Tom Jenkins, R.I.P

The Dallas photographer died Sunday night of a heart attack. He did beautiful work for D Magazine, Art & Antiques, the DMA, the Nasher, and many others. I got to know Tom a little because we both had kids at Hexter Elementary. He did the photography every year for the White Rock Home Tour, and he was one of those dads — in his customary black jeans — that you could expect to see at every school function, pitching in to help. He’ll be missed. His boy now goes to the TAG magnet at Travis. Our thoughts are with him and his mother, Lisa.


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58 responses to “Tom Jenkins, R.I.P”

  1. Gadfly says:

    What a huge loss for our art and architecture world. I’ll never forget his exhibition at The MAC (The McKinney Avenue Contemporary) of photos that captured the eerie use of bris soleil on long forgotten mid-century structures throughout Dallas. I’ll miss being able to look through his eyes and seeing Dallas from a different perspective.

  2. Wendy G says:

    I, too, was greatly saddened and shocked to hear of Tom passing so suddenly. I was to work with him that very morning.
    He was a very intelligent man with a great sense of humour, I enjoyed swapping stories about live bands, literature and general irreverance.

    My thoughts are with his wife Lisa & son at this sad time.

    He will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him.

  3. Dan Rockwell says:

    Tom was an extraordinary human being. He worked in a world where egos, facades, posturing and deception often held sway and he never took on any of those frailties. His images were as true as he was and those of us who were lucky enough to call him a colleague and a friend knew how generous, brave, centered and fair he was. Even in the tough times, and he had more than his share, he still helped others and lived for his family. Lisa and Andre, our hearts are with you in sorrow even as he left for us all an example of how to face adversity with courage and hope.

  4. tary arterburn says:

    I have known Tom and Lisa for multiple years. His loss is huge for me and the city. I think he was the most talented photographer i have known. His contributions to the Texas art community have been significant.

    Personally Tom and Lisa have always been super friends and always reached out to help others. Tom had such great integrity and advice. I was touched to find out that his family had spent the entire day with him before his death.

  5. Gregg Hopkins says:

    I’m so shocked at this news. I’ve known Tom since we were teenagers in Boy Scouts in Southeast Missouri.

    We shared tastes in music, mutual friends, and lots of fun times.

    Tom was very talented, funny, intelligent, and loved being a father to Andre and husband to Lisa. My heart goes out to them.

  6. Mary Peterson says:

    The words, “Tom died,” sobbed through Lisa’s voice on Monday morning. He will be so missed by Lisa, Andre and the rest of our family. He was not just my brother-in-law; he was the brother I never had. His sense of humor, his huge talent and most of all his love for his wife and son will leave a hole in our hearts forever. I only hope Andre will live in his dad’s legacy and know the joy and courage Tom showed every day of his life — a life the rest of us have been privileged to share.

  7. Melody Hamilton says:

    I’m gonna miss your smile and your great laugh.

    I’m concerned for your Family, how can we help?

    I’m sad that I won’t get to see you at the ASMP meetings.

    You have shared your amazing knowledge & talent, and you have made a difference in my Life.

    I want you to know, I’m glad we’re friends.

    Godspeed to you, my friend Tom.

  8. Beth Palmer says:

    My memories of Tom are brief. I am a parent of a Travis fourth grader. Tom was an active parent at Travis. I met him when he and I were chaperones on a bowling field trip. We laughed and smiled as the early morning to work DART train was overtaken by 65 4th graders. I met Lisa at an end of the year school party. She was so engaging and talked with so much love and pride about Tom and Andre. I was sorry not to have known them more. My daughter cried at the news of Tom’s death. She said tha tAndre was always joking and smiling. She did not want to know that he had been touched by such tragedy. Andre and Lisa are in our prayers and in the thoughts and prayers of many other Travis families.

  9. Dave Moynihan says:

    My heart is heavy and sad tonight as I learned of the death of Tom Jenkins. I worked with Tom and knew him as one of the best and most dedicated photographers on the scene. His compassion and love of his craft were only surpassed by the love he had for his family. Tom’s humor, professionalism, drive and enthusiasm for live were greatly endearing qualities, he really lived life and always was positive in spite of the challenges and pratfalls of this mean old world. My prayers go to Andre and Lisa and all of Tom’s family. The world was a better place because of Tom Jenkins. My heart is heavy and saddened. I will always remember your kindness and love. Peace my Friend. Dave Moynihan

  10. Philip Hale says:

    Tom was a brother to a lot of people. You could have fights with him, (his famous temper), but he was a personality you could never really grow away from. And he was always growing.

    I have a feeling that his photagraphy archive will one day become very important for the Dallas community, which he loved.

