Obituary: Doris Elizabeth Wheeler Jenkins, 1923-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Doris Elizabeth Wheeler Jenkins, 1923-2020 

Shelburne woman exemplified "a life well lived with grace, love and beauty"

Published May 5, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. | Updated May 5, 2020 at 12:14 p.m.

click to enlarge Doris Jenkins
  • Doris Jenkins

Our beloved Doris Elizabeth Wheeler Jenkins, 96, passed away peacefully on April 29, 2020, at the McClure Miller Respite House, in Colchester, Vt.

Everyone who knew Doris was blessed by her humor, generosity, spirit and joy. Born in Greenfield, Mass., on November 1, 1923, Doris was raised by her parents, Bert and Margaret Wheeler, alongside her older sister, Margaret. In 1946, she married the love of her life, Russell E. "Brom" Jenkins Jr., who predeceased her in 1987. She never married again. Theirs was a true love story, and they raised three children together — Donald, Nancy and Rosemary — in Rochester, N.Y.

Education was very important to Doris — and she taught us so much, just through being with her and by her example. Her mother, who became a caregiver to her siblings at age 12 in Barre, Vt., instilled in her a vision and belief in the value of education. She continued that tradition by proudly providing financial support and encouragement to all nine of her grandchildren to earn college degrees. Doris’ wish was that this amazing legacy would continue through the generations.

Singing and music also filled Doris’ home. Music is another rich legacy she leaves for her family. As an avid music lover, she played the piano and sang for many years in the choir at her church, where she was an active member. Always with a ready smile, Doris poured out her heart in a way that made you feel extra special just to be with her.

She enjoyed taking family to museums, the zoo, ball games, plays, swimming in her pool at Veldor Park, Lake Ontario, Nauset Beach on Cape Cod and Rochester Philharmonic performances. She also enjoyed golf, bridge and, of course, a frozen custard at Abbotts! She loved every moment of it.

Her encouragement and confidence in each of us allowed us to make our own decisions in life. She always gave us unconditional support in our choices.

Doris is survived by her son, Donald Jenkins (Naureen), of Boulder, Colo.; her daughter Nancy Jenkins (Bryan Jackson) of Shelburne, Vt.; her daughter Rosemary Mishrell (Kirk) of Bath, N.Y.; her grandchildren Alison Barges, Meredith Barges, Amanda Gerlack, Emily Dusel (Clay), Matthew Jenkins (Meghan), Christopher Jenkins, Luke Mishrell (Jessica Kleiner), Glenn Mishrell and Annalee Mishrell; and her 12 great-grandchildren. Also special to her were her niece Sarah Reeves (Scott) and nephew Andrew Kimball (Lisa), to whom she was like a second mother.

On April 3, 2020, Doris moved to Bryan and Nancy's home from the Residence at Shelburne Bay. In her final days, the phone rang off the hook with loved ones calling repeatedly to tell her how much they loved her and to share special stories and memories. She passed surrounded by love and held by Nancy and Bryan.

Doris had such a positive impact on all our lives. She was an inspiration to us all and an example of a life well lived with grace, love and beauty. We will miss her bright smile, her jokes, her witticisms, her wisdom and her love. May she and “her Brom” be square dancing in heaven and holding each other close as we hold our love in our hearts for Doris, Mom, Grammie, Great-Grammie.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her honor can be made to Burlington Boys and Girls Club, Go Red for Women, Shelburne Museum or Shelburne Farms.

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