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Cape Dorset educator dies at 63

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 28, 2012

Chris Jenkins, a student support teacher at Peter Pitseolak School in Cape Dorset for the past six years, died suddenly on May 8 at the age of 63.

He leaves behind his wife Leona, one son and one daughter and four grandchildren. Family and friends gathered in Newfoundland for his funeral on May 14.

Mike Soares, the vice-principal at the school, said Jenkins walked home from school that day and died around supper time.

"It was quite a shock to us. It was totally unexpected," he said. "He died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Even though everything was done at the time to revive him, he didn't come back."

Jenkins was six weeks shy of retirement. Soares said he and his wife were set to return to Newfoundland.

Cecil Meade, originally hired to replace Jenkins upon his retirement for the next school year, flew in to Cape Dorset last week to work as the student support teacher until the end of June. He will continue in that role in September.

Soares said Jenkins was an active outdoorsman very involved in the community and the school. He added he would typically be the first person in the school in the morning and often the last one to leave. The school hosted a gathering in his memory on May 13, which attracted more than 200 people, said Soares.

"He was incredibly competent. He wasn't just a student support teacher. He was an experienced administrator. Myself, as vice-principal, and Ed Sheppard as principal, we relied on him all the time for guidance and mentorship," he said. "Students even called him the third principal because he was so knowledgeable. He was someone who would anticipate a need, often before anybody else, and address that need right away."

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