Emyl Jenkins was the consummate Southern hostess, opening her home in the Near West End to many Richmonders in the six years she and her husband, Bob Sexton, lived here. She passed away April 27 at the age of 68.
A novelist, nonfiction writer and antiques expert, Jenkins was a vivacious and dedicated presence on the boards of the Library of Virginia Foundation and James River Writers, where she developed the judging process for the first Unpublished Novel Contest held in conjunction with Richmond magazine. Just as importantly, she hand-wrote notes to all of the writers who didn't win the contest.
"She was very generous with her time, always asking you about you," says Virginia Pye, the JRW board's chair.
Pye notes that Jenkins, a Danville native, also was generous with her extensive connections in the publishing world, inviting noted authors such as Adriana Trigiani and David Baldacci to speak at the James River Writers Conference two years ago.
And as friends and acquaintance knew, she encouraged people with her signature phrase: "Think happy thoughts."