In the earlier days of leading tour groups the trip extended to 21 days. This was allowed by the airlines. We would depart from the New York and fly to Rome. From there we would visit Greece, Egypt, Lebanon with a land trip to Damascus, Jordan, Israel, and a stop in one of the European capitals.
In those days most folks reasoned this way: It cost a lot to fly to the Bible lands and we want to see it all. And they get a good taste. It was far more than the six to nine days to one country we find so common now.
But I really want to tell you about my longest trip. It was made with only one person, my wife Elizabeth. She and I did make some trips alone to Israel, Greece, and Egypt, but I am speaking of a different kind of trip. It lasted almost 67 years. In order to do this I will simply present a variation of the obituary I wrote and read yesterday at her burial service.
Elizabeth Ann Williams Jenkins, 87, Temple Terrace, FL passed away October 11, 2021 after a nine-year struggle with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.She was born and grew up in the small town of Scottsville, KY, March 5, 1934. She spent four years in Florida in the mid-1950s where she worked at assorted jobs and then in the business office at Florida College. She was able to take courses during that time until 1957 when her husband graduated. She returned to Temple Terrace in December, 1968 with her husband and children. She and her husband considered this location their home.
In the early years of this journey she worked as an accountant and a secretary helping put her husband through college. Her formal education: Florida College AA, University of South Florida BA, MA with honors. She has taken courses almost everywhere we lived. She served as a business education professor at Florida College, Temple Terrace, FL, for 27 years. In the early days she taught typing, business machines, business letters and shorthand (including legal and medical). Often I would see her writing shorthand with her finger on her leg or most any surface. Sometimes I would hear her writing on the sheet at night. By the time she completed her career she was teaching keyboarding and computer applications.
Elizabeth was a member of the Church of Christ, working beside her husband Ferrell in his work as a college teacher, minister, and tour organizer.
We married December 16, 1954 at historic Sutton Hall on the campus of Florida College. I haven’t told you my age but I am nearly two years younger than Elizabeth. A popular song was “They try to tell us we’re too young…”. I don’t recall many people doing that but I must remind our younger generation of today that we think of ourselves at that age as more mature than we observe today.
Two sons, Ferrell Jr. and Stanley, were born to this union while we lived in St. Louis, MO, and that certainly added to the responsibilities and the excitement of this trip.
Our trip included stays of varying length in Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio before returning to Florida in 1968.
Elizabeth was preceded in death by her father Karl W. Williams, her mother Bertha Bandy Williams, four brothers and two sisters. She is survived by her husband, Wm. Ferrell Jenkins, two sons, Wm. Ferrell Jr. and Stanley, daughter-in-law Terri, one grandson, Andrew, and one sister, Linda Rutledge, and many nieces and nephews.
After fifty years of organizing 84 tours I led my last tour group in 2016. But I will never lead another tour like this one with Elizabeth. We may have had a disappointment or two on our journey but by and far it was the most exciting and profitable tour I ever had a part in.
Sometimes younger people ask how we could have stayed married this long. I always told them that there were three in our marriage – Ferrell, Elizabeth and God. This morning I took the wording for our burial plaque to the cemetery. The young lady who was helping me told me that I could add a symbol in addition to the wording. I choose an open Bible and explained this to her. We believe the Bible is the Word of God and we sought to follow His word in our marriage.
In addition to our graveside service, we are planning a memorial service for Saturday, October 30th at the Temple Terrace Church of Christ, 8001 Temple Terrace Hwy., Temple Terrace, FL 33637. Visitation will be at 10:30 AM with a short time of worship and remembrance at 11:00 AM. We invite our friends who have been influenced by Elizabeth’s life to join us.