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Obituary: Harold L. “Bud” Jenkins

May 24, 1950 – October 3, 2022

Information provided by Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home

Obituary: Harold L. “Bud” Jenkins

After a courageous fifteen-week battle with Glioblastoma brain cancer, Bud Jenkins passed quietly from this life at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on October 3, 2022, at the age of 72.

A firm believer that “God was his co-pilot,” Bud faced his diagnosis head-on and was unwavering in his determination to never give up. After he was diagnosed on Father’s Day of this year, his children, family, and friends never left his side. They walked hand-in-hand with Bud on his journey, filling his days with unconditional love and laughter. Supported by a dedicated group of nurses, physicians, and therapists, Bud had just begun his second phase of treatment and rehabilitation when he passed away unexpectedly.

With his determination, quick wit, humor, and gentle spirit, Bud made even the most mundane moments special. He was as comfortable in a boardroom as he was around a bonfire with friends. He had a life-long love of the Chicago Cubs and a love-hate relationship with his “rotten stinkin’ Bears.” Bud was happiest sharing a good bottle of wine and seeing how fast his car could go on the open roads.

He was born on May 24, 1950, in Joliet, Illinois. He was the third of three children born to Donald and Frances (Kirinich) Jenkins. The marriages of three Jenkins brothers to three Kirinich sisters insured that Bud and his siblings and cousins grew up during rough-and-tumble, rowdy, and laughter-filled years with family, friends, and constant motion. In 1965 the family moved to Lansing, Illinois, where Bud attended Thornton Fractional South High School. It was during this time that he gathered a group of friends who would band together for life. He excelled in wrestling, football, and racing teachers to the principal’s office.

Upon graduation in 1969, Bud attended Southern Illinois University, but he transferred to Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico, where he could play football. Whether by chance or fate, it was there that he met his future wife, Janet. In 1971 Bud joined the National Guard and served until 1975. He then moved to the Cleveland, Ohio, area with friends and joined a new company called Steed. During this time Bud honed his talent as a salesman and showman. He left the business world in 1975 and returned to Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, to earn his teaching degree in Special Education. Unbeknownst to him, Janet moved from New Mexico to obtain a degree in Special Education at I.S.U. at almost the same time. They married in June of 1979. Bud obtained a master’s degree in School Administration while working as a teacher at Illinois Soldier and Sailors Home in Normal, Illinois, and later as a Vocational Work Coordinator at Bloomington High School. In 1980 Benjamin Franklin joined the family as a foster son. Ben and Bud shared a special, unbreakable bond, and Uncle Ben continues to be a member of the Jenkins family today.

In 1981 Bud and Janet moved to Gallup, New Mexico, where Bud joined the family business of Jan’s parents, Bob and Margaret Jones, who were franchisees in a small but growing franchise called Taco Bell. This proved to be a business he enjoyed. He also began acting in the community theater group, where he enjoyed the camaraderie of friends and accolades from the public.

When Bud learned that Taco Bell restaurants were available for purchase in Illinois in 1982, he and Janet joined forces with their parents to buy two existing restaurants in Pekin and Peoria, Illinois. Forty years later he still considered the business his life’s passion.

Bud was very active within the national Taco Bell community of franchisees. A consummate negotiator, Bud used his skills to make changes on a national level that would help franchisees and small business families thrive on a local level. He was one of eighteen members to form the National Association of Taco Bell Franchisees. This association merged with the Taco Bell Franchise Management Advisory Council (FRANMAC) in 1997, and Bud joined the FRANMAC board in 1998. He was Marketing Chairman in 1999 and 2000 and was elected President in 2001 and 2002. These were pivotal years for Taco Bell and for the franchise community, and Bud was able to guide the association through rough waters. He was responsible for the establishment of a Marketing Calendar Committee, allowing input from franchisees on the corporate marketing strategy. This cooperation greatly benefited the Company and the Franchisees. In 2002 he was instrumental in forming the Three Concepts Council, a group that combined the strength of franchisees from Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. He also served on the Taco Bell National Purchasing Co-op Board from 2004-2009 and on the Unified Franchise Purchasing Co-op from 2007-2009, serving as President his last year.

Bud curtailed some of his national work in 2009 to pursue local interests. He joined the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria (BGCGP) and served as Vice President, remaining on the board until his passing. He and his family, along with his Taco Bell teams, were advocates for St. Jude and BGCGP, raising close to one million dollars through the years. In addition, he and the company supported the Taco Bell Foundation, awarding scholarships to employees who were continuing their education in diverse areas, including medicine, music, art, and teaching.

Bud is survived by his son, Jonathan and wife Heather (Knobloch) and grandchildren Jackson, William, and Emma; his daughter Jamie and husband Brien Davis along with his grandsons Sawyer, Finley, and Carson; his close friend and former wife, Janet; his brother Larry (Linda) Jenkins, his sister Bonnie (Bob) Munro; loved cousins, nieces, and nephews. Although Bud and Janet ended their marriage in 2011, with over 50 years of friendship they remained business partners and close friends who were looking forward to making memories with their six young grandchildren in the years ahead. Bud’s family asks that you take a moment to share your favorite photos, videos, and memories of Bud as they build a memory board for his grandchildren. Contribute by visiting:

A short visitation and funeral service will be held on November 5, 2022, at the First United Methodist Church, 116 NE Perry Ave., Peoria, IL, at 2:00 in the afternoon. Knowing that Bud loved a good party, a Celebration of Life will begin at 4:00 at the Peoria Country Club, 4700 N Grandview Dr., Peoria Heights, IL.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria or The Vault, 802 N Side Square, in Clinton, IL. Davison-Fulton-Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home (Allen Rd. and Willow Knolls Dr., Peoria) is in charge of arrangements. Words of comfort can be shared with the family at

The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.