Jerry Lee Jinks

April 30, 1943November 16, 2019

Jerry L. Jinks, 76 of Normal passed away at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center with his family by his side. He was born April 30, 1943 to Gerald and Violet (Burrows) Jinks in Turlock, CA. He married Cheryl Spencer August 14, 1965 in Oswego, KS. Jerry is survived by his wife of 54 years, children Jeffry (Laura) Jinks of Carbondale, IL, Angela (Jim) Almeda of Bloomington; grandchildren Ashley Jinks of Redding, CA, Rafael Matt-Jinks of Espanola, NM; Christopher Almeda, of Bloomington, Nathan Almeda of Bloomington; mother, Violet Jinks of Columbus, KS; and lifelong friend Del Prophet of Green Valley, AZ. He was preceded in death by his father, Gerald. Jerry's parents opened a full service bakery in Oswego, Kansas after World War II. Jerry grew up in the bakery, making deliveries and keeping supplies stocked. After his parents closed the full service bakery, the family operated a regional favorite in Jinks Traditional Fruitcakes, continuing to produce their popular holiday product for another 25 years under Jerry and Cheryl's management. Jerry was known professionally as a man of science, advocating progressive ideas in education. He began his career teaching Natural Science in Junior and Senior High School. After earning his PHD at KS State University he became a professor at the University of Montana in Billings, moving to department chair at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. At IL State University, Normal, he became department chair in C&I and Professor of Science Education. He retired as Professor Emeritus from ISU, Normal. He was a lifelong student of science, the natural world and human nature. He loved spending time with his grandkids and teaching them about the world around them; to see and listen to nature. He also enjoyed wood working, making small furniture and gifts for friends and family using exotic woods. He will be remembered as an intelligent, gentle, generous man who took great joy in his kids and grandkids. Cremation rites have been accorded, East Lawn Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611. Online condolences may be left for the family at


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Jerry Lee Jinks

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lanell Matt-Sanchez

November 25, 2019

To begin, I wish to give my condolences to the family members of Mr. Jerry Jinks. Also, it has been a pleasure to have had the honor of knowing this very educated, witty, and at times, very opinionated man. I will miss our little talks like the one when he was so proud of his new self-driving lawn mower. He also loved to tell the story of when he had to remove a snapping turtle from a school/building and became the brave hero of the day. He amazed me with his woodworking skills and made some beautiful wood furniture for my son, his youngest grandchild, Rafael Matt-Jinks. 'Papa', as my son referred to him, will be sorely missed for years to come. I sure do hope he and my dad were able to get together in the heavens and play a round or two of golf...where a 'hole-in-one' is always