WASHINGTON — Prince William County Supervisor John Jenkins, the Virginia county’s longest-serving lawmaker who served on the Board of Supervisors for more than three decades, has died.
The Democratic supervisor, who represented the Neabsco district since 1982, died Feb. 6 at Inova Fairfax Hospital after a long illness, the county said in a news release. He was 79.
Known to fellow lawmakers as a giant figure with an outsize legacy in local politics, Jenkins is also remembered for his personal touch. “He could and would move heaven and earth for his constituents,” Rep. Gerry Connolly said in a statement. “John knew your name, he knew your kids’ names, he probably even knew your grandkids’ names. He cared about people and made sure they knew it.”
Details about the funeral service are still being finalized and will be released soon, according to a statement released by Jenkins’ family.
“Supervisor Jenkins will always be remembered for his dedicated service to the citizens of Prince William County, his faith and most of all his love for his family,” the statement said.
Jenkins had been battling illness for the past few months.
His family had previously issued a statement in December saying he had been hospitalized with “severe pneumonia” after suffering complications from a total knee replacement in October, according to a report in The Prince William Times.
During his tenure on the Board of Supervisors, Jenkins had twice served as vice chairman and had held a number of spots on regional, state and national committees, including two terms as chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission; two terms as state president of the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions; and one term as state president of the Virginia Association of Counties, among many others.
The Dale City resident was also a decorated veteran, and had retired as a regular Army lieutenant colonel. He was a graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Lawmakers from around Virginia and other groups shared messages of condolences.
“Prince William County has lost a giant figure whose legacy and imprint will live on throughout our community,” Connolly said in his statement. “John Jenkins’ life was one spent in service to his country and his community.”
In a statement, Corey Stewart, the Republican chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors said: “Today, Prince William County mourns the loss of one of it’s best. For almost 37 years, Supervisor John Jenkins served his community with honor, integrity and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the residents in the Neabsco district. He not only loved this country, but he loved this community.”
Virginia Del. Danica Roem said, “My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues and constituents of Prince William County Supervisor John Jenkins, who served the people of Neabsco since 1982. He devotedly served his country, commonwealth, county and party and will be missed so much.”
My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues and constituents of Prince William County Supervisor John Jenkins, who served the people of Neabsco since 1982.
He devotedly served his country, commonwealth, county and party and will be missed so much.https://t.co/5dZrKE0iYJ
— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) February 7, 2019
The Virginia Association of Counties said Jenkins was a friend to many in the organization. “John Jenkins dedicated his life to the service of others. … We will miss him deeply. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ernestine and the Jenkins family.”
In a statement, the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce said Jenkins’ “legacy and impact on our community will be felt for years to come.”