Long Life, Faithful Service, and Good Humor

Wade Jenkins

Long Life, Faithful Service, and Good Humor

We caught up recently with one of the oldest members of our Love Worth Finding community, Wade Jenkins, who turned 104 on November 15. Mr. Jenkins has listened to Pastor Adrian Rogers for decades.

“I used to try to hurry home from church. Pastor Rogers came on at 12:30 and I really wanted to hear him. Now I tune in at 3 in the afternoon on Sundays.”

Mr. Jenkins is a member of a vanishing breed as one of 16 million men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II. Today only about 100,000 WWII veterans remain. He is also a believer who, along with his wife, Annette, remained steady for a lifetime in service to God.

Following World War II, Mr. Jenkins worked for the same jeans manufacturer his entire career. “That’s how we do things here,” he said simply. “I was born in a company house and worked at the company store.” He has faithfully taught Sunday school for an impressive three quarters of a century—50 years teaching children and 25 years teaching adults. In addition to Sunday school teaching, Mr. Jenkins is a long-time choir member. He sang his first church solo at age 5 and has been singing ever since. “I’ve been singing for a hundred years,” he said. “My pretty wife, who died in ’09, was an accompanist and had a beautiful alto voice.” Mrs. Jenkins was also a devoted and active member of their church, teaching children’s Sunday school and serving as Sunday School superintendent, on the administrative board, and in the church choir. The couple was married for nearly 69 years.

In a recent interview, Mr. Jenkins demonstrated humor as a predictor of longevity. Asked what he wanted for his birthday, he replied simply, “Another one.” Asked about the most important things in marriage and in life, he described his courtship and the beginning of his marriage:

The Jenkins met as teens and Wade said he knew right away Annette Williams was the one. “The law said you had to be 18 to marry so I had to wait. She turned 18 in October, and I married her in November.”

“We were extremely poor. We didn’t have a hundred dollars between us. We were married at a friend’s house, got in the car, and said, ‘Now what?’ We went west on I-40 toward Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and I saw a billboard sign for the Robert E. Lee Hotel, so that’s where we honeymooned. Later, when I joined the army, guess where they sent me the first night? The Robert E. Lee Hotel. What a different night that was!”

Wade clearly still possesses his sense of humor as well as a lifetime of good memories as a husband and father who put God first!