From Supervisor Frank Principi:
Today, we mourn the passing of John Jenkins, a Prince William County icon. John was a decorated military veteran who later dedicated his career to education. He was also a committed family man and dedicated public servant, representing the Neabsco District as the longest-serving member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. John’s quintessential public legacy is his essential role in the development of Dale City, the “friendliest, little city around.” Today, it is home to more than 75,000 residents who can credit John with the strong quality of life they enjoy. He was loved universally and across multiple generations, and his impact extended well beyond his district.
No matter where we went, residents of all ages would stop by to thank him and share a personal story of how he made a difference in their lives. I am grateful to John for his many years of mentoring and coaching me during my time on the Board of Supervisors. John serves as a role model for me and all those who aspire to his example of servant leadership. We all feel his absence, even as his legacy continues to transcend our community – a community he loved, and served, so well. Rest in peace, dear friend. You will be missed.
The County communications staff has put together a statement on John’s life of service, below. We will share memorial information as soon as it becomes available.
Neabsco District Supervisor John D. Jenkins passed away yesterday, Feb. 6, 2019, after a long illness and courageous battle. Jenkins served on the Board of County Supervisors for more than 36 years, making him the longest-serving member of the board.
Jenkins, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served two tours in Vietnam, moved to Dale City in 1973 and soon thereafter joined the Dale City Civic Association as the Forestdale representative. In 1982, he was appointed to the Board of County Supervisors to fill the Neabsco District seat vacated by James McCoart.
Since taking office, Jenkins successfully pushed for the construction of the Dale City Recreation Center, the James. J. McCoart Administration Center, the G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transit Center, the county’s Boys’ Home and Girls’ Home, the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center, the Gar-Field Police Station, the Chinn Park Regional Library and Fitness Center, the Freedom Aquatics Center and about a dozen other buildings across the county, including fire stations, schools and senior centers.
In addition to advocating for public spaces, Jenkins always told his constituents that he would work for better education, public safety, transportation, human services and economic development. He advocated for roads and other infrastructure and was a primary proponent for building the Prince William Parkway. He also pushed the initiative to provide police officers with county-issued bullet proof jackets and advocated for the motorcycle traffic unit.
Between 1985 and 1986, Jenkins promoted the building and opening of the Dale City Mini Library. In 1993, at Jenkins’ prompting, the county allocated $1.44 million in additional funds for Prince William County Schools.
A life-long civil and human rights supporter, Jenkins once asked the board to initiate a local investigation of a Dale City restaurant for refusal of service based on race. In 2018, Jenkins supported a vote on the board to make June “LGBTQ and More Pride Month.”
In 2009, a tribute to Jenkins was entered into the U.S. Congressional Record by Congressman Connolly for Jenkins’ dedication to the community and his work with the Scouts. Jenkins was a recipient of the Occoquan District Good Scout Award by the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “He has taught generations of Scouts the nobility of public service and the great potential that it holds to help one’s fellow man,” stated the tribute.
Jenkins was voted by his colleagues on the Board of County Supervisors to serve as Vice Chairman two times and as Chairman Pro-Tem for the last several years. He also served two terms as Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, State President of the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions, State President of the Virginia Association of Counties, Chairman of the Virginia Railway Express Operations, and Chairman of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission. He served as a member of the Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board and was appointed by two Governors to serve as a member of the Virginia Geographical Information Network (VGIN) Advisory Board. In addition, he served on numerous boards and steering committees of the Virginia Municipal League, the Virginia Association of Counties, the National Association of Counties and represented the county on the Quantico Marine Corps and Fort Belvoir Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) Committee.
Jenkins received numerous awards over his years of service including the Robert W. Baker Award for “outstanding contributions in promoting regional planning and development.” In 2010, Jenkins was honored the Blue Victory Award by the Manassas & Manassas Park Democrats. In 2015, the Virginia Railway Express honored Jenkins for his key role in establishing the commuter rail service by having his name placed on the front of a VRE locomotive. In 2017, Gar-Field High School honored Jenkins for his support of athletic and academic programs as booster club president, parent and county supervisor.
Jenkins served on the board for more than eight terms. He is survived by his wife Ernestine, three sons, 14 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.