In Memoriam: Dona Jenkins

Dona Jenkins, a beloved individual, and esteemed member of the maritime community, passed away on December 21, 2023, at the age of 92, at her residence in San Diego, California.

Born on December 20, 1931, in Eufaula, Oklahoma, Dona married John T. Jenkins on May 30, 1954. John preceded her in death in July of 2010. The couple welcomed their only child, Karen Williams, into the world in San Francisco in 1955.

Dona commenced her career with the Coast Guard Civil Service in 1959 in San Francisco, California. In 1965, she relocated to San Diego with her husband, who was then transferred. During her tenure with the Coast Guard, Dona held roles such as Licensing Officer for fishermen and later earned a promotion to Documentation Officer.

With the closure of several Coast Guard offices under President Reagan’s administration, Dona declined an offered position in Long Beach, California, and opted for early retirement. In 1983, she founded Dona Jenkins Maritime Documentation, Inc., a venture that flourished due to her respected reputation in the boating industry, built on years of kindness and dedication during her Coast Guard service.

Dona, alongside her daughter Karen, became a founding member of AVDA (American Vessel Documentation Association). Karen served as the first Secretary/Treasurer and later as Vice President of AVDA. Dona’s legacy in the maritime community was marked by her inspirational leadership.

In June of 2007, Dona and her husband John passed the reins of DJMDS, INC. to Paul and Bernadine Trusso. Dona’s legacy lives on through Bernadine, who, having been personally trained by Dona, continues to celebrate their 40th anniversary and uphold Dona’s name as a true icon in the industry.

Dona Jenkins will be remembered for her enduring impact on the maritime world, her kindness, and the inspiration she provided to all who had the privilege of knowing her. She leaves behind a legacy that will be cherished by family, friends, and the maritime community. May she rest in peace.


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