Arthur B. Jenkins, 55, trumpet player, teacher at Poly

July 28, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Arthur B. Jenkins Jr., a trumpet player and music teacher at Polytechnic Institute, died Friday of a heart attack at his Monastery Avenue home. He was 55.

Mr. Jenkins influenced students by teaching them to employ music as an academic discipline and becoming a steadying influence in their lives.

"He was teaching his third generation of students," said Jan Levin, an employee of Shubert Music Co. in Pikesville, where Mr. Jenkins taught trumpet. "He produced a legacy of students who are coming in, buying music, favors and batons to put in his coffin."

One of Mr. Jenkins' students, then a Mount Royal Elementary grade-schooler named Tamir Ruffin, went on to play the trumpet and sing in the popular Baltimore group Dru Hill. He is now known by the name Nokio.

"My brother was instrumental in Nokio's career," said Devora Jenkins Whiting of Baltimore, Mr. Jenkins' sister. "His whole emphasis as a teacher was to use music as a way of structuring your life."

Born in Baltimore and known as Teddy Bear, Mr. Jenkins was a 1963 graduate of Douglass High School, where he played football and ran track. He was named to all-city teams in his senior year.

He received a combination music and athletic scholarship to the the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he took a degree in education.

He began his teaching career with the city public school system in 1967, interrupting it briefly to join the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center, where he was a health liaison worker. He rejoined the school system in 1973.

He established marching and stage bands at Carver Vocational-Technical High School in West Baltimore, then taught at Lombard, Booker T. Washington and Hamilton middle schools, Mount Royal Elementary-Middle School and Poly, where he co-directed a band that included Western High School students.

"He was like an uncle or a father to some of the kids at the school," said Courtney Ross, a Western junior who plays trombone and flute.

Sheila Churchill, secretary at Mount Royal Elementary, recalled his strength of character.

"He was a fine, sweet, kind person," she said. "He was an excellent band teacher, who had so many followers."

Mr. Jenkins was a 35-year member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and an honorary member of the Morgan State University Musicians Society.

His 1968 marriage to Cecilia Hudson ended in divorce.

Funeral services will be held at noon today at Heritage United Church of Christ, 3106 Liberty Heights Ave., where Mr. Jenkins was a member and a director of the men's chorus.

In addition to his sister, he is survived by a son, Arthur B. Jenkins III of Baltimore; three brothers, Nelson R. Jenkins of Oxon Hill, and William C. Jenkins and Herbert L. Jenkins, both of Baltimore; and a companion, Sandy Parsons of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 7/28/99

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