Nelsen Williamsburg

3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, VA


Edwin August Jaenke

September 14, 1930May 26, 2020

Edwin Jaenke, Williamsburg VA, age 89, passed away on May 26, 2020. He was the son of Edwin A. and Flora Schneider Jaenke, born Sept. 14, 1930 in St. Louis, MO. He grew up in Dupo, IL where his father was teacher and principal of Hoff Elementary School.

Upon graduation from Dupo Community High School, he received an AA degree from Blackburn College at Carlinville, IL. ('50) and a BS from University of Illinois ('52) in Education and Agriculture, also organizing and serving as the first president of the Agricultural Education Club.

On October 26, 1952, he married Claire L. Schmidt, his college sweetheart.

From 1952-55 he served in the US Navy. Following Officer’s Candidate School at Newport, RI, he was assigned to the US Navy Amphibian Force in the Far East during the Korea War.

Upon completing his US Navy duty, Jaenke entered the University of Missouri Graduate School and was awarded a Masters of Arts degree in Agricultural Economics, focusing on international trade. In 1957 he was hired by US Senator Stuart Symington from Missouri to be his agricultural advisor and assistant at his office in Washington, DC, also serving on the staff of the Senate Agricultural Committee.

In 1961 Jaenke was hired by Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman to be Executive Vice President of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the government agency responsible for storing and exporting US farm commodities. He also served as the USDA representative developing farm legislation with the US Congress.

For his service in 1969 Jaenke was awarded the highest recognition as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Young Men under 40 serving in Government. In 1969, Jaenke was appointed as the youngest-ever Governor of the Farm Credit Administration, responsible for $13 billion in lending, providing credit for US farmers and ranchers and their cooperative businesses. Under his leadership, the Farm Credit system made remarkable progress, with a new congressionally-approved charter, a nearly 300% increase in lending, and greater involvement in world markets. From 1975 to 1995, Jaenke founded and built his own company, E. A. Jaenke & Associates, a Washington DC-based international food and agriculture consulting firm, serving major US food and export companies and food agencies in Japan, Australia, and South America. He traveled to 53 countries while promoting US agricultural interests.

His public service included serving on the Board of Directors for Blackburn College, Virginia State University (a historically-black land-grant college) Arbor Day Foundation, The Montpelier Foundation, Madison Presbyterian Church, and Habitat for Humanity in Madison County, VA, which he also helped to found. He also served on the Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Committee for Virginia Tech University. He and his wife purchased and operated to a large beef cattle farm in Madison County, Virginia, from 1979 to 2008. In 2008, they retired to Williamsburg, VA. He enjoyed 59 years of married life to Claire Jaenke, ended by her untimely death on November 11, 2011. He was proud of raising and educating four children, Janet Mackert of Evans, GA, Dale Jaenke of Lynchburg, VA, Dr. Karen Jaenke, of Richmond, CA, and Paul Jaenke of Arnold, MD. He is the grandfather of 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of two organizations that Ed heartily supported, ECHO, a non-profit that teaches small-scale, sustainable farming methods to families (https://echonet.org/give/other-ways-to-give/ ), or Habitat for Humanity, bringing communities together to build homes (https://www.habitatpgw.org/donate-today.html). A memorial service will be held this summer at Madison Presbyterian Church in Madison, Virginia.


25 July


Madison Presbyterian Church

Madison, VA


Edwin August Jaenke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Phyllis Turner

June 10, 2020

To all Ed’s family. Myself and my family extend our sincere condolences to you in the loss of your loved one. He was a dear friend for over 60 years. I miss him. Phyllis

David Erickson

June 9, 2020

I always enjoyed talking with Ed. He loved life and loved people. If we were out together, around Windsormeade, it seemed that Ed knew everyone and wanted me to know them as well. He never got over Claire but continued to embrace life, learning (he had an insatiable desire to learn more about ECHO's mission and impact around the world), engaging, and making a difference for others. I will miss Ed!

Fran Mitchell

June 1, 2020

Thanks to Ed for his years of service to Blackburn College and especially his gift of renovating the old student center in his wife's memory. Ed did so much for so many. A true gentleman.

james madry

May 27, 2020

To all of Ed's family, I wish to offer my condolences for the loss of Ed. Ed was a client of mine and I have gotten to know him over the last 20 years. I always enjoyed working with Ed and he amazed me how active he was for his age. He would always ask me how my Red Sox were doing since we both enjoyed baseball. The world has lost a good kind man.

Rest in Peach Mr Jaenke