Jody Pullen-Jenkins Williams

Profile Updated: November 1, 2021
Jody Pullen-Jenkins
Jody Pullen-Jenkins


Jody Pullen-Jenkins


Yes! Attending Reunion
Residing In: Orange City, FL USA
Spouse/Partner: Widowed: David Williams died 13 March 2021
Children and grandchildren: Kirsten Jenkins Coleman, born whilst at Swarthmore, 1965.
Ian Jenkins, born 1968, adopted June More…1969. Two adult steps via David.
Those 4 "kids" now all in their 50s produced 9 grands & 1 "great" aged (a/o 2021) 32 down to 12.
Open Category for whatever you wish to tell about yourself in whatever way.

Sad news whilst working on 55 reunion planning was death of husband David in March 2021, at age 90. Gareth Jenkins was my college years sweetie/husband; David filled my life since 1987.

We indulged in several years of Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway cruising in small sailboat in early 2000s, some dozen years of home ownership in & near Daytona Beach FL with a 5 year extra-dose in big old near-beach house near Ca pe Cod. Gave up boats & houses for senior care community in central Florida; no worries about logistics of daily life & health care.

Love music. Love nature. Love history. Like law, crave justice. Increasingly appreciate my education: Lexington MA public schools, S'more with sophomore year in Paris; Boston College Law School (in my late 30s), UMass/Boston Dispute Resolution studies (in my mid-50s).
Getting angrier than in 1960s as learn more about racial injustices, women's voting struggles, income & resource inequality, rape of planet; gruesome power of military & worldwide corporate powers; selfish abuse of power by "influencers"
Body creaky but functional after 2 new hips, mind mostly still OK. lol???

Further Comments about Spouse/Partner or Relationship history:

I miss my David; we were each others' 3rd, happiest & longest lived spouses. We celebrated 30 years of marriage in Sept. 2020. He brought sailing, Yale, the Navy, a Siamese cat & two great young adult children into my life. We renewed our wedding vows in 2015 for #25 at Old North Church in Boston, where the same excellent soloist sang the same Handel aria in our honor.

Also miss first crazy true love and first hubby, our fellow classmate Gareth Jenkins, who died Aug 18, 2020. My second husband Ed Shaw, whom I'd divorced (no children together) died 3 weeks after David spring 2021, so I I write this in fall 2021 I am "solo" & contemplating the vagaries of fate & the very different gifts each of these gentlemen (all vets, all very talented) left me.

Education History since Swarthmore:

University of Paris--2 semesters of "cours de civilisation francaise" at the Sorbonne during my sophomore year. Great experience, making me an avid proponent of study abroad for us (mostly pretty parochial) Yankees.

I feel most of my post-Swarthmore "education" has been from real life: marriages/divorces, parenthood, living/moving in many locations, financial struggles & surprises, jobs (many, eclectic), observing loved ones with illnesses & dying. Found travel esp'ly educational: Swarthmore trip to China/Tibet 2017, and trip with French group to India in 2018. Unexpected inheritance from eccentric brother brought opportunity briefly to be a small-scale philantropist.
Formal studies:
(A) Boston College Law School, JD 1983. Getting a law degree in mid-life was refreshing. (B) University of Mass. McCormack Grad School of Public Policy: Certificate in Dispute Resolution 2000. Wish I had learned this "disres" skill set earlier in life. Actively use mediation skills both formally and informally.

Career History

Eclectic. Paid jobs from "bottom" (secretary, store clerk) to "top" (executive director/boss), the latter as big frog in small pond. Have worked & played with all walks of life, from relative big-wigs like governors, presidential wannabee's, and senators to folks with intellectual disabilities, homeless folks, kids plucked from their homes and parents. locked up or homeless.

Paid jobs or careers included:
** French teacher, dorm mom in private school.
** Public health educator
** Program coordinator or exec director of several non-profit and (Mass.) state agencies involved with developmental disabilities.
** Program quality assurance monitor/investigator for special education and public school programs
** Legal counsel and court investigator--abused/neglected kids
** Consultant and trainer: financial literacy, abuse prevention.

