Julia ‘Granny’ Jinkens, beloved Brooksville woman, dies at 94

Jinkens was known throughout the community for her fundraising efforts and working with children.
Published June 13
Updated June 14

BROOKSVILLE — Julia Jinkens was the loving matriarch of her family of three children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Some say she was also the matriarch of Brooksville.

They called her Granny because she cared for everyone like her own.

Mrs. Jinkens died June 6 at her home in Brooksville. Her son, Tim Jinkens, called in her pastor, and they prayed while she lay in bed. The pastor’s voice flooded her body with peace and shortly after, she passed, Tim said. She was 94.

Mrs. Jinkens first moved to Brooksville from Largo in 1965 with three kids and her husband Joseph, who died in 1994. In the past 50 years, she has been one of the city’s most notable figures.

Let me tell you a little about Julia Jinkens

Her kids can’t remember every person or organization she has touched. But there’s no doubt she was a strong supporter of family, children and faith.

At the schools, she earned her nickname. She worked at the daycare center at Hernando Christian Academy and in the cafeteria at Brooksville Elementary School. She would always put something extra on the lunch trays and the students loved her for it, Tim said.

She was a fixture at Hernando High School where she could be found on Friday nights selling programs underneath the stadium. She was a long-time supporter of the high school.

She raised money so the parents of Hernando High graduate Jerome Brown, who played football for the University of Miami and went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, could travel to watch him play in 1987 at the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

When Brown died in 1992 in a car accident, Mrs. Jinkens worked tirelessly to honor him by campaigning to create a Brooksville community center in his name.

Former Hernando High sprinter John Capel headed to the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Mrs. Jinkens spearheaded the effort to fund the trip to Australia for his parents.

She organized a celebration for the return of an Army helicopter pilot who was a Hernando High graduate, volunteered with Brooksville’s Relay for Life, helped out at Bible school at her church and did fundraising for hurricane victims.

One of her proudest moments, Tim said, was in 1996 when she got to carry the Olympic torch through Brooksville. She practiced for the parade by carrying 3-pound weights around the school’s track.

Given Mrs. Jenkins’ widespread legacy, it came as no surprise when she was awarded Great Brooksvillian in 2012.

“Her greatest joy was in helping and serving others, especially young people,” retired SunTrust Bank executive Jim Kimbrough said. Mrs. Jinkens would often come to him for donations.

It was hard to turn her down, he said. Kimbrough knew her heart was in all the projects she worked on and that with her long track record of successful fundraising, good things would happen when she got involved.

“She was someone who found her happiness through giving so much to others,” her daughter Joanna said.

Mrs. Jinkens was an amazing mother, Joanna said, whose greatest love was her grandchildren. She was proud of the legacy her family created.

“Always make time for children and grandchildren,” Mrs. Jinkens often reminded her daughter. “Never put anything else before them.”

Church was a big part of her life, too. She was a member of the Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church where her son said she had a family of fellow worshipers.

Mrs. Jinkens lived with her son, and the two were best friends. They would go grocery shopping together, and Tim would make his way inside while a crowd of 10 or 15 people would line up to talk to Mrs. Jinkens.

Toward the end of her life, Mrs. Jinkens developed dementia. She had trouble remembering people but liked watching TV to keep a pulse on things.

While the Judge Judy show or the Turner Classic channel were her go-to’s, she often flipped on the local channel to watch the city council or county commissioner meetings. If she got irritated or felt passionately about something, she’d ask Tim to call or go meet whoever was involved.

Mrs. Jinkens’ funeral service will be Saturday at her church, but Tim always teased her that the football stadium would be more appropriate for all the people they expect to come.

Contact Sarah Verschoor at sverschoor@tampabay.com. Follow @SarahVerschoor.

Julia “Granny” Jinkens

Born: Jan. 29, 1925.

Died: June 6, 2019.

Survivors: Son Tim Jinkens and daughter Joanna Zayas; grandchildren Aaron Moneyhan, Ben Moneyhan, Kasey Moneyhan and Elizabeth Beeker; great-grandchildren Murphy Moneyhan, Rory Moneyhan and Brayden Beeker.

Services: 11 a.m. gathering Saturday at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, 12 p.m. memorial service following at noon.

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