Dental Health

Philip A. Jenkins Obituary 2024

Philip Arvene Jenkins drifted into final rest while at home in the mountains of Colorado on April 20th, 2024. His final day was spent surrounded by his loving offspring. He was 89.

Born on February 19th, 1935 in San Diego, he grew up on a dairy farm tucked near the hills of Santee, California. His humble beginnings began in a home with a dirt floor. His mother, Helena, not wanting her second child learning to crawl on the dirt, kept him in his crib. At nine months she finally placed him on a blanket that was stretched on the floor and Philip promptly stood up and walked off. That wanderlust spirit carried him throughout his life.

During his freshman year in high school his father, Max, moved the family to Vernal, Utah to pursue a business opportunity. Philip completed his freshman year at Uintah High School, Home of the Utes. It was here where he found himself, as well as his best friend for life, Gene Weeks. When his father’s new business opportunity failed to bring results, the family moved back to San Diego. Philip, not wanting to leave his new school and friends, moved in with his Uncle Arvene and Aunt Maurice Cooper. He remained there for the next three years.

To call Philip an involved student would be an understatement. His club membership included: Student Council Chief of Police, Stage Crew, Thespian Playhouse, Pep Club, Thespian Club, Senior Project Committee, and FFA. He also played on the basketball team and lettered in track. As a senior he was elected in the Who’s Who in the class of ’53. He performed in numerous plays and was known to recite lines at parties for laughs, the most requested being a hillbilly burlesque version of Romeo and Juliet. Philip played Romeo. Later in life he would perform a dramatic rendition of A Madman’s Manuscript by Charles Dickens at ward talent shows, much to the embarrassment of his wife and children.    

As a young man Philip served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two and a half years in Mexico. This started a lifelong love affair with the people, culture, food, and language of the country. He maintained conversational fluency of Spanish until his death. He survived illness, the destruction of Hurricane Hilda in Tampico, extreme heat, questionable water, even more questionable gas appliances, mouth-watering mole, and beautiful senoritas. Temples now reside in each of the areas where he served. According to Philip, this was due to all the people he converted as a missionary.    

Philip completed his pre-dental education at San Diego State before enrolling in dental school at University of California San Francisco in the summer of 1957. During his first week in San Francisco, he attended a church social. It was here that he met his future wife, Patsy Jean Neiman Unck. Her smile caught his attention. His Uintah Ute letterman sweater caught hers which she mistook for a Stanford letterman sweater. They courted for two years and were married on August 25th, 1959, in the Los Angeles California Temple. Philip’s in-laws immediately fell in love with him. It took Max and Helena some convincing until Patsy won them over.

Children soon followed, as did graduation. The family moved to Los Gatos, California where Philip started a dental practice on Minnesota Avenue in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose. His quest to be a cowboy dentist, complete with Wranglers and cowboy boots, was short-lived once Patsy began managing the office. More children followed, six living in total, as did another move, this time to a home with an acre lot and a stable in Monte Sereno. Philip’s dream of raising a family on a farm was finally a reality, albeit smack in the middle of suburbia. Thus began the Rockin’ J Ranch which fueled birthday parties and extended family gatherings for years to come, as well as endless Saturday chores for his children. There were horses, ponies, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and even a goat and a bull named Ferdinand.

In 1978 Philip purchased a scenic lot of land with thick oak trees that overlooked Los Gatos Creek. A year later a truly unique dental office opened, the design and construction of which was completed by his father-in-law John Unck and brother-in-law Johnny Unck. Patsy did the interior design. A block party was held for its grand opening, complete with catering, balloons, and live music. Philip practiced his brand of out-of-the-box dentistry at 210 Oak Meadow Drive for twenty years. It was a second home and a source of pride for a man who always put his patients first. He was the first dentist in the Bay Area to buy a dental laser and was one of the first to go mercury-free. Some of his children worked in various capacities in the dental office, notably his oldest daughter Darleen who became a hygienist.

He retired in August of 2000, but dentistry never left his system. Now grandparents, with more on the way, Philip and Patsy left their home of nearly forty years in 2004 and relocated to Conifer, Colorado where they resided until their deaths.

Philip lived for his wife. True, he was a loving father and grandfather who served in various capacities in the church, from Scouting to Stake High Council, but Patsy was always the center of his attention. Many days, and nights, were spent in compassionate servitude to her physical and emotional needs. A problem-solver at heart, he dedicated much of his life to the betterment of her well-being.

He could be an enigma at times, and an open book at others. He rarely showed emotion unless he was watching a movie. Unbridled emotion became a hallmark in his later years, especially when gushing about his grandchildren. He was humble. He rarely spoke of his own accomplishments. His laugh was quick, boisterous, and infectious. His talents and hobbies enriched the lives of those around him. From handmade jewelry to a lifelong love of photography that spawned 50,000 film slides which he later digitized for posterity. English toffee and British humor were key to winning him over. He never met a cantaloupe he didn’t love or eat in a single sitting with vanilla ice cream. He was, at times, a man of constant sorrow which he kept to himself. His patience was only equaled by the size of his heart. He shared a stage with a spouse who commanded and even commandeered the spotlight, and somehow managed to thrive in her shadow. He loved her with a love that is not of this world. It was only fitting that he followed so quickly after her departure. In his mind, there could never be him without her.

He is preceded in death by his eternal spouse and companion Patsy Jean Neiman Unck Jenkins, his father Max Frederick Jenkins, his loving mother Helena Cooper Jenkins, and his younger brother Clark Jenkins. He is also preceded by his daughter Melissa Jean, son Philip Adam, and great-grandchildren Ryan and Aspen Griffith.

He is survived by his older sister Virginia Brawn, eldest daughter Darleen (Kelly) Simonsen, eldest son John (Robin) Jenkins, daughter Sharee (John) Pack, son Bradley (Dr. Leslie McCoy) Jenkins, son David (Robin) Jenkins, and daughter Michelle (Dr. Eric) Rackley. He is survived by his grandchildren John (Teresa) Simonsen, Rachelle Simonsen, David John Pack, Adam Simonsen, Marie (Jacob) Pack Griffith, Amy (Jason) Simonsen Sorger, Aurora Pack, James (Ali Christensen) Simonsen, Rachel Jenkins, Mirth (Bob) Pack Carpenter, Christine Simonsen, Ayden Jenkins, Josie Rackley, Malin Jenkins, Samuel Jenkins, Joshua Rackley, Kellen Jenkins, Adam Rackley, Isaac Rackley, Jacob Rackley, Jared Rackley, Anna Rackley, and Kate Jenkins. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Emily Simonsen, Owen Simonsen, Clark Griffith, Matthew Griffith, and Sarah Griffith.

A viewing for family and friends will be held on Friday, May 3, 2024, from 6:30 – 8:00pm, at Horan & McConaty, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood, Colorado 80227.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00am, on Saturday, May 4, 2024, in the Evergreen Memorial Park, 26624 N Turkey Creek Rd, Evergreen, CO 80439.

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