TROY — Former Troy Mayor Peter E. Jenkins, widely known about town as “Mayor Pete,” was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery on Wednesday following a service at his home church, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Jenkins, 84, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 14, following a lengthy illness.
A veteran, Jenkins was elected as a Troy City councilman in 1978 and served as its president from 1983-1992. He then became mayor in 1992, serving in that capacity until 2003.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ruth Aileen Bodenmiller Jenkins; son, David Clayton Jenkins (Matthew Bennett) of Studio City, Calif.; daughter, Mary Elizabeth (Robb) Barker of Richardson, Texas; and daughter, Julia Diane (Chris) Melle of Dallas, Texas.
Readings and gifts during the service were presented by his five grandchildren.
During the service, his son David remembered his dad for his love of family and community, saying the family always knew they had to share him with the residents of his beloved city of Troy.
David also reflected on three lessons he learned from his father that he has carried with him during the course of his life. David said he learned from his father good sportsmanship, the principle of hard work and to be plain-spoken and always believe in the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would want to be treated.”
One common theme in all aspects of her father’s life was kindness, his daughter Mary recalled.
Mary gave many examples of her father’s kindness through stories she had heard in the days since his passing. She said friends and community members had reminisced about his helpfulness to people throughout the city of Troy, a place she said he loved so much.
“Dad, thank you for always being kind. You knew that no act of kindness is too small. That every day will give a small opportunity to lift someone up. That sometimes all it takes is a simple smile, a wink, a hand shake, a kind word, a listening ear or just the small act of caring.”
In relation to her father, Mary shared her appreciation for his genuine interest and his ability to relate to others.
“And I mean all others,” said Mary, who asked attendees if they had received a city of Troy pin from her father. “You never met a stranger. We so loved that about you. To you, people are people.”
Youngest daughter Julia spoke of some of the places Mayor Pete was best known for around the city, including the horse barns at the fairgrounds, “distracting everyone at the Troy Daily News, belly up to the counter at K’s or spoon deep in a bowl of oatmeal at Lincoln Square.”
It’s where you didn’t see him that Julia said made their family the most proud.
“All while you see him in all these places, I’ll tell you where you will never see him,” she said. “You will never never see this good man anywhere near intolerance, bigotry or hatred. A good man can never die. Therefore, my father will live on in each of us. Our memories, our laughter, and the pride we all have in making this town the greatest place on Earth.”
Julia closed with Jenkins’ favorite catch phrase:
“If I don’t see you ‘round, I’ll see you square.”