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Columbia Missourian

James 'Fireball' Jenkins, 78, had long racing career

By Hannah Cushman
March 19, 2012 | 8:45 p.m. CDT

James "Fireball" Jenkins of Slater died Sunday, March 18, 2012, at Landmark Hospital. He was 78.

Mr. Jenkins was born June 5, 1933, to Rollie "Mike" Henry Jenkins and Helen Frances (Hearrold) Jenkins in Hardin. He married Lois Wood Hickman on Nov. 1, 1980.

He began a 31-year racing career in 1961, earning the title of points champion at Capital Speedway and Sportsman's Speedway. He also won the B feature at the Knoxville Nationals in 1964. From 1994 until his retirement in 2008, he owned and operated Jenkins Hauling.

Mr. Jenkins is survived by his wife; seven children, Sheryl Sneed and companion, Keith, of Omaha, Neb., James L. Jenkins and his wife, SuzAnne, of Slater, Janie Adcock-McCoy and companion, Richard Wiseman, of Marshall, Jerry Jenkins and his wife, Debbie, of Columbia, Steven Hickman and his wife, Brenda, of California, Mo., Mike Hickman and his wife, Cathy, of California, Mo., and Kelli Dorsey and her husband, Donnie, of Hannibal; 16 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; two sisters, Pat White of Slater and Carol King of Odessa; and three brothers, Ed Jenkins and Tom Jenkins, both of Odessa, and Jack Jenkins of Bremerton, Wash.

His son, Steven, and his brother, Rollie "Dude" Jenkins, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Campbell-Lewis Funeral Home, 226 S. Odell Ave., in Marshall. Services will be conducted by the Rev. Bruce Hess and William W. Harlow at 2 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church, 308 W. Maple St., in Slater.

Contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, National Shingles Foundation or National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.

Condolences can be posted at