Written 2015: Most satisfying is bringing diverse people and ideas together, & feeling there has been some real & good social change in the disability world. Progress spotty, however, in gender equality and racial justice. Unsatisfying that so many of the "problems" we saw in the 60s are still with us. "Answers" & "solutions" far trickier than we thought.
Furious to the point of boring people at parties on the subjects including miscarriages of justice, capital punishment, and our country's mounting obsession with guns beyond what any sane person could possibly want for self-defense. But people for the most part are wonderful, so I combine pessimism about the big things, with awe & admiration of how hard the good folks keep trying.
Update 2020: Above still holds, but I add growing awareness of "white supremacy" after civil rights pilgrimage to Montgomery AL in fall 2019. Studying racial injustice, women suffrage, native rights....all the threads come together from the 60s, non-violence, with new heroes about whom I've learned in Florida, e.g. Howard Thurman, Mary McLeod Bethune, the Moores, all the victims (many un-named) of Jim Crow and lynching....

What might surprise us about you or your activities?

Written 2015 before our 50th in 2016--will keep this in 2020.
1. How hard it was emotionally and financially to raise kids, who arrive with or develop unexpected gifts and challenges. Much harder than doing well in a job.
2. That I was not very wise in some basic life skills. (Better now.)
3. That I'd end up marrying a Republican and attending Episcopal churches. [2020 update: He HATES HATES Trump. Left Rep party!]
4. That as an old New England Unitarian, I'd end up retired in (gulp) Florida! And liking it, it's a fascinating place. (2005 - 2018 we'd escape "up north" in summer, but that ended with selling boat and houses in 2018, & I live since fall 2018 in a senior community with monthly fee so it doesn't compute to spend months away. then COVID & David's death.

Surprise??? No. Certain ancient values and passions, which predate Swarthmore, get stronger with age: social justice, learning (trying to extract truth and essence from voluminous fluff), music, the outdoors, all kinds of people, community involvement. Those things are a constant in my life. I enjoy having more time to "pass time" with ordinary people doing ordinary things.

Memories from time at Swarthmore

Meeting first real love of my life on first day: Gareth Jenkins. Schmoozing in lunch lines and getting called to dean's office therefrom.

Dropping stuff in PhysWhiz class from Clothier Tower.

Switching from initial interest in political science to French and education, as result of spending sophomore year in Paris and falling in love with France and its language.

Assassination of President Kennedy (I was in my once-a-week shower in Paris) and the incredibly loving kindness of the French people to us Americans.

Being away a lot, and out of the mainstream: I worked hard, and did OK, and enjoyed it, but I was physically &/or emotionally "gone" with being in love, then sophomore year in France, then marrying at beginning of junior year] and having a child at beginning of senior year. Took 2 advanced French classes at U.Penn summer before senior year. I have fewer memories of specific classes at Swarthmore than (I expect) most classmates. Howevver: I always managed to get a decent night's sleep; I was a straight arrow and never did inhale. I still have most classwork course paper files -- intend to read the old papers when I have time (hahaha).

Fuzzy sense that we were on the cusp of massive change: race relations, in our feelings about our government; coming out of gays, beginnings of major anti-war activities, modern feminism; eradicating poverty....some of this was bubbling on campus but it was hard to incorporate so I just tried to listen and learn.

Strangely, or perhaps memories of high school are clearer.

My overall positive sense and feeling about Swarthmore--my classmates, the courses, and mainly the values academic and ethical--are powerful and have grown over time. Love coming to reunions, to meet the people I did not spend enough time with "back when"!

Community Service, Volunteer Activities, Hobbies, Interests, Retirement Activities:

My biggies in recent years are volunteer mediation in county court, and serving as a guardian ad litem for abused/neglected kids. Love choral singing, photography, learning about Florida history & wildlife & politics, exploring, kids/grandkids.

Do a fair amount for various non-profit orgs to support classical music, historic preservation, church & interfaith programs to combat homelessness. Enjoy the multiple offerings of four colleges (believe it or not!) in Daytona Beach area. Update 2021: Stetson University also!
Moved inland to west side of Volusia County, near warm springs with manatees in winter, in senior community: John Knox Village of Central FL.

For 5 years bought & enjoyed big old 1920 house near Cape Cod for folks to visit summers. Had wanted house to play with all my adult life.

Books, Creative Products, Athletic Achievements:

I love it when friends, colleagues, or bright literate people like classmates write books, play, poems, or symphonies. Or discover new universes and cures for cancer. I love to scribble and write birthday limericks but mainly I haunt the "fan club" department.

