September 2, 1938 ~ April 28, 2021
Born in: Detroit, Michigan
Resided in: El Segundo, California
Cynthia Ann (Polic) Jenkins passed away peacefully on April 28, 2021. She was born on September 2, 1938 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Her parents Anne (Annika Kardum) and Leonard (Leo) Polic were of Croatian and Italian descent. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan with her family and she was particularly close to her paternal grandfather who wrote her beautiful letters over the years.
In 1949, her mother (who preceded her in death in 1997), and younger brother Lenny (who preceded her in death in 1990), moved to Los Angeles. Her mother worked as an electronics assembly worker and later in aerospace, and her father worked as a mechanic at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn. Her father passed away in 1998.
Cynthia went to Greenfield Elementary School and Maples Junior High School in Detroit Michigan. Then after moving to California she attended George Washington High School in Los Angeles. She made wonderful friends there, many of whom she kept in close contact with over the years. She was a member of the Serviettes Tennis Club and the Girls Athletics Association (GAA) where she played volleyball and took archery classes. After graduating in 1956, she worked at Los Angeles City Hall in the Controller’s Office. She was a member of St. Michael’s La Monte Club where she met many life-long friends, who enjoyed many social gatherings, activities, camping outings and picnics over the years.
She married in 1960 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. She continued working at City Hall, while taking classes at El Camino College. Her daughter Julie was born in 1961, and Keith was born two years later. Pamela and Brian were born a few years after Keith and only 14 months apart. The family lived in Manhattan Beach and attended American Martyrs Church before moving to Torrance in the early 1970s, and becoming involved at St. Lawrence Martyrs, where the kids went to school.
Cynthia was a wonderful mother, who carted her four kids and their friends to school, soccer practices, girl scouts and boy scouts, guitar lessons, ballet, tutoring, and surfing at the beach. She learned how to can fruit and decorate cakes, and she helped her friend on weekends with catering. She found time to be active in her church, her childrens’ activities, running, walking, sailing, tennis, crafts, and camping. The family enjoyed many wonderful times with friends in Kings Canyon National Park over the years.
Cynthia loved life and she had many interests. She loved all types of foods, and she loved cooking and baking for her friends and family. After her divorce, while single-handedly raising her four children, Cynthia returned to work as an Executive Office Assistant for Hughes Aircraft, Raytheon and then Aerospace Corporation. She enjoyed her work at Aerospace and she made wonderful friends there. She earned a Spot Award for her outstanding work, and she was commended for always helping various engineers and managers with their travel arrangements, expense reports, office events, and for remembering everyone’s birthday. She continued to be part of the Aerospace Retirees group years after her retirement.
She was a very social person, whether it be at church with the Christian Family Movement, the Second Journey singles club, her tennis friends, or her many circles of knitting friends. Cynthia began knitting later in life, and there she found a natural way to make and keep many, many friends. She would join them at several local knit shops, coffee houses, and recreation centers for knitting and social gatherings. She was an active member of the Slip Stitchers Knitting Guild and several other knitting groups. She carried her knitting bag with her wherever she went and she was always working on her next project. She made beautiful sweaters, blankets, and hats for her grandchildren, and friends’ children, scarfs, socks, and even a knit tie for her son-in-law Bob. She was famous for her “easy peazy” washcloths. In her younger years, she took sailing lessons and participated in several 5K/10K runs and played tennis regularly. She met wonderful friends while working at Hughes Aircraft, and they enjoyed wonderful times, traveling, playing tennis, walking, cooking, and going to the Hollywood Bowl together. She was also part of the Striders walking club, and she faithfully walked at the beach several days a week.
Cynthia stayed close to her Croatian and Michigan roots by visiting her grandparents, Dad, aunts, cousins, and their families as often as possible. She and her aunt Gloria and cousins Claudia (Frank) and family friend Alice traveled many places together and enjoyed wonderful times, especially when it involved cooking a favorite meal. She attended the local Croatian picnics in Los Angeles as often as she could where she enjoyed lamb dinners, home-baked goods, good music and dancing.
At her 50th high school reunion here in Los Angeles, she reconnected with her high school friends, and they became traveling companions for the next 10 years. They traveled from sea to sea from Hawaii to Canada, and lots of places in-between. But it was local trips to Carlsbad and Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido that were her favorites. She also traveled with the El Segundo Senior Club, with Ireland being one of her favorite trips. She and Julie enjoyed many trips to Michigan, Croatia and throughout California. She also took trips to visit Keith in Alaska, Glacier Bay, Gustavas and Vancouver Canada and stayed with him on a beautiful yacht near Stanley Park. She also traveled with Pamela to Coeur D’ Alene, Washington, and she and Brian spent time at Carpinteria, at the beach and watching sunsets. She had an amazing spirit of adventure and she loved watching Huell Howser’s California Gold show to learn about where to travel to next.
