Jonathan N. Jenks, 38, of Shanghai, China, and Brookings, S.D., passed away unexpectedly Monday, March 24, 2014, in Shanghai. A memorial visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, at Rude’s Funeral Home in Brookings. A sharing time followed by military honors begins at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers Jonathan's family suggests memorials be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675, or South Dakota Public Broadcasting c/o Friends of SDPB PO Box 5000 Brookings, SD 57006.
Jonathan Newman Jenks was born February 8, 1976, in Norwood, Mass., to Dr. Jonathan A. and Gail A. Jenks.
At the time of his death, he and his family resided in Shanghai, where he worked as the first materials manager for the Daktronics Shanghai plant. He graduated from Brookings High School in 1994 and began a degree program in history at South Dakota State University. He postponed his education in 1997 and enlisted in the Navy. After completing his boot camp training at Great Lakes Naval Academy, he was selected for Ceremonial Guard duty in Washington, D.C. While with the Ceremonial Guard, he participated in services at Arlington National Cemetery and the White House, and later served as a tour guide at the Pentagon. After concluding his duties in Washington, he married the love of his life, Erin Hall (of Brookings) on March 6, 1999. They then moved to Monterey, Calif., where he attended the Defense Language Institute. Jonathan and Erin were then stationed at RAF Menwith Hill in the United Kingdom.
After his tour with the Navy, Jonathan returned to Brookings in 2003. In 2004 he graduated from SDSU and resumed working at Daktronics, Inc., where he had first worked as a student employee in 1995. He became the first HSPR materials manager in the Brookings factory, and completed a second degree in global studies at South Dakota State University. In 2011, he and his family moved to Shanghai.
His love of travel and new adventures may have come from his early years where, prior to moving to Brookings in 1991, he lived and attended school in Norwood, Unity and Orono, Maine, and Stillwater, Okla., while also traveling with his parents and sisters throughout the United States. His adult travels included destinations in Africa, Europe, and many cities and regions of China.
Jonathan had many friendships that he maintained throughout his life. His clan of high school friends remained a major part of his life years after graduation. Other associates included friends made during his military service, many individuals within the Daktronics system in the United States and Shanghai, the World Affairs Council at South Dakota State University, and members of the Bruce American Legion Hall.
He was an avid reader, musician, skater, gardener, motorcyclist and gamer, to name but a few of his interests.
He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Erin, and his daughter, Brynn Llewelyn; parents Jonathan and Gail; sisters Heather Turany (Tad) of Houston and Abigail TeKrony (Brandon) of Brookings; nephews Andrew, Bode and Linus, and nieces Bailey and Kennedy; aunts Priscilla Parkinson, Miriam Hobart (Larry), and Kathi Baldwin (Ray), all of Massachusetts; and in-laws Sherri and Scott Minor of Brookings and Terry and Kristi Hall of Pierre.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents and three uncles.