    Philip Hale, Wilmington, Ohio

  11. Mark Lauterbach says:

    What a huge loss for the arts and the community. Susan and I had the privilege of getting to know Tom and Lisa personally thru Hexter Elementary, music events, Old Lake Highlands issues, and thru my profession. Those times were all memorable and guiding for us.
    His spirit was mighty, his creativity and “angle” was inspirational, his gentleness and kindness infectious, his wit unexpected and welcomed.

    Our love to Lisa and Andre,

    Mark and Susan Lauterbach, Chicago

  12. David Saunders says:

    Tom Jenkins will always live in my heart. His brilliance shines throughout his energy to help, to laugh, to think, to challenge, to love, to question, to risk, to listen, and to believe in life. His power and inspiration has set a million things into motion, which we can marvel at. His friendship is always there when I needed him, and I am certain it will always be there, even now. All my love, gratitude, and prayers to Tom, Lisa and Andre Jenkins.
    David Saunders, New York

  13. Donald Wristen says:

    Tom was a man of great passion. His greatest passion was his family and especially his son Andre. He was also passionate about art and photography, and about applied politics and his firm belief that everyone should be involved, informed, and demanding that the Government of our Country live up to the ideals it was founded to serve.

    Tom and I shared much in our mutual battle against prostate cancer. Although I had my cancer first I cannot express how helpful it was for me to try and illuminate the path for Tom. When my cancer returned after many years Tom encouraged and helped me deal with wrapping my head around an arduous regimen of radiation I had to face.

    My favorite memory of Tom was when he took charge of the ASMP Dallas booth at the Designer Chili Cookoff and he concocted Poetry Slam Chili ! His theory was that we should make decent chili but make no real attempt to win there since the winner must host the next year’s event. This did not mean however that we were under no obligation to give the crowd a show ! Tom charged each of us with coming up with a “poem” which we would recite slam style while the others did their best beatnik act, snapping fingers, chanting “cool”, and of course drumming rhythms on the timba and pumba congas that Tom thoughtfully provided. The only thing I thoughtfully provided was a fifth of Herradura top of the line Anejo tequila and as the crowd moved toward us from booth to booth we slammed several shots to build courage for slamming poems. The crew’s poems got a few laughs, I think I rhymed ” frilly arts & chili farts” and the rest of the crew struggled through their bad poetry. Tom was up last and as his inebriated crew snapped fingers and pounded erratic rhythms on the congas he proceeded to absolutely steal the show! Tom wore a beret and all black and channeled beatnik that was authentic enough to mesmerize the crowd who instead of moving quickly on to the next booth ( obviously their intent after hearing me and the rest of the crew ), demanded of Tom two or three encores! He got them to laugh without scatological references, had enough material prepared to meet the demand, and ( if my tequilafied memory serves ) won us an honorable mention award !

    I spoke with Gary McCoy about Tom last night and realized that my relationship with Tom was not unique. I did not see Tom often enough, but when I did he was like an oasis in a desert of human contacts. He was cool, deep, clear, pure, refreshing, constant, and open for you each time you saw him! Months could go by but, when next you saw him, you could dive right in as if you had never been apart. I will really miss Tom Jenkins, a truly unique and special man that I dearly loved.


  14. Kim Bush Tomio says:

    It is hard to believe that Tom is gone; he was such a major part of the art scene in Dallas. I worked with him for many years and was always amazed at the way he could take a seemingly plain or boring subject and turn it into magic through his photography. His laughter and smile is something that I will also remember.

    Our sincere condolences to Lisa and Andre and to Tom’s family and friends.

    Kim and Ken Tomio

  15. Chris Mann says:

    I just spoke with Tom last week. I called him to ask him why he wasn’t at the ASMP meeting and that he missed a good one. I also asked him to call a fellow photographer, Don Tremain, to give him moral support, because Don has just been diagnosed with advanced prostrate cancer, something Tom had survived several years ago.

    Tom and Don are both my favorite photographers in Dallas, as far as friends go, and possibly even as far as artists go. Tom was, and Don is, my “go to guys” when I need to talk to someone about the photography business or about technical stuff. I didn’t see Tom much throughout the year, but we talked quite a bit on the phone.

    I met Tom when we used to do the ASMP Chili Cook Off competitions at the annual DSVC Chili Cook Offs. One year Tom created a Chili Slam theme. He wrote some “slam” or “beat” poetry for the skit portion and I was blown away by his talent.

    Tom was the coolest guy. I can’t believe he is gone, yet, I have been spending so much time going to funeral homes, hospitals and nursing homes lately, I am beginning to understand that I am at that age when this is what I can expect, more and more.

    Tom was too young to die. I just went to the funeral of a good friend in Austin that was too young to die. I didn’t know Tom had a heart condition. But perhaps Tom didn’t know either.

