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200831 August 31, 2020

Jasper Jenkins
Choral Music Teacher / Lee High Principal
? - August 26, 2020

    Jasper Calvin Jenkins Jr. of Huntsville, AL died peacefully on August 26th, 2020 at the age of 88 with family by his side. Mr. Jenkins was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and then attended Howard College (Samford University) where he studied music. He served in the United States Army before returning to Alabama to pursue a career in music education. Mr. Jenkins was a high school choir director for many years before being called into the administration roll. He has a master’s degree from the University of Alabama in Education Administration and became the Principal of Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama until he retired in 1983. Mr. Jenkins is a lifelong diehard Alabama fan (ROLL TIDE!). Sports were a big part of his life and he loved football, golf, and baseball. He will be remembered for his quick-witted humor, his loving caring spirit, and his beautiful baritone voice.

    He was preceded in death by his father, Jasper Calvin Jenkins Sr., mother, Lexie Louemma McDaniel Jenkins, stepmother, Mable Jenkins, and several brothers and sisters. Mr. Jenkins is survived by his daughter, Melody Jenkins Harwell (Kevin) of Huntsville; granddaughters, Brittney Liebbe (Greg) of Daphne, Alabama, and Ashley Jolley (Joe) of Albertville Alabama; and great-granddaughter, Aleya Jolley.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association or Holmes Street United Methodist Church.

Jasper Memories
Jim Ballard
LHS '67

    FOR ALL WHO KNEW HIM, and there were many, Jasper Jenkins died yesterday, August 26th, at 10: 30 AM, in his room at Valley View Nursing Center. Another victim of the insidious bug, "Covid-19".

    In mid to late 60s, this writer was one of his hundreds of A cappella students at Lee, pretending I could sing a note. After I left, Jasper became Lee High's vice principal, then later, principal, before he left Lee and worked for the County Tax Assessor's office.

    Ironically, I met Jasper many years later, in 1998, when he was the manager of a local motel. For a couple days, neither of us recognized the other, until a motel receptionist cried out his name :

    "Jasper !"

    Hey, I said to her, I've only known one "Jasper". I looked over. Still didn't recognize him. I asked him,

    "Could you be the Jasper Jenkins form Lee High ?" He nodded in the affirmative.

    We were both getting on in years, but over 20 years after that chance meeting, we remained close friends.

    Jasper and I shared many books, many movies, many dinners and many fond memories. We joked about many of the "teachers" at Lee (well that's what they called themselves anyway, and I will not name names). There were some good ones...Sue Faulkner stands out, and Jasper as well...(He gave everybody "A"s regardless how well they could sing !).

    Jasper also knew my mother. He knew a whole lot of folks. More than I'd ever want to muster.

    I missed Jasper the moment he died. And I always will miss him.

    He died in peace.

        Memphis, TN -  It is still strange to be headed into football season and find ourselves in the dark about what will happen this season. For the first time in over 25 years Sue and I have elected to not go to the games in person and rely on television and radio coverage to follow our Tigers. We elected to transfer our previous payment to next year's tickets instead. It will also be one of the few years since we have retired we will not make an annual visit to Hawaii - both because there are no military space-available flights and because we do not wish to spend 14 days in quarantine (at Hawaii hotel prices) once we got on the island.

    On another note, it is regret I never knew Mr. Jenkins that well. I never took chorus (which I wish I had) so I really did not have contact with him. I have never heard anyone speak ill of their association with him.

My Personal Top 10 
Important Places While Growing Up in Huntsville
The Countdown From 10 To 1
 #10 The Grand News Stand
Last Week #9 The Lyric Theatre 
This Week - #8 Central Presbyterian Church

Central Presbyterian Church
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

There will only be a few of you, if any, who can actually identify with this choice as one of my Top 10 Important Places while growing up, but you may have your own church with which you can identify the concept. 

My choice for #8 is Central Presbyterian Church, a place in which I spent many hours of my youth. Here’s a little background. My family was not a church going family. I do not remember ever going to church before moving to East Clinton when I was entering the second grade. Two of the first people I became friends with were Bob Davis and Buddy Crabtree, neither of which would follow me to Lee High School. Buddy lived two doors away from me and he invited me to go to church with him one day. I did, and Sunday morning Sunday School and church services became a regular routine for me after that.

I made many friends in Sunday School and it was probably there (in a non-academic setting) when I first entered puberty that I became aware of the fairer sex if the truth be told. I think that proved more true when I started going to summer camp with the group, beginning at Camp Ovoca in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Although nothing ever came from any of my crushes I did realize I had attractions to the girls in our group. We often had progressive dinner parties where we visited the homes of the class members, but I never hosted any of the courses at any time. Later, several years later, we started having boy-girl parties at some of the homes and I was surprised when these “church” parties turned out to not only be dancing parties but also kissing game parties. I never expected that from a church party.

Central Presbyterian was also the site of my entry into the Boy Scouts. I first joined Troop 70 there and got my first taste of the Scouting life. Fate would have it that at the time I joined the troop I had no idea it was in a death-spiral with declining membership and I would ride it to the ground when it finally disbanded and the few remaining members were forced to find a new troop. I ended up joining Troop 66 at Homes Street Methodist Church and that association was one of the biggest influences in the development of my growing up I ever had. Still, I would not have made that move had it not have been my first encounter at Central Presbyterian.

I continued going to church there even though I was still the only member of my family who made church attendance a normal part of my life. I even became a member and was baptized there, without my family attending the service. Like many church goers, I found a pew which became my normal spot during Sunday morning services and Buddy and I would sit together each week in the same place.

Church buildings were different when we were growing up. Central Presbyterian was never locked to my knowledge. Many times I would stop there on my way home from downtown and go inside just because I could. I would make my way through the sanctuary and go down into the basement where the troop had met where I knew a bathroom was always available. The basement was also the place where the Sunday School group has special meetings. I remember one night we had a get together there and hosted “The Generals Three” for a night of folk singing.

Once I moved to Lee territory I still attended church there but often had transportation problems getting to the service. I remember one specific Sunday when I was at church and missed the live television shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Sometime along the way we got a new preacher named Edward Gartrell, which the Sunday School group quickly nicknamed “The Big G” because of his size. He was a very influential figure in my growing up as well. I also remember our organist was Mrs. Graham, who I also remember from Lee High School.

Though I ended my formal connection with the church when I moved to Memphis after graduation I have attended services there a few times on trips back. The only member of my Sunday School group I still keep up with is Annewhite Thomas Fuller, as a friend on Facebook. Still, the memories of those wonderful days at Central Presbyterian Church often fill my mind with pleasure. I would not be the person I am today had it not been a part of my past.


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    The Lyric Theatre

Polly Gurley Redd

LHS '66

    Loving the countdown for your favorite places. I didn’t know the newsstand last week, but loved the Lyric as you did. I can’t remember all the times we went but ordering a “suicide” where they mixed the soda was classic. Thanks for the memories.

Still looking for Spouses of Veterans and Veterans

    I am adding a form below to collect information of the spouses or ex-spouses of veterans. The veterans do not have to have graduated from Lee High School, but I am only interested in the spouses who did. So, if you were/are married to a veteran, then please fill out the form below so your service can be recognized.

Information for Spouse of Veteran

    And, if you are a veteran and feel your name is not on the list we have shared for the last couple of issues, then please fill out this form.

Veteran Information



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