‘Mr. Troy,’ longtime Troy mayor and city servant, has died

Former Troy Mayor Pete Jenkins, who fostered a sister city and student exchange program with Takahashi City, Japan, and was called a top cheerleader for his hometown, died Wednesday following a lengthy illness. He was 84.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Jenkins worked for more than 30 years in human resources at Hobart Brothers Co. and served as a councilman, council president and then city mayor for 12 years ending in 2003. His father, David Clayton “Pete” Jenkins, also served on the city council.

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“I called him Mr. Troy because he was a cheerleader for Troy. He passed out Troy (lapel) pins like candy,” said current Mayor Mike Beamish, who served with Jenkins on the city council and succeeded him as mayor in 2004.

“What he did will leave a legacy for years to come.”

Jenkins and his wife, Ruth, started the city’s Festival of Nations in the 1990s, encouraging a celebration of all cultures. He also was among the first to visit, along with then-Mayor Doug Campbell, the city’s new sister city in Japan and headquarters of Japanese companies doing business locally in 1990. Both programs have grown over the years.

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Jenkins performed some 700 marriages and attended nearly 500 ribbon-cuttings during his tenure as mayor. He attended school events, graduations and other activities and would ride with police officers to see what was happening in town and stop by the fire station to talk with employees.

Jenkins encouraged people to take a positive approach, urging them to “Be Kind” in their dealings.

Among Jenkins’ battles as mayor was the fight against a nude dance club that came to town next to Interstate 75 in 1997. When he learned a club opened after the city passed adult entertainment regulations, he returned to City Hall and told council members the business couldn’t stay. A Miami County judge later deemed the Total Xposure business a public nuisance, and it closed.

Among his survivors are wife, Ruth, three children and grandchildren.

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