Art Jenkyns used to say, “You can’t change the world, but you can change some people’s world.” As founder of Operation Eyesight, he did just that. And as a dedicated husband and father, he also made the world a better place for his family.
Art and his beloved wife, Una, had five children: Tom, Linda, Arleigh, Bill and Jim. “We kids were all really close, and we were all close to both Mom and Dad,” recalls their daughter, Linda.
Despite his busy schedule, Linda says her father was able to achieve a good balance between his work, family and faith. Sunday was designated as family day. They would play games in the backyard and simply enjoy spending time together.
The Jenkyns also planned a few weeks of family holidays each summer. “Mom and Dad loved to camp. They had a 9×9 tent with five kids and a dog, and we never stayed anywhere for more than one night.”
After summers of setting up and breaking camp, the Jenkyns found their new home-away-from home: a family cottage in central Alberta. Linda has many fond memories of their time out at the lake. “Dad loved the water,” she explains. “And he just loved to go out there and spend time with us.”
Art would often keep busy with chores, such as raking up weeds in the water or staining the deck, but he was happy to be around his family. He knew how to have fun, too; he’d play cards or games with the kids. Linda and her siblings still go out to the cottage, reminiscing about their father’s joy at being out there with them.
Art was also a romantic. He adored Una, to whom he was married for 62 years. “I remember the first trip my Dad made to India in 1968. My parents had never been separated before. Dad was away for a month and he wrote Mom a letter every day.”
Linda remembers going to pick her Dad up from the airport and watching him bolt through the door to see them. “The expression ‘joined at the hip’ was so true of my parents. Mom was his strength and his support, and he gave her credit.”
Art was quick to give everyone else credit, putting the needs of others before his own. “He was a man of deep faith who felt he was called to lead others,” explains Linda.
“He was encouraging and optimistic. He instilled in us the importance of giving back to the community and making the world a better place for those less fortunate.”
The Jenkyns family – which now spans four generations, with 11 granchildren, five great-grandchildren and twins on the way this fall! – will always remember Art as a loving and compassionate husband, father and grandfather.
“We miss him dearly,” says Linda. “He was one-of-a-kind. He always said he’d like to leave the world a better place, and he certainly did that.”
We would like to thank Linda for sharing her precious memories with us. We enjoy hearing such heartwarming stories about the man who founded our work. He truly was remarkable, and so is his legacy!
You, too, can help make the world a better place. This Father’s Day, please consider giving a gift in honour of the dad in your life and, by doing so, help parents in India and Africa. See our Gift Guide.