    Just proves you can’t take anything for granted. Not your own longevity, and not the longevity of those you love.


  16. Lisa Jenkins says:

    Any clue if Tom is still an Eagle Scout?


  17. Ellen Carey says:

    Dear Lisa-

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. I went to KCAI w/Tom in the early 70s. I just saw him last year at a reunion there.

    I was happy to have spent some time with him then over lunch at the Nelson-Atkins Museum and we caught up with our lives. We forgot how long it had been since we seen each other! But we shared our fond memories of undergraduate school in Kansas City and talk about our days in NYC and then where we were now.

    He told me how much he loved you and your son together and how happily married he was. Again, I am so sorry for you and your family.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.


    and we reminsce

  18. Kelli Vecera says:


    Carter and I are hurting so much for you. It was obvious how much you and Tom loved each other and Andre. I wish there were words to ease your pain, but I know that isn’t possible. I hope it is some comfort to know how many people care so much about you.

    Kelli and Carter Vecera

  19. Roberto Zúñiga says:

    Tom was an awesome father to his son Andre and very cool guy that transpired authenticity in every gesture in every personal and professional endeavor.

    He was an artist with a particular sense of class, good taste and powerful grip for expressing the human experience and made of malice a form of art, which I find to be the constant in all his work.

    His death is very sad event for those of us who had the privilege to know him, for a great fun, wonderful and talented human with a caustic great sense of humor is no longer with us.

    In the final analysis we all should have known Tom was going to check out young, for he shown with a light of his own, and usually, when something shines so bright it is because is burning fast, not unlike a photographic flash.

    Tom lives, in his son Andre, who has grown five years in three days and in the curator, wife, best friend and witness Lisa, “the Jenkins’ Woman” is; for real death does not come with illness, old age or accident it comes when we are forgotten.

    Let the sadness go because life is for living and death is the one thing that makes life precious, let’s not mourn the loss of Tom; instead let’s celebrate his life.


  20. Chip Wilson says:

    My mother called me the morning of her brother’s demise. I was (am) deeply saddened by the loss of my Uncle. It’s so nice to read the comments left by people close to him to know he touched so many lives.

    I always knew he was kind a generous soul, but to hear the personal stories really strikes a chord with me and further strengthens the notion that he was a kind, generous and talented person in all aspects of his life.

    Sad to say, I only saw Tom (actually I always thought his name was Uncletom growing up) a hand full of times in the past several years but I will always have my memories of him while I was growing up…

    Most memorable of which include…

    “The Uncle Tom Coloring Book” Think cartoon face of Tom with long wavy hair (one battle he eventualy lost haha) and John Lennon Glasses. Now Xerox 50 copies and staple together…viola….hours of entertainment.

    The big block. One Christmas my sisters and I received a large styrofoam cylinder block painted in a myriad of colors in a sort of Jackson Polack fashion. It was about 4 feet in diameter and 2 feet thick. As an adult I now realize it was mostly useless, as a child however I would say this was the single best Christmas present ever. It was a stage, BB gun target, vehicle to roll down our terrace (how we ever thought we could pull that off is another story), ladder, conversation starter, cover for war games, the list goes on. Definatly trumped the catalogs that year.

    I was always trying to get him to touch our low ceilings (since he was the tallest person I knew at 6 years of age) and I would end up laughing for what seemed like hours as he just couldn’t quite reach the ceiling since his knees always seemed to bend right as his arm stretched up…how could I possibly watch his knees and arms at the same time.

    Or there was the time he took me to photograph Native American burial mounds in and around my hometown. We were heading into Union town and he convinced me it was pronounced Onion-town. He got a real kick out of getting my to ask for directions to Onion-town as we kept getting lost (likley on purpose)

    The stories go on and on.

    I know he was different person to a lot of people but he also seem very much like the same person to us all.

    I will miss you Uncle Tom.

    Words are truly inadequate for the sorrow I have for Lisa and Andre.

  21. Kirk Francis says:

    WOW… Tom…
    I haven’t talked with him in 20 years. And when I hear about him, this is the news I get…
    His sister got word to my sister and, of course, the news had to be passed along.

    We go back a long way… From his house on Edgewood across from my grandparents, Boy Scouts, high school…. Then he left town.

    Things I can remember from way back…
    At Boy Scout camp, keeping Tom up all night because I was scratching from having poison ivy ALL OVER.
    In Boy Scouts, our troop was sponsored by the local VFW and our troop leader was a Marine Drill Sergeant. Were were known as the “Little Leathernecks”. We would do parades and you’ld think we were the silent drill team from MCB 8th & I.
    Tom joining us on a family vacation to the Smokey Mountains; Tom getting car sick and my father paying the gas station attendant $10 for the “mess”.
    Tom was the first person I knew who had “beatle boots” when they were the fad in the 60’s.

