Death of Former AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office Chief Darrell Jenks

PR-1226E | Date: 05/16/2012

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) was saddened to learn of the death of Darrell Jenks, a former Chief of AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office, on May 15, 2012, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Mr. Jenks retired from the Foreign Service last autumn after a thirty-year career that included two tours in Japan, most recently as Director of the FSI Japanese Language and Area Training Center in Yokohama.  During his tenure as Chief of the AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office from 1996 to 1999, Mr. Jenks was especially active in Taiwanese language study and jazz performance.  His many acquaintances admired him for his warm, lively and outgoing personality, as well as his exceptional linguistic abilities.  He spoke eight languages in addition to English, including Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese.  In 2007, Darrell volunteered to serve in Maysan, Iraq, where – largely self-taught – he picked up the basics of yet another hard language, Arabic.

Mr. Jenks was fascinated by people and cultures, and formed lasting friendships everywhere he went.  Even after retiring, and while fighting a terrible illness, Darrell continued working with his friends in Japan and the United States to organize celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Japan’s donation of cherry trees to Washington, DC.

The AIT Kaohsiung Branch Office has prepared a condolence book; friends of Mr. Jenks who would like to stop by the AIT/K office and write a condolence message are invited to do so during regular business hours during the period from May 16 – 31.  Afterwards, the book will be forwarded to his family.  Mr. Jenks is survived by his wife Thelma and two children, Desiree and Christopher.