STOUGHTON, Wis. — Gloria Jenkins, 2232 Colladay Point Drive, Stoughton, WI, passed from this life to her next on September 29, 2023. Born August 20, 1937 to Arthur and Mary Kaszynski in Peru, Illinois, she was a golfer from the age of 5 and won her first club championship at South Bluff Country Club in Central Illinois at the age of 16. She attended Illinois State University and in 1958 married Norman Jenkins, Sr. They divorced in 1997. After college, marriage, and a family, Gloria returned to win the same championship in 1966 and 1967. Most of her adult life was spent in Rochelle, Illinois where she loved and raised her children and won club championships at Rochelle Country Club until retiring undefeated in 1995. After moving to the Madison, Wisconsin area in 1996 she became active in Wisconsin women’s state senior golf, holding a state office and organizing the senior tournament in 2003.
As dining room hostess at Sunnyside resort for 2 years, she began friendships with those living on the “other” side of the lake, and as a golf shop employee at Stoughton Country Club she found many more friends on “this” side. Membership in the Madison Municipal Golf League and Businesswomen’s League widened her circle of fellowship. As a breast cancer survivor, Gloria became active in the Badger Bracelet Babes, a group showing and selling Circle of Hope bracelets to support cancer research, and in SCC’s Rally for the Cure Golf Outing organized in 2001. In 1997 she was one of the organizers of the Sunnyside Resort Charity Golf Outing and became the event coordinator for 10 years. In those years she was proud to see the donation to the City of Stoughton Food Pantry increase from $400 to over $10,000. In 2007, Gloria helped organize the SCC Chip-N-Sip women’s golf group which supported the Komen Foundation, and became a very active and important part of women’s golf at the club. In 2009 Stoughton Country Club created the Jenkins Cup, a traveling trophy engraved with the names of the women’s club champions.
An English major at ISU, she loved the language and enjoyed proofreading everything in life from menus to billboards to TV banner news. An accomplished seamstress, Gloria tailored the bridesmaids’ dresses for the wedding of her cousin Kathy and Bill Citek. Another project was making the dresses for the Rochelle High School Madrigal girls. Some of her grandchildren got the benefits of her talent in many Halloween costumes. Her favorite thing was watching her grandchildren grow and bloom and flourish. While living in Rochelle, Gloria was involved in her children’s activities including serving as Campfire Girls Leader (twice) and Den Mother (twice), and was elected first woman school board president in the elementary school district. As first lady of Kishwaukee Community College she made many lasting friendships in Ogle and DeKalb counties.
Gloria Jenkins is survived by her four children, Kathy Phillips (Elliott, deceased) and their sons Sam of Los Angeles, CA and Noah of Troy, NY; Norm Jenkins, Jr (Dawn) and their daughters Jennifer of Stoughton, WI and Taylor (Jacob) of Rochelle, IL; Lisa Autry (Mark) and their children Jonathan, Matthew, Emilee and Aaron Autry, all of St. Louis, MO; and Michael Jenkins (Sheri) and their children Jeremy and Nicholas Jenkins, Madison Jenkins-Dietrich (Jordan), Jeff, Kevin and Craig Venice, and their 7 grandchildren, all of Quincy, IL.
Gloria loved to bring family and friends together throughout her life. Instead of a memorial service she left instructions for a “happy gathering for memory-sharing” for her family, neighbors and friends. Her celebration of life will take place in Rochelle, Illinois on Saturday, November 11, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Salt 251 restaurant on the Fairways Golf Course property. Drop in when you can, family will speak starting at 2:30 p.m. A memorial has been established, the “GloJay Quest to be Best” youth golf initiative which will advance aspiring youth golfers in the city of Rochelle.
“I HOPE YOU DANCE…”