    Tom was a GREAT friend in our childhood. I’ve kept up with him and his career, though we really haven’t seen much of each other since he left town for college.

    I missed him then and now…. will miss him more.
    God bless you, Tom

  22. Charlene Kalinski says:

    I had the extreme pleasure to call Tom Jenkins a friend. Tom and Lisa where “room parents” when I was Andre’s first & second grade teacher. They reached out and made me a part of their family. Over the last few weeks, Tom and I communicated frequently. He was on a mission to help me salvage my 29 year old guitar. And he did! I can’t express how sad I am and how much I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with Lisa and Andre.
    God Bless the two of you and God Bless Tom
    Much love –

  23. Chris Mann says:

    I would like to attend the funeral or memorial service. Does anyone have any information?

  24. Scott & Emily Whitzel says:

    “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.” – Albert Einstein We had the pleasure of knowing Tom and he was truly a good human being. His legacy will live on through his works, his family, and his friends. God bless you Tom.

  25. Robin Sachs says:

    When I first heard the news about Tom I was stunned– and saddened for all of us who knew him in the Dallas Arts Community. Although I knew Tom when he was at the DMA, I got to know him better when we participated in a small, crazy critique group of photographers at Photographic Archives. (Dave Moynihan– remember??) Tom was a photographer’s photographer: well-trained, well-spoken and with a clear vision. He was an artist who understood it all- light, form, shadow, tone– as evidenced by his beautiful exhibition a couple of years ago at the MAC and his willingness to give valuable insight not only about his own work, but also about the images created by others. He, also, lectured to my photography students at Collin County. Tom was just one of the nicest guys in the industry and I wish I had seen him more recently.. What an enormous loss to us all.

  26. Michael O'Connell says:

    So sad …. My son is a friend and classmate of Andre’s at Travis and we had the pleasure of getting to know Tom during the last year. What a wonderful guy and great father. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Lisa and Andre in this difficult time.

  27. Richard Bryant says:

    In the 80’s, Tom lead a ratpack through the bars, bistros and galleries of NYC. We laughed, dreamed, sang, and drank our way through the decade – until Tom announced in 1987 that he was moving to Dallas. It was the end of an era for many of us. His photog studio on East 28th Street had been a hangout for anyone needing a place to crash, a piece of art to show, or an interesting story to tell. I will never forget the love and energy you walked into when you walked into Tom’s studio.

    In the years that followed he came to NYC on assignment fairly regularly, and we always picked up right where we had left off, even if a year or two or three had gone by. I can’t believe it’s come to an end. I am in tears.

  28. Gregg Hopkins says:

    You asked if Tom was “still” an Eagle scout. My guess would be yes. Though I was not involved in scouting as long as Tom and I didn’t earn that honor, I think Tom’s attaining that rank would be a lasting title.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the comments here and learning more about the many facets of our friend, Tom.

  29. Emily Whitzel says:

    A celebration of life for Tom Jenkins will be held on Monday, July 14, 2008 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. @ The McKinney Avenue Contemporary located @ 3120 McKinney Avenue in Dallas, TX.

    It will be a come and go celebration of his life. The MAC is a place where Tom has exhibited his work. There will be band and neat things going on to celebrate Tom. As Tom would want – it will not be somber or sad. There will be food and drinks and with Tom’s love for kids – they are also welcome.

    To read more about Tom and all of his wonderful accomplishments, there is a story on page 12b of the metro section in the
    DMN today.

    In lieu of flowers, a fund has been established for his son Andre with donations
    payable to: The Andre Jenkins Education Fund.

    The mailing address is as follows:

    Lisa Jenkins
    P.O. Box 180545
    Dallas, TX 75218-0545

  30. Emily Whitzel says:

    Thomas C. ‘Tom’ Jenkins: Lead photographer for the Dallas Museum of Art

    03:03 PM CDT on Thursday, July 10, 2008
    By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News
    [email protected]

    Thomas C. “Tom” Jenkins was a hands-on artist, whether he was taking official photographs for the Dallas Museum of Art or building a tepee-shaped frame for his home garden.

    His career included 12 years with the Dallas Museum of Art, where he was the lead photographer. He also maintained an active independent professional career with clients that included the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Rienzi in Houston.

    Mr. Jenkins, 54, died Monday of a heart attack at his Dallas home.

    A memorial service is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave.

    “He was one of the great photographers of objects,” said Rick Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetics at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Tom had the sense of poetry of the three-dimensional forms.”

    While many art photographers are good at capturing flat subjects, Mr. Jenkins used lighting and backgrounds to capture the beauty of tricky items, especially those made of silver.

