Former Portland mayor Dan Jenkins passed away last week at the age of 80.
Jenkins, who served as mayor from 1997-2001, died on Dec. 29 at Hendersonville Medical Center. Funeral services were held on Jan. 2 at Wilkinson and Wiseman Funeral Home.
Jenkins was noted for his long service to Portland, both in and out of city government. In addition to his time as mayor, he served on Portland’s city council twice, from 1969-71 and 1995-97. During his second tenure, he also served as Portland’s vice mayor and chair of the public works committee.
“When he was mayor, I worked in the public works department,” said Ken Wilbur, another former mayor of Portland. “Dan really loved Portland and this community. He wanted to do what was best and see us grow in a proper way.
“It’s really a loss for our community.”
In 2000, Jenkins was named Tennessee’s Outstanding Mayor/Executive of the Year and was recognized by the Tennessee General Assembly for receiving the award.
Among his accomplishments as mayor was spearheading the acquisition of land for what is now the Richland Park complex. He also helped seek permits and funding for adding Caney Fork Creek as a water supply for the city and helped secure upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and natural gas system.
“He was very visionary and had a lot of good visions about Portland,” Wilbur said. “Richland Park has been a tremendous asset for Portland.”
He also owned and operated Dan’s Furniture and Appliance for 37 years, served as charter president of the Portland Jaycees, chaired the Portland Industrial Development Board for 10 years and served as director of the Portland Chamber of Commerce. Jenkins also was a former president of Dogwood Hills Country Club and sponsored/coached a Portland Little League baseball team for more than 30 years.
“Dan was very supportive of school activities in the community,” Wilbur said. “I played football, and he was very supportive of the team.
“I remember when I was a senior, and we lost our first game. He said, ‘If y’all win the next eight games, I’ll take you to Cherokee (Steak House) and eat. We did, and he did.’ ”
In addition to his work in the community, Jenkins was also an active member of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. He taught Sunday school while serving as the church’s treasurer, trustee and a song leader.
Jenkins is survived by his wife of 60 years, Charlotte, two sons, five grandchildren, one great-grandchild, two sisters and three brothers.
The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.