In Memoriam

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Darrell Allan Jenks ’80

A picture of Darrell Jenks

Darrell Allan Jenks ’80, May 14, 2012, in Baltimore, Maryland, from cancer. Darrell came to Reed from Las Cruces, New Mexico, and earned a BA in French. He went on to earn an MA in political science from the Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela, an MA in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and a PhD from Salve Regina University in Newport. He joined the Foreign Service and served as an officer in the Diplomatic Corps in Belize, Japan, Taiwan, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Korea, Iraq, and the United States. He received the Secretary of State’s award for excellence in public diplomacy; a Superior Honor Award in recognition of extraordinary dedication to duty and creative, disciplined leadership for work in Maysan, Iraq; and a meritorious award for extraordinary contributions to U.S. interests in China—along with honorary citizenship in places he served. “Darrell, a brilliant linguist, served the American people well,” wrote his widow, Thelma Coyoc. He was fluent in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (Mandarin), Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese, and had a working knowledge, largely self-taught, of Arabic. He was fascinated by people and cultures, and formed lasting friendships everywhere he went. He also was an avid drummer, joining bands wherever he was posted and even playing a concert in Mongolia in 1990. Darrell spent 30 years in the Foreign Service and was director of the Foreign Service Institute’s Japanese Language and Area Training Center in Yokohama until his diagnosis. “His colleagues admired him for his warm, lively, and outgoing personality, as well as his conscientious leadership in the workplace.” Survivors include Thelma; daughter Desiree; son Christopher; and his parents, two brothers, and an uncle. “Darrell always praised Reed, encouraged students to apply to attend Reed, and told of his formative years and what Reed offered him. He was really an intellectual.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2012

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