    “Things that shine are very hard to photograph,” said Dr. Brettell, former director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “He made them look fantastic. … He won a prize for that.”

    Mr. Jenkins also was drawn to meeting the artists whose work he photographed, said his wife, Lisa Jenkins of Dallas.

    “He was just like a sponge; he was open-minded and very giving,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “He was genuinely interested in what everybody else was doing.”

    Mr. Jenkins was often given artistic freedom in his work, “and that was one of his joys,” his wife said.

    Mr. Jenkins’ artistic slant seemed to permeate all he did.

    Having been an Eagle Scout, Mr. Jenkins maintained an active interest in Scouting, especially as it related to American Indians.

    “The other day we were making tepees for the garden, so he showed me the proper way to tie them, the way the American Indians would,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “He knew all these hands-on types of things; he was an artist.”

    Mr. Jenkins also was an excellent father, his wife said.

    “I think his main joy was being with our son,” Mrs. Jenkins said.

    Mr. Jenkins and his 10-year-old son, Andre Jenkins, would draw toys, which they would then carve out of wood, Mrs. Jenkins said.

    Mr. Jenkins was born at the military base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where his father was an Army lieutenant colonel. He grew up in Calvert, Texas, and Cape Girardeau, Mo.

    He was a self-starter who became interested in photography in high school, his wife said. He experimented with darkroom techniques.

    Mr. Jenkins graduated from the Kansas City Institute of Art in 1974. He then was a graduate student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y.

    He was an instructor of advanced photography at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York from 1981 to 1987, before moving to Texas.

    Mr. Jenkins intended to start a career in film in Atlanta or Los Angeles in the late 1980s, but he decided to visit friends in Dallas first, his wife said.

    He stayed in Texas, where he became an assistant photographer for the Dallas Museum of Art. He became the museum’s lead photographer a year later.

    Mr. Jenkins’ work included photography for books such as Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor; The Artful Table: Great Food from the Dallas Museum of Art League; and A Century of Sculpture: The Nasher Collection.

    In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Jenkins is survived by his sister, Nancy Wilson of Jackson, Mo.

    Memorial contributions may be made to the Andre Jenkins Education Fund in care of Lisa Jenkins, P.O. Box 180545, Dallas, Texas 75218-0545.

  31. Nancy Wilson says:

    Tom was the best little brother a girl could ask for. And ask for him I did! A neighborhood friend recently had a baby brother, so I prayed nightly that I would get a brother too. Prayers were answered for a five year old girl when “Tommy” was born.

    Through thick and thin we always had each other. No matter how far apart we were in miles, we kept in touch. He was always there for me as a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on.

    I am so proud of Tom and his brilliant photography career. I looked forward to the beautiful books he gave me that contained his work. I will cherish these forever.

    One time after being around his nieces and nephew, Tom told me all he wanted was a wife and a family- so I was extremely happy when he and Lisa found each other. They were meant for each other. When they were blessed with a precious son I already knew he would be a wonderful father to Andre.

    I cannot believe he is gone – it is so unreal. Reading everyone’s kind and thoughtful words about Tom has been so comforting. Yes, he was a great husband, father, son, brother, and friend to all who knew him.

    My heart goes out to Lisa and Andre and I promise Tom I will be there for them always.
    God bless you Tom, I will miss you.
    Your sister, Nancy

  32. Linda French says:

    I am so very sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. My prayers are with you and your mom at this very difficult time. I know he was a terrific father because you are such an incredible young man, and his legacy will live on in you. Everyday your light continues to shine because of the man Tom Jenkins was. We are all so sad to lose such a good man. My condolences to you and your mom.
    Linda French

  33. Allison Beadle says:

    I hope that Tom is reading all of these posts and knows how much he was admired, how many lives he touched, and how profoundly talented he was.

    The Jenkins famliy came into our lives shortly after we moved to Dallas and immediately became some of our closest companions who we will dearly love forever.

    I will never forget Tom’s 50th birthday party when I first tasted his amazing chili and one of my fondest memories, when he taught me how to make it…over an open flame in the Jenkins’ backyard! Tom shared his talent with my husband and I by photographing our wedding. He turned one of the most meaningful days of our lives into a work of art.

    I have so many lovely memories of Tom and am heartbroken that he is no longer with us.

    Lisa and Andre…I love you.

  34. Brian Beadle says:

    I was so proud and honored to have Tom Jenkins as a friend. As a young man finding my way, I truly looked up to Tom as a man who had found his. I learned from Tom that simplicity, honesty, selflessness and family are the pillars of a man’s legacy.

    I will forever cherish our in-depth discussions about music, photogtaphy, food(he was a culinary master), and politics. I want him to know what a positive impact he had on my life…I can only hope to live as excellent as he did.

