Ethel Marie Wallace-Jenkins was the only girl of five children born to the union of the late E. P. and Eudora H. Wallace. She was baptized as an infant at the Historic St. John A.M.E. Church, Montgomery, AL rendering her a 4th generation AME. Educated in the private and Public School systems of Montgomery, she participated in the debates on the landmark decision “Brown v. Topeka” and how this decision would affect the educational system in that state. This was only the beginning of her civil rights activities. She later not only marched with the “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery but was also one of the hundreds locked in the First Baptist Church when U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy declared Marshall Law in the city.
Ethel Marie earned her BA Degree in Political Science and Sociology from Central CT State University and a Master of Social Work in Administration and Policy and Planning with Certification in Minority Gerontology from the UCONN School of Social Work. She was a certified Hospice Volunteer (Hartford VNA), Commissioner on Aging, (City of Hartford) and retired Geriatric Social Worker.
She served the Connectional/Global Lay Organization as Chair of the Constitution and By-laws Committee; former member of the 1st Episcopal District Self Help Board and Chair of the Lay Organization’s Constitution and Bylaw Committee. She served as a member of the New England Conference Board of Trustees; former Conference Branch WMS Parliamentarian, Advisor to the Conference Lay Organization President and former Chair of the Historical Information Committee. Ethel Marie was the second (2nd) Lay Person in the African Methodist Episcopal Church to be awarded the “Living Legend Award” by the Connectional/Global Organization in 2017. Her other services included being a member of the General Board of the AME Church, Delegate to numerous General Conferences, member and secretary of the “Rules Committee.” First Vice President of the Connectional/Global Lay Organization and Director of Lay Activities on all levels of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1971, Ethel Marie was one of three persons responsible for the third and final reorganization of the New England Conference Lay organization and as Historiographer, she authored the first history of that organization. She has served her local churches: Bethel AMEC Hartford, CT, Bethel AMEC Springfield, MA in so many official capacities that they are too numerous to name. Ethel Marie Wallace-Jenkins was an active member of Allen Chapel AME Church Hartford, CT where the Rev. Orsella R. Hughes serves as pastor.
A mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and “Servant Leader” who loved God, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and enjoyed working in the vineyard. Her Favorite hymn was “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” favorite Scripture Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” Her daily prayer was that the Lord would bless her to be a blessing to someone, every day.
Ethel Marie was predeceased by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.P. and Eudora H. Wallace; husband, Robert J. Jenkins Jr; and brothers: Carl P., Edward C. and Ronald G. Wallace and granddaughter, Shaharia N. Jenkins. She leaves to mourn her death two daughters: Renee C. Smith and Roslyn M. Cirton of Hartford, CT; two sons: Dwayne G. (Phyllis) and James R. Jenkins of Hartford, CT; brother, Frederick C. (Jayne) Wallace of Alpharetta, GA. She also leaves eight grandchildren: Carla M., Ciara N. and Carl W. Cirton; Angelic Smith and Dominique Bell; James R. Jr. and Dwayne Jenkins all of Hartford and Jasmine Turner (Jaquan), East Hartford, CT; sister-in-law Renee Wallace Ft. Washington, MD; five great grandchildren; three dear friends, Rev. Donald L. Tucker, Shreveport, LA; Starr Battle of Raleigh, NC; Herby L. Knight, Hartford, CT and a Grand Host of other relatives and friends.
“In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”
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