Long-time Farm and Dairy columnist Janie Jenkins dies

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BOARDMAN, Ohio — Janie S. Jenkins, 90, popular columnist for Farm and Dairy, and feature writer for The Vindicator for 43 years until her retirement in 1987, died April 18, 2012.

Janie was born April 15, 1922, in Akron, a daughter of the late Berenice Thompson Steinfeld and Barnard H. Steinfeld, and moved to Poland when she was in third grade.

She graduated from Poland Seminary High School in 1939 and attended Simmons College in Boston.

Her first assignment for The Vindicator was at the Warren office and after two years was reassigned to the city office where she was initially with the society department, joining the news room staff in 1965.

Janie covered the Canfield Fair for 17 years and as feature writer wrote many articles on historical areas, human interest, animals and the natural world.

She was the YWCA’s Woman of the Year in the Arts in 1979. Following retirement, she wrote five years for The Business Journal and also helped write the 100th anniversary book for the Home Savings & Loan Co.

Also following retirement, she began writing a column On My Mind for Farm and Dairy and continued to write it until her death.

For many years, Janie was on the board of the Mahoning County Humane Society and was the first woman to be appointed to the board of commissioners of Boardman Township Park District on which she served for nine years. She was a member of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society and Struthers Presbyterian Church and was a former member of Poland Village Club.

Janie was the recipient of numerous awards from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Society for her human interest stories about animals. She was honored in 2007 by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society with its Pioneer Award for outstanding literary and historical accomplishments.

An accomplished equestrienne since childhood, Janie continued to ride into her late 80s and always kept horses at her home, Southern Park Stables, where she had lived since 1946. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2003 received an Ohio Historical Marker.

In 1993, she deeded the historic property to Boardman Township Park District with a life estate for her and restrictions for forever preserving the building and leaving the 8 1/2 acres in natural state.

In 1999, she received the Award of Merit for Historic Preservation from the Ohio Historical Society and in 2005 the Mahoning Valley Historical Society presented her with the Award of Achievement for historic preservation.

Janie’s greatest joys and passions in her long life were her friends and family, her home, her horses, her many Dalmatian dogs and cats over the years, and all wildlife and the natural world.

Her sister, Barbara S. Mick of Newton Highlands, Mass., died Feb. 26, 2008. She leaves two nephews, Atty. Joseph B. Mick of South Natick, Mass., and W. Thompson Mick of Kailua, Hawaii; a special son-like friend, Jim Shurtleff of Canfield; a special daughter-like friend, Dorin Schadel, of Dallas, formerly of Boardman; and many friends who will miss her written visions, wit and wisdom.

Contributions in Janie’s name may be made to Angels for Animals, Trumbull Animal Welfare League, Noah’s Lost Ark or to the Salem Humane Society.

As she wished, there are no calling hours. A memorial service will be at a later date to be announced.

Arrangements are being handled by the Davidson-Becker Funeral Home in Struthers. Please visit www.beckerobits.com to send condolences.

— A past Farm and Dairy reporter featured Janie in a story for the paper. Click here to read more about the life of this writer and her love of animals.

4 Comments

  1. Jill McNicol says:

    She will be missed.

  2. Carol Ann Gregg says:

    What a great tribute to a woman who became many readers’ friend through her column. She also showed that you never have to stop sharing your passion with the reading public. I hope I can be half the writer at 90 that Janie was.

  3. Gail Phares says:

    What a wonderful woman! The way she stood by her beliefs and told her stories about them was an inspiration. Prayers to her family.

  4. Megan Cooke-Howe says:

    despite having known Janie only briefly as a temporary caregiver i certainly can attest to her exemplifying the adage be true to yourself.We agreed to several keys to life, say what you mean and mean what you say, find a passion and be compassionate. As a lifelong resident of Boardman our conversations re years gone by brought back many memories for me and i more than admire her dedication to conservation and preservation. I know there will always be moments now when her memory is sparked by the birds at my feeders! Kindrid Spirits!

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