Foodservice Equipment Reports

In Memoriam: Vera Jenkins, Pioneering Rep

Vera Jenkins, who was given the title “First Lady of Foodservice” through her long and varied career as a dietitian and manufacturers’ rep, passed away Feb. 21 at the age of 95.

After receiving her degree in home economics, Jenkins was one of six students admitted into Duke University’s graduate program for dietetic studies. During World War II, she was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and spent 1941-44 at Fort Bragg, N.C., overseeing hospital foodservice operations and training new dietitians for overseas postings.

Jenkins continued working in foodservice management, dietetics and nursing education at Cape Fear Valley Hospital in North Carolina and did cooking demonstrations for manufacturers’ representative Dupree Sitton. After she was widowed in the mid-1960s, she established Jenkins and Associates, the first woman-owned and -operated foodservice equipment manufacturers’ rep firm; the company represented more than 20 major manufacturers throughout the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. She retired in 1985, selling the company to Frank Griffin and Tommy Hale, both of whom she had hired in the early 1970s.

In addition to many regional and national awards from the E&S industry, Jenkins was awarded the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s first Alumni Outstanding Legacy Award for her work in dietetics and mentoring young undergraduates in their professional careers.

Services have been held. Memorials in her name may be made to the Highland Presbyterian Church, the UNCG School of Health and Human Services or a charity of one’s choice.

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