    I love you Tom, Lisa and Andre


  35. Elizabeth says:

    Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliver; my GOD is my rock, in whom I take refuge. HE is my shield and my horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

    1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on HIM because HE cares for you.

    May the LORD surround you with the peace and comfort you need for the coming days. You are in our prayers.

  36. LeeAnn Mills says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family, I know and love his dear sister. I know that God will enfold you, Lisa and your son Andre with his loving arms. LeeAnn Mills

  37. Brad Springmeyer says:

    Tom was my closest and dearest friend. We first met shortly before Tom’s 12th birthday. We spent countless hours together talking and listening to music as we grew up.
    Tom always kept in touch after he moved to KC, Rochester and NY. When I lived in Dallas, Tom said he wanted to move away from NY and asked about Dallas. I don’t recall what I said but it must of been positive. He ended up staying with me and my girlfriend, Jeffrie in a small North Dallas apartment for about 3 months before getting his own apartment. About a year later I stayed at Tom’s apartment off of Lower Greenville for few months before I moved back to Missouri.

    Tom called me a week prior. He, Lisa and Andre were planning to be visiting in Cape. We planned to meet up.
    I am heartbroken.
    All my love to Lisa and Andre.
    I love you Tom, “take care”.

  38. vel hawes says:

    The only thing better than walking through the nasher galleries going to work everyday was to occasionally happen upon Tom photographing a piece of art. He lit up the room with his personality and love of life. We will all miss him.

  39. Scott Hagar says:

    I had the wonderful experience of working for and with Tom at the Dallas Museum of Art. I stayed almost 5 years and it was because of Tom, certainly not the money. Immediately Tom became mentor, friend and lastly a boss. Tom had a temper but mostly he was generous, compassionate, playful and funny. When I called Tom to do something it was really “Can Tom come out and play” He brought out the child.

    Tom was a gifted and driven photographer. Someone said to me last week, “Tom was king of the shiny stuff.” He could shoot anything as witnessed by all the beautiful art catalogs to his credit.

    Tom’s face is all around my house and studio. The self portraits of Tom, Lisa and a very young Andre, Tom and Iggy Pop, Tom and me. My entire family knew and loved Tom. Even though we didn’t see each other as often as we’d have liked we did talk on the phone 2 or 3 times a week, I loved those conversations.

    At the party on my last day at the museum, Tom gave a speech about my employment and through tears he proclaimed “How can we miss you if you won’t go away!?” That is how he left us, laughing and crying.


  40. It seems fitting to follow Scott Hagar’s tribute to Tom, since I had the privilege of working with both of them at the Dallas Museum of Art. I was there when they came, I enjoyed working with them tremendously, and I hated to see each of them go.

    Tom may be best known (in terms of his DMA work) for his gorgeous photographs of American silver (the “shiny stuff” in Scott’s tribute), but I treasure his dedication to a less flashy art form: Maya textiles from Guatemala (the Nasher and Williams collections at DMA). Textiles might seem to be easy subjects, but the range of red dyes (which are prominent) and the importance of texture presented challenges. In order to achieve the most accurate interpretation, Tom devised a combination of filters and Kodak film for predominantly red textiles and Ektachrome film for those textiles for which texture was of the utmost importance. I considered the results exemplary and superb.

    In the DMA photo studio, Tom inherited a catwalk (designed for photographing large textiles) from a previous DMA photographer–one who was not as tall as Tom.There were several occasions when it seemed that Tom needed a hardhat for protection!

    This spring and summer have brought an undue number of illnesses and deaths among friends, but none has been as affecting as the loss of Tom. Lisa and Andre, my heart goes out to you.

    Most sincerely,

  41. Jeff Peter says:

    When I finally got to New York in 1983, Tom, whom I hadn’t known that well in school or been in touch with since, leapt into action and treated me as if a long-lost relative, got me in succession at least 3 great jobs and pretty much kept me alive for years. And he was like this to everybody! His enthusiasm was there for everyone and everything. I still can think of hardly anyone I would rather have a meal, go to a movie or concert. or stay up all night listening to records with. It is horribly sad that he is gone from us so soon.
    Jeff Peter Omaha

  42. Linda Neaman says:

    Tom’s love of life, art, music and his family was shared with everyone. Kevin and I have one of Tom’s photos of an Indian mound hanging above our couch. Last October I took a trip to Ohio to look at mounds because of that photo. We still listen to cassette tapes of live Doors and Patti Smith concerts
    labeled in his distinctive hand. Last time I saw him he proudly told me Andre stories. Oh Tom, you will be missed.


