Leslie Albert JENKINS
On January 24, 2023 Les Jenkins passed away suddenly at the age of 91.
Les was born on June 20th, 1931 in Edmonton to Marjorie and Orval Jenkins. Les was the first of 12 children and fondly referred to as #1. The family lived in Bon Accord until the fall of 1933 when they moved to their homestead in the Grassland Alberta area. Les began schooling in the Forrest Grove school, later renamed Grassland School. During the war years when most of the young men were off to war, there was a shortage of men for harvest. Les was 13 and he with the help of his younger brother ran a team of horses picking and hauling bundles to the threshing machine from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Les liked working more than school so left home at age 15 and spent his first 2 winters working for Elefson’s saw mills as a cat skinner near Smith Alberta skidding logs from the bush to the mill. He returned home for the summers to work on the farm. He then went to the Bon Accord area and worked for his uncle and Grandfather. He went on to purchase his uncle’s land and began his farming career. He married Doris Fleming of Grassland and went on to have 3 daughters, Debbie, Shelly and Lori. Farming, not being his forte, he spent the winters driving his water truck up at Slave Lake
Les and Doris moved to Edmonton in 1964 and purchased a home on the north side. Les worked for Rempel Trucking hauling fuel and then later for Jim Rowe Trucking. He purchased his own truck in the late 1960’s and began Jenkins Transport. It was at this time that Les’ love of travel really began. Every week he would pick up a load of peatmoss from the Boyle, AB area and head down south to California where he would load up his truck with produce and head back to Canada.
Taking a break from the long days on the road, Les worked for Scholler Trucking and then Red Ram Oil. Becoming an adventurous man, he decided to try his hand at flying. He received his pilot’s license in 1977 and went on to own 2 planes, one of which he built. Les enjoyed flying to various locations in Alberta and particularly enjoyed using the landing strips his family built for his drop ins.
Later on in his life Les met Liz Hunchak. Together they raised a son, Keith. Liz had a daughter Sandy who Les welcomed into the family.
Continuing his adventures, he enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and Mexico. When that wasn’t enough, he would hop on his motorcycle and tour Alberta and British Columbia. Les continued to ride his motorcycle and fly his airplane until his death. To escape the cold winters, he would travel down to California and Arizona to spend time with his daughters.
After retiring, Les, not one to sit at home, started driving for Edmonton Fifth Wheel. He delivered trucks and other vehicles all over the United States and Canada. He had a map that he would highlight whenever he drove a new highway. There were not many roads that remained untravelled! Les continued driving until Liz became ill, and he stayed home to care for her until her death.
He was a great cook trying out new recipes as well as old favorites. His dollar pancakes and pop overs were favorites of his children and grandchildren. He particularly liked buying “Seen on TV” cooking gadgets to try out. He loved restoring old tractors, a good car race, anything with an engine (the louder the better) tinkering in his garage, and even getting his dog to count. A man of many talents. He especially enjoyed his weekly breakfast and lunches with his long-time flying buddies.
He was lovingly known as Grump, Grandpa Les and Papa to his grandchildren and great grandchildren. They loved taking rides with him on his motorcycle and airplane. Each new great grandchild received a sheepskin blanket from him which will provide memories in years to come.
Les is lovingly remembered by his 3 daughters Debbie Kleker (Ken), Shelly Janvier (Ron), Lori Neilson (Hugh), son Keith Hunchak (Terrye) and step daughter Sandy Bos (Paul). Grandchildren Dorea (Ed), Billy (Janessa), Ryan (Keli), Corey (Jessica), Brant (Jennifer), Kristopher (Amy), Eric, Riley, Tiffany (Trevor) and Cadence. Great Grandchildren Aven, Olivia, Acelynn, Austyn, Sequoia, Amelia, Clea (Lyam), Kai, Parker, Jordyn, Ari, August, Malia, Regan and Evelyn
Siblings Vernon, Donald, Irma, Jim, Aileen, Iona, Verna Lee, Marilyn, Charlie, Evelyn
Numerous family members and friends
Predeceased by his parents Orval and Marjorie, sister Jean, and loving partner Liz
As per his wishes, cremation has taken place. A celebration of Les’ life will be held in Edmonton in June. Please check back for an exact date and location.
Donations can be made to the Cancer Society in Les’ memory.