Dixie Nadine Jenkins Timbs, 87, passed away peacefully Thursday, July 4th, in Elizabethton.
Now in the arms of angels in heaven, she had led a full, exciting, interesting life.
She was the glue and the rock-solid anchor that held her family together. She was also tenderhearted, kind, soft-spoken and gentle in spirit.
Never boastful or loud, even when saddened, she kept some things to herself, preferring always to look on the positive side of any situation and always, always holding out hope for a better day.
“This is the Day that the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!” she often beamed.
She was a beautiful, loving, caring, strong-willed woman who cherished a good cup of hot, steaming coffee in the morning, eagerly read the local daily newspaper and always had room at her table for another guest.
She prepared delicious Sunday lunch meals. Her kitchen door was always open for lunch and fellowship after church. Her soup beans, corn bread and fresh vegetables, cakes and cobblers satisfied many a hungry palate.
Her love and affection for her husband, children, sisters, brother, grandchildren and great-grands was unconditional.
She was also a gifted writer — a trait she passed on to others in her family.
At Hampton High School as a teenager, she had been a star on the girls basketball team.
She was the middle daughter of the late Ed Jenkins who died in 1962, and throughout her life, she had her father’s upbeat disposition in her DNA. She once wrote of him, “His cheerfulness sometimes did more for the sick than their physicians could do. He was a ray of sunshine to the sick, depressed… and a beacon of light for the needy.”
She could have been writing about herself.
Mrs. Timbs, a longtime member of the Lady’s Class at Valley Forge Christian Church, was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, decorated World War II and Korean War veteran Lawrence C. Timbs. Mr. Timbs, a native of Fish Springs, Tenn., passed away at the age of 90 in January 2012.
Mrs. Timbs’ brother J.N. also preceded her in death in 1999.
During his career in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Timbs and his beloved wife, Dixie, with a baby on the way or one or more in tow, would crisscross the country. They resided, among other places, in Smyrna, Tenn.; Niceville, Fla.; Austin, Texas; Nagoya, Japan; Maryville, Tenn.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.
When Mr. Timbs retired from the Air Force in the early 1960s, he and Dixie returned to Elizabethton, where Mr. Timbs worked as a seasonal park ranger for the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
He and Dixie next relocated to Newport News, Virginia. They lived and worked there for several years before relocating back to Dixie’s parents’ old home place in the Valley Forge community between Hampton and Elizabethton.
After living abroad and all over the United States, they thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with their Tennessee roots and became active in the Valley Forge Christian Church, where Dixie’s father Ed had been an elder and deacon for more than 40 years.
They gardened, took short camping trips in their Volkswagen van, porch sat, bird watched, enjoyed their children and grandchildren and extended family and got involved in local politics. Dixie, as devout a Democrat as her husband was a Republican, noted with a chuckle that she relished canceling out her hubby’s vote. Both Dixie and her husband readily served for several years as Election Day workers at the Valley Forge Elementary School polling place.
Dixie always celebrated the fact that in Valley Forge they had the privilege of living in the shadow of one of the most beautiful mountains in East Tennessee. “Jenkins Mountain (is) 2,000 feet of awe-inspiring scenery,” Dixie wrote in her 2007 self-published book, “The People of Valley Forge: A Collection of Memories.” “You will not find anything more majestic or breathtaking.”
Perhaps it was living so close to towering Jenkins Mountain (named after one of Dixie’s ancestors) that inspired her to write another self-published book, her 2004 “A Rugged Trip Up Jenkins Mountain And The Old Barn.” In this illustrated, tersely penned little book, Dixie recalls what it was like to grow up exploring, climbing and playing on the mountain with her two sisters Nell and Ruth and with her brother J.N., whom she described as “full of laughter and happiness.”
Dixie wrote engagingly in her book about how she and her siblings got up front and close with all manner of wildlife, including a red-tailed hawk, bear cubs, honey bees, blueberries and huckleberries, wild bleeding hearts, rhododendron, mountain laurel, a great horned owl, a cotton-tailed rabbit, white-tailed deer and “a big black snake that licked out his tongue and started slithering away” when Dixie, barefoot, stepped on it.
Many days, after playing outside to their hearts’ content, they ate a peanut and jelly sandwich in their “girls club house” in the barn; Dixie, Baby Ruth and Nell had plastered the inside of it with pictures cut out of a magazine. The little ones also would often dip their feet into the cold clear water of the nearby Doe River.
They were the blessed children of Ed Jenkins (“a man small in stature but a giant in the eyes of those whose lives he touched”) and Maude Simerly Jenkins; the latter, a skilled quilt maker, loved to cook hot biscuits from scratch and serve gravy and grape jelly every morning for breakfast. Maude also prepared meals for anyone in the community who had a death in the family. God couldn’t have given a child better parents, Dixie often said.
Survivors of Dixie Nadine Jenkins Timbs are her daughter, Cheryl Ann Timbs and husband Crawford; son, Larry Timbs Jr. and wife Patsy Robinson Timbs; son, Edward Timbs and wife Carmen Timbs; sisters, Nell McQueen and Baby Ruth Williams; grandsons, Hugh Anderson, Josh Anderson and wife Debra Anderson; grandson, Zach Anderson; grandson, Crawford Timbs III; grandsons, Justin Timbs and wife Amanda Timbs and Jesse Timbs; and granddaughters, Sharyn Calcavecchio, Dorothy Yeung and husband Patrick Yeung, Elizabeth Roberta Timbs, Jamie Timbs McQueen and husband Jason McQueen.
Also surviving are great-grandchildren, Antonina, Gabriella, Angelo and Giancarlo Calcavecchio; Lucy Brooke and Cecilia Clare Yeung; Dylan, Keelan Nadine and Brennyn Avery Anderson, Mason McQueen and Jase Bryson McQueen, Khloe Timbs, and Joselyn and Lane Timbs.
Guests may sign the register and attend the viewing 1 to 2 p.m., Monday, July 8 at Tetrick Funeral Home in Elizabethton. Graveside services will be held at Happy Valley Memorial Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. Monday. David Siebenaler, minister of Valley Forge Christian Church, will officiate. Music will be by Alex Holtsclaw and Frieda Winters.
Pallbearers will be her grandsons.
Honorary pallbearers will be other members of the family. Memorial contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to Valley Forge Christian Church, 114 VFCC Church Road, Elizabethton, Tenn. 37643.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to the staff of Life Care Center of Elizabethton for their care of our beloved mother, wife, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tetrickfuneralhome.com and signing the guest book or by fax 423-542-9499. Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, is serving the family. Office 423-542-2232, Obituary line 543-4917.