Paul Browne | February 14, 2017
Helen Condon Jenkins, mother of University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., died early Monday morning (Feb. 13) in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, after sustaining severe head injuries in an accident Friday (Feb. 10). She was 88.
Father Jenkins celebrated Mass with his 11 siblings at their mother’s bedside before she died.
Helen was a trained nurse and her husband, Dr. Harry Jenkins Jr., who died in 2004 at age 75, was a gastroenterologist. In addition to 12 children, the couple is survived by 43 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.
At his inauguration in 2005 as Notre Dame’s president, Father Jenkins said of his mother:
“As I accept responsibility as head of the Notre Dame family, I look to my mother for inspiration. She raised 12 children … As you may have guessed, she’s Catholic … Twelve is a nice biblical number.
“I remember the day we all visited the Grand Canyon, and then drove to a park for lunch. Mom was handing out the sandwiches when a look of horror came across her face. She had one sandwich too many. She was no mathematician, but she knew that if she had one sandwich too many … she had one child too few.