Dr. Debra Kaye Jenkins
Aug. 24, 1954 – Nov. 27, 2018
Dr. Debra Kaye Jenkins, of Rugby, North Dakota, the daughter of Ivan and Ruth Ann Sundberg (Carlson) was born August 24, 1954 in Roseville, Minnesota. A faithful servant of Christ, wife, mother, and friend died suddenly at the age of 64 on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 due to several health related complications.
Deb was raised in the home of her parents and graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School in 1972. She was united in marriage to Robert N. Jenkins on September 13, 1975 in Roseville, Minnesota. Deb was a proud housewife and artist in the Twin Cities before moving to Rugby in 1987 where she found Village Arts theater by going to a production of “Annie”. She fell in love with the show and auditioned for “My Fair Lady” with Bob and Jacob in the summer of 1988. Over the next 30 years, Deb spread her joy of music and the arts through Village Arts appearing in or directing over 20 productions and serving as a board officer for over 20 years. Seeking to serve the community of Rugby and further the love of music, Deb, an accomplished cello player, taught herself how to play violin and began to give music lessons.
Much to her delight, children and adults alike took interest and grew a love for string instruments. Deb founded the Village Arts string orchestra and symphonic orchestra she directed for the last 15 years. She is the author of “Borderlands of the Sky”. Deb was also one of the founders of Backstage Gallery and Gift Shoppe in Rugby, ND.
Deb had a lifelong love of learning which started at a very young age. When she was 12 years old, she started a home summer school. Children from around the block would come for the morning and participate in lessons and activities for five days a week over five weeks. Deb organized all of the lessons and taught everything on the patio of her childhood home. Upon graduating high school, she attended Mankato State where she studied Russian and played in the orchestra under conductor Herman Hertz. For a time, Deb attended Hamlin University where she studied Theater Design. She learned to play the cello, violin, viola, harp, piano, guitar, and started learning clarinet. She used to love reading books on an array of subjects from gardening and home improvement, to music and theater, to arts and crafting and everything in between. Her love of learning led to her desire to go back to school. She graduated Magna Cum Laude at the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in instructional design and technology. She earned a Master’s Degree from UND and had earned a PhD in Instructional Design and Technology this past spring. She was slated to walk through graduation and be hooded during the graduation ceremony in December. Deb was looking forward to beginning the journey to become a master gardener through UND this coming spring.
Deb re-dedicated her life to christ after high school and was a former member of Roseville Christian Fellowship and the Colonial Church of Edina, Minnesota, and a
member of Restoration Ministries in Rugby where she also served on the board for a time. One of her favorite memories was of meeting with Doug and Phyllis Kedl in Roseville for Friday night fellowship and spending many evenings with Darryl and Cindy Jelsing in Rugby. She had a deep love of the Lord and enjoyed sharing her faith with others.
Deb was a people person and poured out love to many in the community of Rugby and everywhere she went. From the time she was a young woman and would bring
people home who needed help until the time of her passing, many were touched by her love and compassion. Three people in particular played a large role in her life and were her greatest friends: Glory Monson, Robin Garnas, and Cindy Jelsing. It is through Village Arts theater that Deb met Glory and they became quick friends. For over 20 years, they directed summer theater together, put together writing and art workshops, and organized and directed musical events. Their shared love of arts quickly became a shared love for one another for all of Mom’s years in Rugby. People often believed that Deb, Cindy, and Robin were sisters and could often be seen together around Rugby and travelling together to Bismarck and Minot. Although always cantankerous and quarrelsome, the love shared among these friends fueled Deb and helped her to carry on until the very end.
On January 29, 2004 Deb’s life was forever changed when the love of her life, Robert Jenkins, lost his battle with cancer.
In the years that followed, she felt that a large piece of her soul was missing. Through this all, Deb fought on and dedicated herself to improving the lives of those around her and in the community of Rugby through music, theater, and art. She leaves a lasting imprint on all that she met and her legacy lives on through her family and every one of her beloved students, theater cast mates, and orchestra members.
Survivors include daughter Abigail (Ross) Menzies; four sons, Benjamin (Becky) Jenkins and grandchildren Jordan, Lillian and Ivan, Jacob (Amy) Jenkins and grandchildren Eric and Caleb, Adam (Desirae) Jenkins and grandchildren Ava and Allyson, and Josiah (fiancee Jessie) Jenkins; sister Margo Sundberg; brother Brian (Linda) Sundberg; brother-in-law Chris (Jane) Jenkins; sister-in-law Lynn Jenkins; several nieces, nephews, other family, and a host of friends.
She was preceded in death by husband Robert Jenkins, brother Brad Sundberg, mother Ruth Ann Sundberg, father Ivan Sundberg, father-in-law James Jenkins, and mother-in-law Geraldine Jenkins.
Funeral services were held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1st at Restoration Ministries in Rug-by. Michael Jelsing, Presiding.
Arrangements with the Anderson Funeral Home of Rugby, North Dakota. Online registry: www.funeralsbyanderson.com
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