Orville Lee Jenkins
Son of Joseph Asa and Julia Virginia (Terry) Jenkins
Notes from the memory of Orville Boyd Jenkins, son of Orville Lee Jenkins
Family Names: Jenkins, Terry, Gregory, Green, Grubbs
My father, Orville Lee Jenkins, was born in Mountain View (Mt. View), Oklahoma on 10 April 1912. He later lived as a child in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma, where his father was the town Marshall. My grandparents later moved to Chickasha, Oklahoma.
Joseph Asa Jenkins (called Papa Joe by grandchildren) and Julia Virginia (Terry) Jenkins (Mama Jennie) continued to live in their same house on 20th Street until they had to move to special care. This was the house where my father had lived as a teenager. He recuperated in this house for 4-5 years after a terrible case of osteomyelitis, which left him crippled, with only his left arm, immobile hips and stiff knees.
From this house, he learned electronics and radio technology, through a correspondence course. With this as a start, he began repairing radio sets, even during his learning stages of the course. This led to his own radio sales and repair business. Dad began getting up and around again only at age 19.
Dad told me stories of his experiences and adventures from that time. He attempted to return to high school, but his business demands made his schedule so erratic, his high school principal was concerned about his attendance.
Finally the strictures of required attendance became a hindrance that too far outweighed the benefits of continuing his formal high school education at that time. My father told us he quit school to focus on his already very successful business. He later took government exams for his electronics engineers' license.
He proceeded into various business ventures, hiring assistants for his radio service business. He shared the business premises with his brother Arthur Carthal ("Bud"). Bud sold Maytag appliances in his side of the business. Their older brother Thomas Asa ("Acy") was also in the appliance and furniture business in nearby Anadarko. Their sister Mabel owned Home Furniture Store in Chickasha till she handed that over to her son Kerwyn when she retired.
Bud continued in the appliance business in Chickasha throughout his life. Asa's son Asa Lee tells me that Asa was in the Maytag sales business in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma, when he married his wife Nova Bernice Grubbs. In 1936 Asa went into an appliance business with his father-in-law James Grubbs in Anadarko, Oklahoma. After Mr. Grubbs died in 1941, Asa bought out Grubbs' share from his family. In 1956 Asa expanded by buying a furniture store in town, which he later merged with the appliance business into one store.
In addition to continuing his radio and electronics business in Chickasha, during World War II, Orville was a radar repair supervisor at Tinker Air Field in Midwest City (Oklahoma City). Bud and their young sister Netheline (Nan) also worked there. Orville finally sold his interest in the electronics business some time after he moved to Quanah, Texas, in early 1951. There he opened a radio station, which was my childhood context.
Asa retired from his appliance and furniture business in 1962, closing his store. His son Asa Lee decided to open his own similar business, until he also retired in 1983. I did not have ongoing contact with Asa Lee and his family after I was grown. His son Randall (Randy) is a doctor in Chickasha.
I was finally able to renew contacts with Asa Lee and Randy and families in May 2007, when I got to visit them all in Chickasha. We met after I received an email message from Randy's son James Jenkins, in response to my genealogy website. When I was back in the US (from our residence in Johannesburg, South Africa) for a wedding, James facilitated a meeting one evening at the home of Randall and his wife Joanne (Atkins) in Chickasha.
When I joined their clan along with my mother Lou and my wife Edith, five generations of Jenkinses met on 30 May 2007. We exchanged stories and this group of Jenkinses contributed many details to my developing genealogy of our Jenkins lineage.
My Grandparents' House
The children kept that house on 20th Street during the time Papa Joe was in the rest home. I cannot remember if Mama Jennie went into that rest home during that time or later. Papa Joe died in 1962.
For some years before that, I recall that in-home care had been provided for Joe and Jennie. At some point after her husband died, Julia Virginia was moved from her long-time home in Chickasha to a rest home in Anadarko, where my dad's older brother Thomas Asa and his wife Nova lived till their death. Jennie was in Anadarko till she died in 1966.
On some trips back to Chickasha in recent years, I have driven over the sections of town renewing memories and recounting to my wife and children the experiences I remember there. I remember having difficulty on the first couple of trips finding the house where my grandparents had lived and where I had so many memories, which looms large in my childhood memory.
On a trip there in 2005, I finally identified the old house I remembered on 20th Street. It was still much the same, though the garage was gone, and it was apparently no longer in use.
My mother was Lou Ila Gregory, of Lindsay, Oklahoma. She is the daughter of Andy Gregory (no second name) and Alpharetta Mae Green. Lindsay is in Garvin County, the next county east from Grady County, where Chickasha is located. My father met my mother when she worked in the Grady County Hospital kitchen. They were married in Chickasha on 1 September 1946. I was born in Chickasha in July 1948.
When I was 2.5 years old we moved to Quanah, Texas, where my brother Gregory Wayne was born in May 1951. We lived in a small house on 14th Street, which I still have memories of. After we moved into a larger country house south of town, my brother Gary Lynn was born in August 1952. We lived in that house till the summer after I finished first grade.
We moved to Quanah because my father wanted to open a radio station. A location with a suitable frequency, business setting and signal propagation was finally located in Quanah. With the help of his friend Lynn Lyon in Chickasha, Dad set up the station. When he got the business going, he moved his family to Quanah. He continued in the electronics business in Chickasha for some time until he was well established in the radio business.
Dad chose the call letters KOLJ for the new station. This was made up of his initials, for Orville Lee Jenkins. Though Dad sold the station in 1961, it continued operation under this call sign until in the late 1980s, when a subsequent owner changed it to KREL. In 2009, I got a message from John White in Quanah, who gave me some updated information about the radio station.
As the current owner, he had been able to get the original call letters of the station back, so now once again KOLJ is broadcasting from Quanah. John tells me that he has received strong affirmation from local residence and merchants for the restoration of the call sign KOLJ.
Thus I grew up in Quanah, Texas, in the radio business. I (Orville Boyd Jenkins) worked with Dad from a very young age. I began air work on the station when I was 9 years old. I had a regular program at the end of the day. This was a phone request show playing a variety of music. I was written up in the national magazine Record World as the Youngest Disk Jockey in the World.
KOLJ played a mixed format of music with news and weather on the hour and headlines on the half hour. This was a new format at the time and was so successful it became the standard format for radio in the US over the next 3 decades.
In 1955 we moved into town, to 909 West 11th Street. This was the main east-west road through Quanah, and we lived near the west end of town. Eleventh Street in Quanah was US Highway 287, a major US highway from Florida to California. Even today it is a major shipping route. Thus we had a very busy street, especially after they widened that business route to four lanes, taking off a lot of our frontage. This was our home till I was 15, when Dad turned his eyes to Arkansas in 1963.
It was just at this time, that my parents' divorce came. Mom stayed in Quanah, with my two younger brothers. I went on to Arkansas with Dad, since we both already had jobs waiting in a radio station in Conway. We moved into the lake house on the farm my parents had already bought, near Friendship, about 10 miles east of Conway in Faulkner County, Arkansas.
For more information and on Orville Lee Jenkins and his family, see his entry in my genealogy.
Read more about the Jenkinses mentioned in my family research on Ancestry.com or here on my personal genealogy site.
For more about my life and interests, and some family information, see my web site Orville Jenkins Ideas and Interests.
Quanah, Texas — History in Memories
Orville Boyd Jenkins
Compiled September 2006
First posted 25 September 2006
Rewritten 22 April 2008
Last edited 26 May 2016