Spent several months over three years (2004-8) coastal-cruising the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway with Captain David in smallish sailboat. Learned more about history, nature, and my fellow species than in most classroom settings.

Having no stellar accomplishments worth bragging about, I'll use this "box" to recommend books I have found particularly good: (1) James Carroll's "Constantine's Sword" which explains Christianity's longstanding, vicious anti-semitism. And: his "Christ, Actually" which basically says Christians really should appreciate that Jesus was Jewish birth to death and never said otherwise. (2) Gilbert King's "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America" (eye opener re lynching and lawyering; beautifully written way to leanr why Blacks feel screwed by white supremacy). (3) Charles Murray's "Coming Apart: The State of While America 1960-2010" (tracks trends among whites in our age cohort, descriptive tho' not prescriptive re major issues including [loss of] work ethic, family composition, community connections--our growing white underclass.)

Spiritual Practice and Openings, if any?

Like the fellowship when people of good will gather in whatever guise to reflect on matters more important than our individual selves. And give thanks. And ask "why?" but not worry about having the right answer.

I feel blessed that (bec/o pure chance of when/where I was born, plus advantages of family and education) I have been well exposed to various flavors of Christianity & Judaism, and modestly exposed to other traditions. I am fierce believer in separation of church and state (card-carrying ACLU since college). I think Jesus is an amazingly mis-understood radical guide. My personal preference is for a blend of the non-doctrinal perspectives expressed by Unitarians, Quakers, reformed Jews, Spiritualists, and folks of whatever persuasion who focus on love, sharing, learning, humor and humility.

Because my husband is relaxed but lifelong Episcopalian, I "go with with flow" and have been active in (also relaxed) Epis churches for the past 33 years. Avid choir singing and social fellowship deeply satisfying.

Role of wisdom? Always need more, both personal and social. Best reason for getting old is learning more. Good reason to come to reunions, yes????

Favorite quote, poem, humorous statement, or words of wisdom

He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win.
We drew a circle and took him in.
(this from memory, could be "off". Edwin Markham)
Some primordial termite knocked on wood,
And tasted it, and found it good.
And that is why you cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today. (Ogden Nash, also fr.memory)

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May 07, 2023 at 4:33 AM
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Posted on: May 20, 2021 at 4:20 PM

Todd, Tomas, me, Isaac, Elena, & Patricia
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Posted on: May 18, 2021 at 3:09 PM

Todd, Tomas, me, Isaac, Elena, & Patricia
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May 20, 2021 at 4:20 PM

Posted on: May 18, 2021 at 3:08 PM

Todd, Tomas, me, Isaac, Elena, & Patricia
May 07, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Oct 05, 2020 at 3:14 PM

Wow Jill what a full and vibrant and varied life. Earthy, people-focused, and shining high! Had not known of your interest in the Supreme Court, will send an email with a interesting link to reform ideas. Thanks for great update and look forward to working with you to plan our unexpectedly off-campus 55th!

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Sep 07, 2020 at 4:35 PM

Posted on: Sep 06, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Happy Natal Day! Please post some Native poems when you have time. I loved getting them from you for years. Meanwhile, greetings from central Florida.

Aug 29, 2020 at 3:39 PM

Dear Gary, sorry to lose you to this world. You gladdened my heart for a while. jody
"Life is short, & we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. O be swift to love, make haste to be kind." --- Swiss philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel

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Aug 29, 2020 at 2:41 PM
May 07, 2020 at 4:36 AM
May 07, 2019 at 4:33 AM
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May 07, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Jun 06, 2016 at 11:45 AM
Jun 06, 2016 at 11:30 AM
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May 28, 2016 at 2:47 PM

Posted on: May 28, 2016 at 1:21 PM

Let's party on June 2 for your birthday, and also Alice Clark's!

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May 28, 2016 at 12:32 PM

Posted on: May 27, 2016 at 5:33 PM

Hi JC, am sorry that your school's quarter century celebration precludes your coming to our reunion. But congrats on that, we'll miss you! And thanks for your profile: what an amazing collection of experiences, what diverse (in every way, as you say) progeny, what a "rich" and at times sorrowful life, what energy ongoing! I also am a volunteer mediator, hope we can catch up about that and all else soon. I once dreamed of starting a school, and you did it--not an easy project. Happy Parker School #25!

May 27, 2016 at 5:21 PM
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