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February 26, 2023
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Rometta Jenkins was the oldest daughter of nine children born to Ida (nee Meyers) and Hurbert Graham on April 3, 1933, in Darlington, South Carolina. She was delivered by her grandmother (the area midwife) at a home birth. Rometta was affectionately known as “Met” by family and close friends. Her education occurred in Darlington, where she graduated from high school in 1951. After being widowed, her mother became an entrepreneur and visionary who owned a thriving business (hotel, restaurant and juke joint) in an area known as the “Black Pearl “section of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Rometta met Benjamin Lee Jenkins, who was captivated by her beauty when he saw her sitting on the patio of the family business. Eventually they got to know one another, and they were married in Darlington in 1953. Shortly after getting married, they returned to her husband’s home in North Philadelphia. Her husband worked as one of a few African Americans in the engineering department of General Electric.
The family moved to Germantown in 1958 with their two children. They eventually purchased a house on Pomona Street where they welcomed their third child. Rometta would reside on Pomona Street in the same home for almost 65 years. She cultivated a strong bond with her neighbors through multiple generations who lived on the street. She was well known for her blooming flowers during the spring and summer and for her vegetable garden in her backyard in the summer and fall. She often gave away her harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, corn and more to the neighbors. During the winter, you could count on Mrs. Jenkins to be one of the first to go outside to shovel the snow in front of her house (and not a path but the entire sidewalk!).
Rometta was a loyal employee of the School District of Philadelphia as a Noontime Aide at the Emlen Elementary School in Germantown for more than 35 years. She retired in 2011 at the age of 78. She was also a generational fixture at Emlen. She could recount stories to the school children about working with their parents when their parents were students in the school.
She was a woman of strong faith and instilled faith in God in her children, teaching them to pray from an early age. She came to Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church later in her life and loved 6:45am Sunday morning service.
Rometta’s husband proceeded her in death in March 2004. All of her siblings have also proceeded her in death. Left to cherish her memory are her three children, one son Nikilo and two daughters Roleta and Devi, seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and a long list of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.