She loved her family dearly, and she was always fond of planning a picnic in the park or a wonderful gourmet meal at home. She loved how her sons Keith and Brian would come over and cook a wonderful meal for her from scratch. Her specialty was making sarmas (cabbage rolls) at Christmas time. She looked forward to Pamela and her family visiting and bringing her surprise lunches. Her and Julie would enjoy time traveling and being together. She loved to decorate her table and she made everyone feel welcome. She enjoyed having people over for coffee and treats and if it involved knitting that was even better. She was extremely proud of her four children, all who choose careers in service to others.
She loved her home at Park Vista in El Segundo where she lived for over 20 years. She loved being able to enjoy the adjacent park and she attended exercise classes at the Joslyn Center, as well as swimming at the local pool. She participated and helped with many social events and potlucks at Park Vista, and she was always willing to lend a hand to fellow residents and friends.
Cynthia loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. She is survived by her children Julie (Bob) Boucher, Keith (Ieva) Jenkins, Pamela (Larry) Heron, and Brian Jenkins, and grandchildren Ryan Jenkins, Sam Jenkins, Max Jenkins, Lauren Jenkins, and Melanie Heron. She is also survived by her cousins Claudia (Frank), Ilario (Olga), Flavio (Penny), Janet, and Paul (Sue). Her grandchildren were the loves of her life. Her grandsons Sam and Max visited her recently with their mom Amy while on their Spring Break, and she was elated to see them and spend time together. Her grand-daughters Melanie and Lauren brightened her days. She loved calling Melanie every night to say goodnight, and she enjoyed Facetiming with Lauren and her mom Jill whenever possible. She was always glad to spend time with her kids and grandchildren, making them hats and sweaters, and gathering little gifts for them when they visited.
She was a big Clippers basketball fan and she enjoyed watching their games while she knitted on her next project. She recalls attending one of their games with her son Brian and how fun it was to see them play in person, even though it was in the “nosebleed” section as she referred to their seats. She also enjoyed reading Debbie Macomber novels on her Kindle, and talking with her friends about her latest reading story.
She loved going to theatre and musical performances. For years, she went to seasonal concerts at the Hollywood Bowl seeing greats like Tony Bennett, Glen Campbell, Barry Manilow, and Neil Diamond. She was particularly fond of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, where a family friend attended, and she attended their performance at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Cynthia was always fond of helping under-served children and youth as well as the arts.
Cynthia was full of life, and she was faithful in attending Catholic mass and church events at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. She read her prayers nightly, asking Saint John of the God to heal her failing heart and renew her health. She remained strong and positive. The scripture in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 comes to mind: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
She enjoyed gardening as well. She shared a plot at Recreation Park with a friend from Park Vista, and she also helped her daughters Julie and Pamela with their gardens at their houses. She enjoyed growing beets and other vegetables in her garden plot.
Cynthia loved to talk, text, and email friends, especially, to see how they were doing and to reassure them that she was doing well. Her cell phone was a lifeline for her, particularly when she was not feeling well. She was active at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, the El Segundo community, and involved with her family activities until a few months back when her heart condition worsened. She never complained and always told her friends and family that she was OK. She was extremely thankful for the wonderful medical team of professionals that helped her along the way.
A funeral mass to honor Cynthia’s life was be celebrated at American Martyrs’ Catholic Church on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 1:15 p.m. The funeral mass was videotaped for guests to view via a Zoom link (see above link) or a link on the church’s website at https://livestream.com/americanmartyrs/funerals.
Family and friends can view the funeral mass online, and post memories and messages of condolences for the family on the Lighthouse Memorial – Rice Mortuary website under Cynthia Jenkins.
Cynthia was laid to rest at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside, CA alongside her mother and brother.
In lieu of flowers, Cynthia asked that donations may be made in her honor to the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles whose mission is, “To cultivate musical expression as a vehicle for personal development, and to bring to fruition the full musical and academic potential of young inner city residents of Los Angeles.” They can be reached at: Inner City Youth Orchestra: 6820 La Tijera Blvd. Suite 201 Los Angeles, CA 90045, or via their website: icyola.org.