  43. Kevin Noble says:

    I first met Tom when were we students at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY in 1976. I knew that we had mutual interests when he invited a few of us over to his apartment and he put on a Patti Smith album. It was natural that Tom would be a fan of Patti Smith as he was writing poetry in addition to shooting photographs. He printed a number of small books of his poems using the VSW offset press and gave them to his friends.
    When Tom moved to NYC he was, in a sense, forging the way for a few of us from Rochester and Buffalo, NY . When we moved down to New York a few years later Tom found work for us at 220 Fifth Ave, the custom B&W photography printing lab he started with some friends, and at the Aperture Foundation where he had established contacts.
    A few years later Tom and I shared a loft in Tribeca that was about six blocks from the World Trade Center. When we looked out the window from the kitchen table the Trade Center loomed over us and we sometimes speculated whether it would land on us if it ever fell over. In the mornings as we drank our coffee we would use the Trade Center as a weather indicator by looking up and seeing if the top was covered in clouds or not.
    Tom bought a drum set and set it up in the loft and he and Richard Bryant would jam together mostly playing blues, Tom on the drums and Richard on guitar and harmonica.
    When Tom decided to move away from NYC he loaded all his stuff into a rented trucked and threw himself a going away party at the loft. It was a wild evening with lots of people and much drinking and dancing but at heart everyone was a bit sad because Tom was leaving.
    Although many years had gone by since Tom left NYC Linda and I last saw him a little over a year ago when he passed though town on a photo shoot. Tom was the same easy going, generous guy he had been when we hung out together back in the 1980’s in lower Manhattan.
    Linda and I would think of Tom every time we looked at the print from his wonderful series of Indian Burial Mounds photos that we have had hanging in our living room all these twenty odd years. We will think of him even more now.


  44. Kathleen Nichols says:

    I was completely devastated when I heard the news about Tom’s passing. I was just getting to know him and his family. My daughter goes to school with Andre and we are so sorry that he has to go through this. I simply want Lisa and Andre to know that the Nichols family is there for them.

  45. Bruce Smith says:

    I just heard the news of Tom’s death from a member of the Eagle Scout troop he belonged to in his home town. I met Tom when we were teenagers, and shared an interest in art, and in the glorious romance of rock and roll music. I last saw him in 1986, and soon lost touch with him, although I learned from his sister that he was living in Dallas. Then last year I was chatting with someone about drummers and drumming, and about the strange and eccentric characters drummers often are, when it occurred to me that it was a shame I had lost touch with one of the most eccentric–and multi-talented–drummers I have ever met. So I set about reconnecting with Tom, which was easy enough once I located his Web site, and sent him an e-mail. Lo and behold, within a couple of days he answered, apologizing that he would have responded sooner, but had been out of town. I replied that I was delighted to hear he was alive and well, and had a beautiful son who was his spitting image. I expressed a resolve not to let so much time pass without speaking to him again, but now, much to my everlasting regret, that is no longer possible. Tom was one of the most gifted artists I have ever known: draftsman, drummer, photographer, storyteller–he could do anything he turned his hand to, and his enthusiasm was positively infectious. He was, moreover, as decent and generous a friend as anyone could have, and it does not surprise me that he himself had so many. I will remember him fondly for the rest of my life. My sincerest condolences to his wife and son, his family, and to his old comrades, whose lives were forever altered by having known and loved him.

  46. Suzy Sloan Jones says:

    Lisa and Andre…

    What a beautiful celebration of Tom’s life today! It was wonderful to hear the memories, see his photographs and hear his music (who knew?) :o)

    I was also one of the lucky ones that got to work at the Dallas Museum of Art with Tom. He taught me a great deal about how to “look” at works of art–he had an amazing eye and settled for nothing less than perfect.

    I will never forget how happy Tom was that he and Lisa were going to have a baby. He could never hold back the tears of happiness as we all waited for Andre to arrive… and then he was certainly as proud as I had EVER seen a father!

    Tom Jenkins YOU WILL BE MISSED dear friend.

    Suzy Sloan Jones

  47. Joe Yancey says:

    Tom and I began to have lunch together several times a week when we worked at the DMA. After awhile I realized we were having a mutual therapy session. I helped him cool down and he helped me out of my funk from a tough breakup. I still have the photos he took from my going away party. His big talent may have been shiny stuff but I think his shots of people were terrific. I remember sitting a few tables away from Tom and Lisa at a Richard Thompson show in 1995?
    At one point during the show I looked at him and could tell he was as blissed out as I was. I feel so blessed to have known him. His greatest blessing was love from Lisa and Andre.
    Joe Yancey
    Chapel Hill

  48. Lisa Jenkins says:

    Tom and I were married at the Hill in 1995. Please read the article about its creator, James Magee.

