Jon Jenkins, inventor, engineer, rancher, husband, father, Trekkie, “Toy Man,” self-taught and all-around brilliant, charming man, died on Friday, May 15, at the age of 77.
Most significantly, Jon Jenkins was best known as a co-founder of IVAC Corporation and IMED Corporation, two major manufacturers of intravenous devices. As chief engineer, his inventions included the first electronic oral thermometer and the volumetric IV infusion pump.
In 1982, with the volumetric IV infusion pump as its star product, Jon Jenkins and other founders sold IMED Corporation to Warner-Lambert. At the time, it was the largest private sale in American history. Today, the volumetric IV infusion pump that Jon Jenkins invented is marketed through the Alaris Corporation.
JJ, as he was known as by his friends and family, was born in California, but raised in Minnesota. He joined the Marines in 1957 and was stationed in San Diego, Calif. His inquisitive, curious mind and his love of people made him the life of the party. Best known to his buddies and colleagues as the “Toy Man,” few things gave him greater joy than his electronics or anything that had an engine. His boats, motorcycles, dune buggies, planes, snowmobiles and his beloved Jon’s Town with state-of-the-art machinery inspired his inventions and were the entertainment center for family and friends. He was a connoisseur of the simpler things in life: his very own meatloaf recipe, mashed potatoes (no lumps) and lima beans fresh from the freezer. A scoop of vanilla ice cream was the crowning delight.
He is survived by his wife, Fran Jenkins, of 55 years and his four daughters: Shelly Sougias, Cindy Reno, Diane Luth and Kim Jenkins, as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He lived in Colorado for the last 20 years in the town of Pagosa Springs.
Raise a glass of your favorite spirit to JJ for a life well lived.
Contributions can be made in care of Jon A. Jenkins to Scripps Hospice and Palliative Care, 9619 Chesapeake Drive, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92126.