Cover photo for Dixie Lee (Simms)  Jenks's Obituary
Dixie Lee (Simms)  Jenks Profile Photo
1941 Dixie 2021

Dixie Lee (Simms) Jenks

December 22, 1941 — March 13, 2021


Dixie Lee Jenks, 79, of Monmouth, IL passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family at 8:53 pm, Saturday, March 13, 2021 at her home. She fought a courageous battle against cancer for over a year to get more time here with those she loved.

Dixie was born December 22, 1941 in Galesburg, IL the only child of J.O. “Shorty” and Louise (Parker) Simms of Abingdon, IL.  She graduated from Abingdon High School, went on to get a BA degree from Parsons College in Elementary Education and then received her MS in Education from Western Illinois University with a major as a Reading Specialist.  She always loved to share her skills and pass on her knowledge to others. During her high school years, she was a Sunday School teacher, taught baton and was a Jr. 4-H leader.

While at Parsons she was a cheerleader, elected TKE Sweetheart and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority.  That is also where she met her future husband, Fred Jenks. Dixie and Fred were married on August 9, 1964 at the Abingdon Christian Church and he survives.

Following Dixie’s college graduation in June of 1964, she was hired by the Monmouth School District as a classroom teacher for a split 4th – 5th grade at Harding Elementary School. Dixie remained with the district for 35 years.  She remembered fondly that first classroom tucked away in a corner of the second floor of Harding.  She recalled a lot of learning came out of that room… both for the teacher and the students.  During those years she was awarded the Outstanding Young Educator for Warren County and was included in Who’s Who in America.  She was also honored with a lifetime membership in the PTA in which she was very active.

Dixie loved making her students feel special and cared for.  She happily recalled during her first 5 years of classroom teaching that her mother would furnish treats when there were classroom holiday parties.  She would bring something edible for each child to construct and then be able to take home.  Dixie warmly remembered the looks on her students’ faces when they proudly carried their project out the door to take home.

Following over a decade of teaching came the beginning of raising a family, so she stayed home to help raise her two daughters, Julie and Megan.  She returned to teaching after her girls were older, this time as a reading specialist in the district.  During those years she had the opportunity to teach in all of the elementary buildings in Monmouth, including ICS, and after retirement volunteered as a Reading Buddy at Lincoln.  She dearly loved to think “outside the box” to find ways for her students to become more successful.  She never found someone who could not be helped, which was a great joy to her when seeing the students’ confidence build.

Dixie enjoyed taking an active part in community organizations, as well. She belonged to the Monmouth Education Association, Business and Professional Women’s Club, Civic Club, Monmouth Women’s Club, Sunshine Home Extension Unit, Citizen’s Advisory Committee and Jaycettes.  She was also on several boards including the Warren County History Museum.  She especially enjoyed being on the Event Committee at the museum, which held several successful fundraising events including the first Wedding Gowns Through the Ages event. She always loved to help plan public events and did so with several of the organizations with which she belonged.

When she retired from teaching in 2009, she had a bucket list which included helping an adult become a better reader.  She was able to work for two years with a gentleman who Dixie remembered as the little brother of one of her Harding students.  There was great satisfaction in that.

Another bucket list item was finding a good use for her wonderful reading books and materials that she had amassed over the years as an educator.  Her last project was working with her oldest grandson, Evan, on his community service project which was setting up an education corner in a domestic violence shelter.  She loved brainstorming with him about this project, planning how her materials and books could be used, and watching the plan develop.

Dixie was a member of the Fairview United Methodist Church where she served on numerous church committees. Her faith was a cornerstone of her life. She especially drew strength and comfort from her special “prayer pals” group during her battle with cancer.

While active in many professional and community activities over the years, her family relationships, especially with her children and grandchildren, were what she focused on most. She was always so interested in what they were doing, showed her love and support, and looked for ways to make their lives better. She especially loved shopping with her grandchildren and attending their many school and sporting events.

Survivors include her husband, Fred Jenks of Monmouth, IL; daughters, Julie (Chris) Kettmann of Bettendorf, IA and Megan Jenks of Monmouth, IL; her grandchildren, Evan Kettmann, Gavin Kettmann, Quinn Kettmann and Carly Kettmann all of Bettendorf, IA; several nieces and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Funeral services will be 2:00 pm on Friday, March 26, 2021 at McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Monmouth, IL. Cremation will be accorded following the services.  Calling hours will be from 9:00 am–8:00 pm Thursday, March 25, 2021 at the funeral home where the family will be present from 5:00-8:00 pm.  Memorials may be given to the Fairview United Methodist Church or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to aid in the fight against childhood cancer.  For more information or to leave an online condolence please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dixie Lee (Simms) Jenks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 25, 2021

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory

1007 North G Street, Monmouth, IL 61462

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, March 26, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory

1007 North G Street, Monmouth, IL 61462

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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