  49. Tim Rogers says:

    Yesterday was Tom’s memorial at the MAC. The place was packed, no surprise. Some funny stories were told, but before they got underway, Tom’s wife Lisa asked that the following be read. I asked if I could post it here:

    “The amygdala in our brains is the center of our fight or flight reactions. Last Monday, I fought. The paramedics from firehouse 31 on Garland Road fought harder. They arrived fast, worked their asses off for almost an hour on our best friend, and barely made a sound. They took command. Andre and I drove by the station Thursday or Friday — I can’t recall, and I saw one of the saints. It looked like he was cleaning. If you go to the Dallas Fire and Rescue website, you’ll learn that Station 31 was constructed in 1947 as was our home in an incredible part of Dallas. More importantly, you’ll see an “Adopt a Station Top Wish List” that will break your heart. They need beds, chairs for their kitchen and watch room, leather fire fighting boots, an attic finish out for the Battalion Chief, a Power Hawk-Electric Jaws of Life Tool, and a file cabinet.

    “Most of us here are drunk with the basic needs: shelter, food, breath, water, sex, sleep. We can focus our energy on self-actualization and maybe one-day reach our full potential. Tom’s potential was enormous and constantly growing. His presence was giant, his temper famous, and his voice as loud as his last tremendous breaths. He did not go quietly into the night. He went out with a roar.

    “Thank you all so much. He loved you, as do I.”

    — Sincerely, Lisa

  50. Melody Hamilton says:

    ….” out with a roar”. I missed that speech while parking the car. But I want to be that. Tom has shown so many of us the Way, in his Photographs, Words, Music. Now it’s our time to follow that path. I hope we can all live up to the Legacy that Tom’s Love of Life puts before us…

  51. Mark Kielkucki says:

    I knew Tom from the KCAI days and was glad to hear that he was living a blessed life in Dallas. We emailed each other a couple of years ago and was good to catch up on his life at that point. Tom will be missed.

  52. Gogi Millner says:

    I just learned that Tom died via the KCAI Alumni news online. I never saw him again after he graduated in 1975, but I never forgot him, and really I always expected to see him again someday. I am grateful to all of those who have written their experiences with him since those days. I am especially grateful to Chip Wilson and Donald Wristen who brought back to mind the Tom Jenkins I loved and made me laugh out loud. Thank you Lisa being such a wonderful partner for Tom, and Andre for making his life so fulfilled. I miss him.

  53. Dan Wallach says:

    I was so sorry to hear of Tom’s death. I’m the sort of person who always managed to remain at a distance, without cause. Wish I hadn’t done that – especially in Tom’s case. There are some people who just manage to bring back good memories even if you didn’t really know them that well. That certainly is Tom.

  54. Dan Wallach says:

    KCAI 1975

  55. John Coyle says:

    I didn’t know Tom long but he made a big impression upon me. I met him thruogh my friend and bandmate Brad Springmeyer & his girlfriend Jeffrie Penrod. I moved from Dallas to NYC in 1986 and Brad & Jeffrie hooked me up with Tom. He generously met me in the West Village for dinner and of course had a camera with him. I remember his great humor, wit, and talent. He was so excited about life and his art. As Brad mentioned in his post, not long after that he moved to Dallas. I never moved back to Texas and lost track of Tom, but never forgot him. That was the sort of person he was, I believe – one of lasting impressions. I know his close friends & family must miss him terribly. I’m glad he crossed my path.

  56. Will be thinking of Tom this weekend, as I often do. I won’t make it to Dallas this weekend, but, I try to get to there a couple of times a year and, normally, this would be the time. I always called Tom when I was coming. Years ago, I stayed at his (later his and Lisa’s) house.

    He was a busy guy, with a wife, Lisa, his son, Andre(the apple of his eye), and all the activities he was involved with. If he could tear himself away, we’d have dinner and — sometimes too many — drinks, and maybe go hear some live music. Sometimes he’d meet me for a Campissi’s pizza on my way out of town. He always had some photos to show me — usually of Andre. We’d eat and laugh and catch up with each other.

    Sometimes we couldn’t get together as Tom was involved with something at Andre’s school, or he was hosting a chili party, or was doing a photo shoot. But we always tried to get together, if even for a half hour or so.

    Thinking about Dallas will always get me thinking about Tom.

  57. Lisa Jenkins says:

    Hello Gregg,
    I often recheck this website and was so pleased today to see your entry. Tom is on my mind each day bringing laughter, tears, and peace of mind. Andre and I drive by Campisi’s every morning on our way to school and the office. He loved it when you and sometimes Brad came to town since he had an affinity for his old friends. When I look at his photos I can almost hear him telling and retelling the stories. I finally found the photos of the bowling pins on the lawn at the Kansas City Art Institute–totally awesome and fearless.
    Take it easy, Gregg.