Nell Rita Schwark Jenkins, the daughter of Christian John Schwark and Etherl Stokes Schwark, was born April 9, 1914 in Decatur, Texas. She is the granddaughter of Jeff and Elizabeth Stokes, an old pioneer family that settled in Wise County when the Comanche and Kiowa tribes were still making raids on isolated settlers. A few years later the family moved to Sealy,Texas, where she graduated from the local high school. Following her graduation the family moved back to Decatur, Texas, where she attended Decatur Baptist College, now Dallas Baptist University. In the years that followed, wh attended Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth, Texas, and the University of Texas
In Arlington. She met and married William Harrison Jenkins, son of another pioneer family, in 1935 during the Great Depression. They had three sons, Jerry Harrison, Ralph Eugene and John Charles Jenkins.
She is a past member of the Poetry Society of Texas, where she served as Secretary, the Poetry Society of Fort Worth, the Composers, Authors and Artists Society of America and, the Wise County Historical Society. Her poetry has been published in the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the various anthologies of the Poetry Society of Texas, and recently in the tribal newspaper of the Muscogee Creeks, with whom she shares ancestry.
She has taught school, worked in defense industries as an electrician during World War II, and then prior to her retirement as a Real Estate Specialist with the Fort Worth Office of the Federal Housing Administration. She began writing during her high school years, followed by the historic time of the Second World War and the conflicts and threats of nuclear warfare that followed. Her poetry covers a heritage that spans the memory of the last Indian raids on the sparsely settled Texas frontier to the imprint of the Mars surveyor on a new outpost of mankind. Her writing is filled with images of the faith, optimism, humor and determination that sustained so many Americans of her generation. She has lived for many years on a large lake in the Fort Worth area and it has provided her much material for the poetry of the last few years.
P.S. It is with regret that I announce that Nell Jenkins passed away recently after a short illness. She is my favorite modern-day poet, and a special friend! I have composed a short tribute to Nell and hope she reads it wherever she may be in Spirit Land!
Dedicated to my special friend, Nell Jenkins
I will mourn you, oh woman with long flowing white hair who dreamed of following the spirit of her young brave into valleys never seen by mortal eyes.
Did he come for you in the night mist that hangs over the prairie in cool of evening? Did his voice echo in the stillness as you strained to leave this life and join him in spirit land?
I think I saw a young girl with long black hair reaching up to heaven to embrace her new life in the land where willows do not weep, to sit in a garden where flowers always bloom, to live in a place where time will never end.
(c) Judith Anne Labriola
"Moon of Falling Leaves":
"When I am an Old Woman,
I Shall Wear Purple...":
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