Jenks, Thomas

Jenks, Thomas E. "Ted"

Thomas Edward "Ted" Jenks, the lawyer's lawyer, passed away Wednesday June 28, 2023.

Ted was born in Oakwood, Ohio on May 31, 1929, to Wilbur and Anastacia (Ahern) Jenks. Ted attended Harman Elementary School before enrolling at the Kentucky Military Institute in the 8th grade. He thrived at KMI, and especially enjoyed winter semester which was held every year in Venice, Florida. Following graduation from KMI in 1947, Ted attended Miami University. He studied political science and loved his time in Oxford. But he couldn't imagine a career studying political science, so he left Miami after his third year to attend law school at The Ohio State University. Ted passed the Ohio bar exam before graduating from OSU in 1953 and joined the Marine Corps. He headed first to the Naval War College in Rhode Island, and then to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant and practiced law in the Judge Advocate Corps (JAG Corps). Ted represented Marines in court martials and handled all manner of interesting and unusual legal issues for officers and enlisted personnel alike.

Ted returned to Dayton in 1955, and in 1961 married Marianna "Mickey" Jenks. They raised a large and loving family over their 60 years of marriage. Ted and Mickey were a great team, matched like yin and yang. Ted played the straight man, the disciplined provider, and Mickey was the fun-loving and creative homemaker. Ted and Mickey walked side by side, they traveled the world, danced, worked, matured together, and took care of each other.

With Mickey's support, Ted's law practice flourished. He started at Young & Alexander, but eventually started his own firm, that became Jenks, Surdyk, Gibson, & Cowdry. Ted loved practicing law, and enjoyed rich friendships with other attorneys, many of whom were on the opposite side of his cases. While Ted had dozens of business clients, his practice came to focus on defending doctors and other lawyers in malpractice cases. Ted was a stellar trial attorney, trying multiple jury trials year after year. He was a stalwart of the Dayton legal community and earned the trust and respect of his clients and colleagues. Everyone could depend on Ted Jenks. He was an honorable man.

Physically, Ted never stopped moving. He played football at KMI, and then boxed in college at Miami, fighting in the Golden Gloves. He enjoyed competitive handball at the downtown YMCA for many years, and then started running in the 1970s. Ted ran thousands of miles, often at lunch with colleagues downtown along the river, or with his friend Don Meineke. Ted and Don were quite the duo. Ted ran in local races year-after-year, including the Dayton River Corridor half marathon and the Lou Cox 5K. He also enjoyed running in far flung and interesting places during his many adventures with Mickey. Ted continued running into his 80s, and then slowed to a walking pace (but a brisk walking pace!). He even took up golf in his 60s. Ted just kept going until he could do so no more.

Throughout his life, Ted volunteered for leadership positions in many local organizations. He served as president of the Kettering Holiday at Home, the Dayton Lawyers Club, the Dayton Bar Association, and the Oakwood Optimists. More broadly, he was a member of the American Bar Association and its House of Delegates, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the American College of Trial Lawyers, among others.

At home, he and Mickey were champion suburban homemakers, creating welcoming and beautiful spaces. Ted designed the family home, he could fix anything, carefully cultivated long-stem red roses, and hand-crafted beautiful bars in his basements for gatherings of family and friends.

Mickey passed away in early 2022, and Ted's pace finally slowed. He missed his work, and often mused about returning to practicing law. He enjoyed being with family and friends and going on outings whether to the Air Force Museum, Carillon Park, or just for a drive.

Ted's daughter Pamela predeceased him in 1996. He is survived by a large and adoring family including children William Plunket and partner Brenda Sipes, David and wife Lora, Christine Kinderdine and husband Jim, Daniel and wife Ann, and Douglas and wife Erin. Ted is also survived by 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild –Anna, Daniel, Kellan, Rachel, Jake, Jimmy, Jeffrey, Samuel, Henry, Olivia, and Samantha.

Please join the family at Tobias Funeral Home, Far Hills, Sunday July 2 from 5 to 7. Funeral mass at St. Albert the Great Monday July 3 at noon. Entombment to follow at Calvary Cemetery. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Jenks Family.

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Funeral Home Information

Tobias Funeral Home - Far Hills Chapel

5471 Far Hills Ave

Dayton, OH