and weekends coaching his kids in sports. He especially loved coaching baseball which became a life passion for him. He held a belief that every child he could engage in sports was one more child with an opportunity to be successful. He coached baseball for over twenty years and had the opportunity to provide for his community through his involvement in the youth programs in Aurora. His coaching experience culminated into becoming a high school coach at Aurora Christian Academy where he eventually was awarded a Coach of the Year award and won a state title for the school. This was one of his proudest achievements.
John was very proud of both of his sons as they later raised families of their own. He was especially proud of his six grandchildren: Eric, Evan, Kaycee, Addison, Gavin, Connor and Ezra, his great-grandchild. He loved watching their successes and could be found at their sporting events to watch them play. He spoke frequently about them to everyone and always looked forward to seeing them. He developed a special relationship with his great-grandson, Ezra, who lit up his life every morning as he would look for Great-Grandpa to make sure he was okay and help him if needed. In his final days, John would say that seeing Ezra in the morning made getting up in the morning the highlight of his day.
Later in life, John loved his yearly reunions with his Marine battalion and would travel to various states to meet old friends. He developed very strong relationships with some these old friends from the battalion and would join them on vacations. John and Nancy would travel together with his battalion friends over the years frequenting casinos and monuments during their travels. He always looked forward to spending time with old friends and sharing his life and his stories. To this we say “Semper FI!”
John loved spending time with his wife Nancy, especially later in life. After 55 years of marriage, he would say that she was the reason he was able to go on as long as he had. They spent many hours together playing solitaire on the computer and going up to Black Hawk to take on the casinos. Many of their evenings later in life consisted of hanging out on the couch together watching their favorite shows and watching their great-grandson Ezra run around their home which always made them laugh.
The week prior to his passing, John gave every person in his family an heirloom to remember him by. Each heirloom represented a moment that was special to him and each person in his family. His request to everyone was that he not be remembered for his passing but for the life he led.
In his memory we should remember his love for those around him, his passions, his hobbies and his love for all of his grandkids and Ezra. I can still imagine his excitement when the umpire said, “Play Ball!” and I can still hear his bellowing voice across the baseball field or on the job site. He led a long life surrounded by friends and family. Rest in peace.
The service will be livestreamed at: https://view.oneroomstreaming.com/authorise.php?k=1633754723141482
The livestream will be active beginning at 9:45am.
To share a condolence message or special memory with John's family, please click on the Share Memories button above.