Irma Jean Lewis Jenkins was born on August 28, 1931, in Jersey City, New Jersey to the late Thomas Lyttleton Lewis, Sr., and Ada Lewis. Irma moved with her family to the Bronx, New York in 1942. She continued her education and graduated from Walton High School in 1948. She later attended Virginia State University where joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Epsilon Chapter in 1949. Irma graduated in 1952 from Virginia State University where she received her B.S. in Bacteriology. Irma Jean later attended Rutgers- the State University’s Graduate School of Social Work and received her master’s in social work.
Irma married Fred Lee Jenkins in 1958 and a daughter, Karen Leigh was born in 1960.
Irma’s professional career as a social worker spanned over 33 years. She spent six years in New York City’s Department of Welfare as a social caseworker and twenty-seven (27) years in Essex County, New Jersey’s Division of Welfare, Newark, NJ. After retiring from Essex County of Welfare in 1988 as an Assistant Field Office Manager, Irma worked with Catholic Community Services as a Program Director for four (4) years. She developed, implemented, and supervised the program, St. Ann’s Family Emergency Shelter (SAFER) for homeless families in Essex County, New Jersey. After residing in Newark, NJ, Irma moved to Smithville, NJ in 1992, and gained employment with Atlantic City Medical Center as an Administrative Director, Department of Social Work Services.
Irma traveled the world and visited many places such as Malaga, Spain; Cote d’Ivoire; Jerusalem, Israel; Xian and Beijing in the People’s Republic of China and the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa. Irma also enjoyed cruises and visited Greece, Turkey, France, England, Italy, and the Caribbean with her grandsons.
Irma accomplished another dream. She wrote and self-published two (2) books. “Dear Honey Bunches, A Novella” and factual history of her father’s family, “The Davies of Fairfield County, South Carolina, An American Saga”. Both books were accepted for inclusion in the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington, DC. In 2016 Irma moved to Oak Springs Assisted Living facility in Toms River, NJ, and was featured in a film regarding the aging process. Irma stated in the film that family and friends allowed her to remain positive during the journey of life.
After a long illness, Irma Jean Lewis Jenkins gracefully passed away on April 13, 2022; she was preceded in death by mother and father Ada and Thomas Lewis, her siblings Ada Trotter, Thomas Lewis, Jr., and Bertha "Peggy" Anthony, and her loving husband Fred Lee Jenkins.
She leaves behind her loving daughter, Karen Jenkins-White, West Orange, NJ; son-in-law, Randolph White, West Orange, NJ; Mama's boys Angel White the Scholar, Philadelphia, PA and Malik White the Soldier, West Orange, NJ. Two (2) nephews Glenn Anthony, Nyack, NY, and Hassan Abdul Malik, Rhinebeck, NY; two (2) nieces Claudia Anthony, New York, NY, and Lynne Trotter-Wagstaff, Hernando, FL and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Irma’s Grandmother, Nana quoted her a message that she leaves for us and I quote:
“Aristotle defined the ingredients for a life of happiness to include good health, friendships, enough money, a career, and family. If at the end of a person’s life he/she can say that it was composed of a balance of all these things, in retrospect he/she can also say that he/she was happy. Prior to the twilight of my life, I was blessed with good health. During my pilgrim’s journey, I had many wonderful friends, enough money for some of life’s pleasures, a rewarding career, and a family who gave me unconditional love and support. Based on all these ingredients I can say without hesitation or reservations that I had a happy and blessed life. And now I must journey on.”
Love you all!!!
Goodbye, my day is done...
The Last of the Four Jewels
Irma Jean Lewis-Jenkins