Our beautiful son, Andrew James Jenkins (32), of Darby, Montana was called to rest with the angels on Monday, December 21, 2020 in his residence in Oakland, California. He was born in Hamilton, Montana on August 2, 1988. He is survived by his mother, Rhonda Boyer Dolcater; father, David Jenkins (Lisa); stepfather, Randall Dolcater; loving sisters, Miranda (Matthew) Simmons, Lauren Dolcater, and Lacey Dolcater; grandparents, Donna & Gary Boyer, Jim & Louise Jenkins, and Betty Dolcater; his aunt, Renee Morrison; nephew, Logan Simmons; niece, Allison Simmons; stepbrother, Andy Huotte; stepsister, Felicia Fifield; as well as numerous other loved family & friends. A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 8th at 6 pm at Daly Leach Chapel, 1010 West Main St. Hamilton, MT 59840. www.dalyleachchapel.com
A.J. (for those who knew and loved him) loved to always be on the go, extremely smart and a quick study he also was spontaneous at a very early age. As a baby he was crawling quickly and began chasing his older sister Miranda in his walker as fast as his little legs would carry him. He would go all day as she piled his walker with stuffed animals and played peek a boo for hours. When it was time for his nap, before laying his sweet head on his pillow he adored hearing a story book. I know this was the beginning of his love for reading and learning and his never ending thirst for knowledge.
We moved to Bakersfield, California, in 1991, where he grew up as a very imaginative and happy child. Our neighborhood quickly turned to an extended family of friends where they were their own power ranger squad and built endless amounts of Lego cities. His childhood was soon joined, at the early age of 8, by his beautiful twin sisters, who spent endless hours sharing his passion for coloring, Disney movies, and he soon taught them the magical world of Harry Potter and the magical wands. He graduated from Stockdale High School, in 2006. As we know, high school can be a difficult time for many young people, but A.J. found his close group of friends on the Stockdale Debate Team. We watched his passion for learning and debating anything from either side, at times not knowing if you should agree or disagree. This is why he went on to dominate in many debate tournaments with his fierceness and commitment to being the best at whatever he believed in.
He attended Cal State University Long Beach in the fall of 2006, where he majored in Communication and Women’s studies. There he joined the CSULB Forensics debate team, and his passion developed even further. As one friend said, he was the heart and soul of all those around him. He was known throughout the college debate circle for his abilities to spark a wildfire with his unfiltered passion in a debate round! He went on to mentor younger members of the team, always trying to make everyone welcome! After winning many rounds of debate he made it to College Nationals, where he was ranked in the top 15 at the NPTE, and was named 20th top speaker in the nation. He won the College Tournament at CSU Northridge. He graduated from CSULB in the year of 2011.
In the next chapter of his life, his passion for debate continued as he taught young debate students, at Oxford Academy, and continued advocating for all the things he believed in! He served on the Board of Directors, at Young People For (YP4) where he helped create lasting change and progressive leadership in many communities, through young students. One of his proudest moments was when he joined OUTSERVE to run and organize their first conference right after DADT was repealed. The event was a huge success. He helped to welcome and inspire many LGB service members. In early 2012, he took a dream job, in Washington DC, where he worked as a Midwest Field Associate for Unite for Reproductive Gender Equity (URGE) and Choice USA where he helped to bring about change in policy across the US. He was a warrior for those suffering from injustice and he fought passionately for all he believed in.
He then returned home, to Montana in 2015, where he was able to enjoy getting to know his new niece and nephew better and spend time with his immediate family again. Montana was a place that A.J. visited growing up at Grandma & Grandpa (Doot Doot) Boyer all through the years while living in Bakersfield. He had his own cow and his horse, Lady Bug, and he grew to love the outdoors. It was always a place of peace and family, for AJ, and he loved the vast beauty of the mountains, flowers, and animals. He also had the opportunity to continue his influence while in Montana, as he worked at The Western Montana Community Center, to help build a community of acceptance for LGBTQ+ members. He later returned to a career in California.
AJ was someone who was often described as unapologetically himself, a powerhouse, an extraordinaire, an activist, intelligent, brave, kind, compassionate, fun, full of laughter, and FIERCE! He left a legacy behind, and many will continue to fight to keep his vision alive.
As his mother… Grief, I’ve learned, is really just Love with no place to go…. So to this I say to our beloved A.J. “There are no goodbyes for wherever you are in the skies above, you will always be in our hearts”.
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