Ellen Watson Jenkins died peacefully in her home in Boynton Beach, Florida on March 23rd. Ellen was born on April 12, 1941, and was the daughter of Rom and Marie Watson and granddaughter of Selby and Ellen Anderson.
"Branchie", a nickname given to her in early life, attended Wilson County schools, Salem Academy and St. Mary's College. In 1961 she married Lee Bryant Jenkins II of Kinston, N.C. They had three children, Lee Bryant Jenkins III, Rom Watson Jenkins and Ellen Jenkins Holland.
During her early years in Kinston, Branchie became an advocate for children with learning disabilities, joining the National Dyslexia Association, where she helped to create local chapters. She sought additional teachers and extra classrooms, and she tutored children with learning disabilities. She was a member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church for thirty-six years where she served on the ECW board, taught Sunday school and served as Alter Guild chair. In 1980, Branchie opened Blythe House, a women's specialty store that she successfully managed for 18 years.
The family enjoyed their times together at the beach in Morehead City, and after Branchie retired from Blythe House, she and Lee moved to Morehead City. During this time, Branchie began her work with several non-profit organizations. She served as a volunteer and fundraiser for the Beaufort Historical Society, and she served on the Board of the Carteret Arts Forum as a charter member. She worked diligently for the Morehead City Revitalization Program and served on the board of the Carteret Community Foundation, which offers grants and scholarships for the area. During the summers, she worked to raise funds for Caring House in Durham, N.C. and served on its Advisory Board. She was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames.
After many trips to Florida she and Lee bought a home in Quail Ridge, in Boynton Beach, a loving community where they renewed old friendships. It became their home during the winter.
Branchie will be remembered for the focus of her life: the love of her husband, Lee, of 52 years and their lifetime of joy and happiness with their children and grandchildren. Branchie enjoyed reading and was never without a book. All subjects interested her, but she was especially fond of British history. Her other passions included painting, singing in various choirs, working in her English garden, and her English bulldogs.
Branchie is survived by her husband Lee Bryant Jenkins II, her sister Marie Watson Blair Cherry, her three children Lee Bryant Jenkins III, Rom Watson Jenkins, and Ellen Jenkins Holland and nine grandchildren. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 2pm on Wednesday, March 27 at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Wilson, N.C. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the cancer center at Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City:
Carteret General Hospital
302 Medical Park Court
Morehead City, N.C. 28557