Jeffry Edward Jenkins

Published 2:07 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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Saluda— The world lost an independent thinker and creative soul as Jeffry Edward Jenkins lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, April 14, 2024 at his home in Saluda.

Born in Asheville on December 28, 1957, Jeff was the fifth of five children to Kenneth A. Jenkins and Eileen Lawing Jenkins. His family moved to Landrum where they would live until Jeff was five. They relocated to Rock Hill, SC for his father’s work and Jeff spent his remaining school years there, graduating from Northwestern High School in 1976. He went on to the College of Charleston where he earned a degree in Biology. Jeff loved science and nature, astounding folks with his knowledge of plants and animals, naming most by their genus and species. He was an artist-at-heart though, always creating, whether it was painting, photography, printmaking, pottery or woodworking. He was endlessly curious and enjoyed learning new things, often moving onto his next project once he’d figured out the last. Jeff enjoyed great music, traveling to new places, and a good beer. Jeff earned his teaching degree in 1991 from The Citadel and taught science at St. Andrews High School and James Island High School in Charleston, SC and also at Chapman High School after moving to Polk County in 2002. He worked at Saluda School for eight years in the Computer Lab where he met many wonderful friends. He continued teaching in Henderson County for a few years then worked at the Polk County Transportation Authority and the Polk County Public Library where he was the library assistant in the Saluda Library his last years before retirement. Having remodeled three houses over the years, Jeff decided to return to that more creative endeavor with the purchase of the Saluda house in 2017, which he and his wife rebuilt from the inside out. Jeff always enjoyed making “something from nothing” and truly believed in leaving things better than he found them. Jeff left his mark at many of Polk County’s nonprofit organizations over the past 22 years, never calling attention to himself. While on the board of the Upstairs Artspace, he was instrumental in restarting Literary Open Stage in 2010. He also served on the Arts & Education Committee at Tryon Fine Arts Center, as a set painter and occasional actor with Tryon Little Theater, as a volunteer at the Polk County Public Library, AFS exchange student parent, Polk County High band parent, and a Super Saturday spouse/volunteer.

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Jeff will be dearly missed by his wife of 34 years, Amber Keeran, and his son, Eli Jenkins. Jeff was also “father” to several exchange students over the years, including Belgian “son” Jonas Wilmart. He is also survived by two brothers and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and a brother.

A Life Celebration will be held 2 PM Saturday, June 1, 2024 at The Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Pavilion.

Donations can be made in Jeff’s name to The Upstairs Artspace in Tryon, the Friends of the Polk County Library, or Tryon Fine Arts Center’s Arts Education & Outreach Committee.

Condolences to the family can be made to


Sanders Funeral Home
Columbus, NC